Judo was founded by Dr. Jigoro Kano in 1882 as a refinement of older Japanese Jiu Jitsu combat styles. Kano looked to preserve the tradition of Japanese martial culture that was dying with the fading samurai. By eliminating the most dangerous techniques from free practice, he created a new training method called Randori. This not only allowed students to become more effective as fighters, but made Kano’s new Jiu Jitsu style, Judo, more dominant than others.

In 1886, the Tokyo Metro Police hosted a tournament to decide which Jiu Jitsu style was superior. The winner would be adopted as the training style for the police academy. Kano’s Judo won 13 out of 15 matches and fought the other two to a draw. Judo was established and became the first martial art of the modern era.

The internationalization of competition dramatically influenced the course of Judo development, eventually leading the art to become an Olympic Sport in 1964. Today, Judo is the most practiced martial art in the world, and it has the 2nd most participants of any sport worldwide. 


In recent years, modern research and sports training principles were incorporated into Judo training. The Judo athlete is among the best-conditioned in the world.

Judo’s influence has been felt since its inception:

  • The art was quickly incorporated into the physical education program of many schools around the world
  • In the 1920’s, one of Kano’s top students immigrated to Brazil and taught Judo to members of the Gracie family, who evolved the style into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • The first UFC women’s champion, Ronda Rousey, was an Olympic bronze medalist in Judo
  • Kayla Harrison became the first American to win Olympic gold in Judo in both 2012 and 2016

Judo Basics

Passing the Guard

Passing the Guard

Judo is a grappling art (there are no strikes or kicks in its study) and is practiced as both a traditional martial art and as an Olympic Sport. It is comprised of three basic parts: Throwing, Hold-Downs, and Submissions:

  • Throwing – This is the core of the Judo syllabus. In competition, rules are in place to emphasize that throwing is the primary aspect of the sport.
  • Hold-Downs (pins) – This is a vital aspect of any grappling art. A Judo match can be won by controlling an opponent in a pin for 20 seconds.
  • Submissions – There are two types of submissions in Judo – strangles and arm-bars. However, there are thousands of ways to apply them.

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