Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
Known for its takedown and grappling techniques, Judo is a unique system that can both stand on its own and compliment other Martial Arts systems.
The concept of takedown is using your body, the momentum of your opponent and techniques to offset or unbalance your opponent. When performed correctly, it should be very easy for say a 5-foot, 105 lb woman to actually dislodge a 6-foot, 200 lb man.
Grappling is seen a lot in Greco-Roman wrestling. It is the art of getting yourself out of holds and other compromising ground techniques. With a simple shift of your weight or positioning of your arm, one should be able to maneuver your way out from any hold.
Judo is translated to mean the gentle way. One of the arts that derived from the samurai in Japan, it does not use as much punching or kicking as other Martial Arts styles. In fact, youll often see Judo combatants locked in almost a wrestling style match. The few kicks and punches that are taught tend towards assisting in effect of taking down your opponent and immobilizing them on the ground. There are no weapons taught in Judo.
Judo finds its origins in a few Martial Arts styles, but mainly is derived from Ju JitSu, another Japanese Martial Arts style. The modern form of the art we see today is derived from Dr. Jigoro Kano and developed during 1880s.
It is perhaps the similarity to wrestling that made Judo the first Martial Arts to be introduced into the Olympics. (The only other one is Tae Kwon Do.) Some will say this acceptance helped the art bringing exposure of Martial Arts to the general world. Some will argue it hurt it presenting only a small portion of the art and thus diluting the true teachings of a total system.
From young to old, male to female, Judo can be practiced by anyone and is quite common to find training classes through many different groups and organizations. Studying some of the concepts behind Judo can help even if you are studying another Martial Arts style getting your opponent unbalanced will always give you the upperhand in combat and inevitably you may find yourself needing to deal with a grappling situation. Even the softest of arts, Tai Chi, can use Judo concepts when dealing with an exercise called Push Hands.