What is Judo?

Judo is a martial art, an Olympic sport, and a philosophy of living. We practice Kodokan Judo, an Olympic sport since 1964. Sport Judo consists of throws, pins, and submission techniques. There is no striking (punching, elbowing, or kicking) in sport Judo. We train for local, regional, national and international competitions by learning to apply Judo techniques on each other in practice.

Devin Sumi Gaeshi

Competitor Devin Bartolomeo in action starting to throw Sumi Gaeshi

If you enjoy the challenge of a one on one contest of physical and mental skills, you will enjoy practicing Judo.  If you enjoy moving your body, learning new skills and exercising with a group of like minded people, you should definitely stop by. Modern Judo focuses on sport competition so traditional combat techniques have been modified for safety.  Some Judo students thrive on the free form practice of a sporting competition while others focus on the intensity of performing formal Judo “kata” techniques in graded competitions.  Other students join us for the whole body workout that Judo involves. Some come for the simple joy of movement.

Self-Defense techniques remain an important part of Judo. The sport aspect is intended to develop the ability to respond quickly, decisively, and effectively against a real-life threat. The self defense aspect of the art is practiced under carefully controlled conditions to prevent injury.  Techniques for short-range striking, disabling an opponent, or rendering them unconscious are practiced in the formal Judo katas and have immediate self-defense applications.

Judo as a martial art comes from the fusion of a number of Japanese ju-jitsu (or ju-jutsu) schools in the 19th century. These schools practiced unarmed combat to control or disable an opponent.  Different schools specialized in throwing, striking, choking, joint locks or pinning techniques. These schools were integrated into the Kodokan Judo Institute before World War II. Brazilian Ju-Jitsu (or BJJ) got its start when Judo’s  founder, Jigoro Kano, sent a Judo teacher to Brazil in 1914.

Kayla Harrison took the first US Olympic Gold in the 2012 London Games. Teammate Marti Malloy took Bronze. Ronda Rousey, women’s MMA thunderbolt, took Olympic Bronze for the US in Judo in 2008. President Teddy Roosevelt and actor Jimmy Cagney both practiced Judo. Former Russian President Vladimir Putin is also a well known Judo player. People from all walks of life can practice Judo throughout their entire lives. As sport, martial art or exercise, Judo helps develop a sound mind in a sound body.


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