|Armbar. This little lady use to|
scare some of the men in the
jujutsu classes at the University
of Wyoming with her powerful
Many visualize judo as two sweaty people wearing heavy, white uniforms; grabbing each other’s uniform to foot sweep or throw in a dazzling display of the art. Judo reminded me of wrestling when I was young, but with different rules and a different uniform. It was suppose to be a self-defense, but I was a bit confused as I saw it as a sport or contest.
Even so, some judo was taught in the US military for combat even though that which was taught, had little practical application (at least what I had been taught in the US Army seemed to be impractical). Today, members of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai learn some jujutsu mixed in their karate and kobudo classes at the Arizona School of Traditional Martial arts. The Mesa Hombu is located at 60 W. Baseline Road in Mesa. But let's take a look at judo.
Judo (柔道) translates as ‘gentle way’. Based on history, judo is a relatively new martial art compared to most and most varieties of judo is practiced as a combat sport: only a few traditional judo clubs focus on judo as a self-defense (the way it was intended) rather than sport. And is a a soft art? Far from it! It is brutal and requires incredible endurance.
Judo had its origins in Japan in the late 19th century. Its most distinctive characteristic is that the majority of practitioners compete, unlike the traditional forms of karate. Judo was introduced as an Olympic sport in Tokyo in 1964, and at that time, competitors were separated into 4 weight classes. The object of the contest was to throw, immobilize, subdue an opponent through grappling, or to force your opponent to submit by applying joint locks, or to execute a choke restraint to get your opponent to submit.
|Demonstration of yubi waza (thumb|
throw) on Brett at the University of
Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate
Although most are familiar with throwing and grappling in judo; judo also includes self-defense applications such as hand strikes, kicks and even weapons. But the strikes in the sport are used only in kata and are not part of competition or randori (judo free sparing) which has a tendency to lessen the value of Judo as a self-defense. However, the practice of randori is beneficial in providing practitioners with a method for building timing and reflexes and to teach one to react to attacks, rather than think about the attack. If judo practitioners provided equal time to randori and self-defense applications, judo would be an excellent self-defense – but the majority of judo practitioners focus on competition and little time on self-defense.
As a young adult, Kano did not weigh more than a hundred pounds; thus he was bullied and decided to pursue jujutsu at the age of 17. At Tokyo Imperial University, he studied martial arts along with literature and eventually received a referral to study Tenjin Shin'yō-Ryu: a jujutsu style that emphasized technique over formal exercise.
The early history of judo cannot be separated from its founder: Jigoro Kano (1860–1938). Kano was born into a well-to-do Japanese family: his father was a Shinto priest.
Kano initiated a major reformation of jujutsu and included techniques that emphasized development of the body, mind and character. At 22, he began studying jujutsu at the Eisho-ji Buddhist temple in Kamakura. This became known as the Kodokan, or "place for teaching the way". Today, the Kodokan Institute for Judo is in Tokyo and is the official headquarters of the judo world that was established in 1882 by Kano.
The primary focus on Judo is throwing (nage-waza) and groundwork (ne-waza). Sparring in judo known as randori means ‘free practice’. Randori involves two practitioners who continuously attack one other with any judo throw or grappling technique in their arsenal. Striking techniques (atemi-waza) such as kicking and punching, along with knife and sword techniques are retained in judo kata but not in randori. For reasons of safety, chokeholds, joint locking, and sacrifice techniques are subject to age and rank restrictions.
|Hanbo training at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate|
At this point, Kano saw jujutsu as a group of disconnected tricks and he wanted to connect these, eliminate useless techniques, and make his art flow like water. His reformation of jujutsu discarded techniques that relied solely on superior strength and adapted techniques that redirected an opponent's force to make use of superior leverage. Judo was originally called Kano Jiu-Jitsu and later called Kodokan Jiu-Do or simply Judo. The word ‘judo’ shares the same Chinese root ideogram as "jujutsu": "jū" (柔). This kanji refers to ‘gentle’, ‘soft’, or ‘supple’ depending on context. The use of jū is an explicit reference to the martial arts principle of the ‘soft method’, characterized by the indirect application of force to defeat an opponent. It is the principle of using an attacker’s strength against himself.
The second Chinese character used for judo and jujutsu differ. In jujutsu (柔術), this means "art" or "science" of softness. In judo (柔道), it means ‘the way’, ‘road’ or ‘path’, which has philosophical overtones which was Kano’s intent. This is the same kanji also used to distinguish budō from bujutsu and karatedo from karatejutsu. Use of do was a deliberate departure from the ancient combat martial arts, whose sole purpose was for killing. Kano saw judo as a means for governing and improving oneself physically, mentally, emotionally and morally.
|Lacy applies taitoshi waza on Dr. Adam|
Judo practitioners traditionally wear heavy, white uniforms called jūdōgi, or ‘judo uniform’. The jūdōgi was created by Kano in 1907 and similar uniforms were later adopted by many martial arts groups. The modern jūdōgi consists of white drawstring pants with a matching white jacket that is fastened by a belt (obi). The jacket is intended to withstand the stress of grappling, and as a result, it is much thicker than a karate uniform (karategi).
Most judo is a sport, thus in randori when an opponent successfully executes a chokehold or joint lock, the other will submit, or ‘tap out’. When this occurs the match is over, the tapping player has lost, and the chokehold or joint lock ceases.
Judo is also a self-defense art and uses forms (kata) that are pre-arranged patterns of attack and defense, which in judo are practiced with a partner for the purpose of perfecting technique. Knowledge of various kata is a requirement for the attainment of a higher rank.
|Hanbojutsu and jujutsu go hand in hand (so to speak) during self-defense|
class at the Arizona School of Traditional Martial Arts in the East Valley
of Phoenix. Here Ryan Harden applies kubi waza on Dr. Adam (5th dan).
Randori assists in tuning reflexes and the ability to respond to attacks without thinking, making this a relatively effective method for self-defense practice. Many forms of jujutsu focused on individual techniques in self-defense applications that were choreographed without randori. But through time, most jujutsu styles have adopted randori into their training regimen.
Seven judo kata are recognized by the Kodokan. In addition, there are a few kata not officially recognized but practiced by some Judo clubs.
Joint locks (kansetsu-waza) are effective combat techniques because they enable a jūdōka to control an opponent through pain, or if necessary, to cause separation of the locked joint. Chokes and strangulations (shime-waza) enable the person applying the choke to force the adversary into unconsciousness. In competition, the jūdōka wins if his opponent submits or becomes unconscious. Rules in judo are intended to avoid injuries and ensure proper etiquette.
|Applying wrist lock on Wade Stenger from|
Albuquerque at University of Wyoming
class (about 1990).
Judo has three categories of points: ippon, waza-ari and yuko. An ippon means one point and wins a match. An ippon is awarded for (1) a throw that lands the opponent on their back in a controlled manner with speed and force; (2) for a mat hold down (or control) of sufficient duration (25 seconds); or (3) for opponent submission. A waza-ari is awarded for a throw that does not quite have enough power or control to be considered ippon; or for a hold of 20 seconds. A waza-ari is a half-point, and, if two are scored, they constitute the full point needed for a win. Yuko is a lower grade score, and is only considered as a tie-breaker; it is not cumulative with one another. Yuko points are scored for a 15-second hold down. If the person who secured the hold down already has a waza-ari, they only need to control a hold down for 20 seconds to score ippon by way of two waza-ari. Throws lacking the requirements of an ippon or a waza-ari might score a yuko.
Judo has formed the basis for military training around the world. The Japanese police have trained in Judo since 1886, when Judo (at the time known merely as Kano Jujitsu) defeated several established schools of Jujitsu in a tournament. In addition to the above, Judo's background in traditional Jujitsu combined with its police and military applications, has resulted in kata specifically designed to teach technical principles for self-defense.
Anyway, I quit judo after awhile. I was told by the Japanese Americans that my karate was much more affective than judo, so I continued training at the local KokushiniKai dojo in Sugarhouse. Karate was my primary art, but the lessons I learned in judo were valuable. Many years later, when I trained in jujutsu at the Juko Kai International Hombu, I found many techniques in jujutsu were similar to those I had learned in judo, but found the jujutsu to be more valuable to me, particularly when I used a throw after an atemi. In Arizona, where people sweat profusely, this is a must! Today, I have continued developing my own art of karate and have decided to include many throws in my kata. But all throws follow devastating strikes and kicks. It is much easier to throw an aggressor, after you have rung his or hers bell. When you train at the Arizona School of Traditional Martial Arts in Mesa (the Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Hombu), you will learn throws mixed in with karate and kobudo (weapons).
|Choke used on Raleigh at UW. Anyone taking a Airline traveler self-defense class at the Arizona School of Traditional Martial Arts (Mesa Hombu) will learn to use these as they are invaluable in close quarters.|
When I was a member of the Salt Lake City YMCA judo club as a teenager, I had an opportunity to train with some interesting Japanese Americans – being the only white belt, teenager, and non-Asian among adult black belts gave me a great opportunity to learn to fall (everyone wanted the skinny white boy to throw) and also a great opportunity to learn about the Japanese culture. The judo that was taught, was a traditional art, more typical of jujutsu than today’s judo. Later, I had the opportunity to watch some of the best judoka in the world at the World judo championship held at the University of Utah. I was surprised to see very few throws. But there were lots of trips and foot sweeps followed by grappling and wrestling on the mat.
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|Demonstration of Te Waza with Josh |
Schwartz at the Casper Seiyo Shorin-
A little more than a year after Kano began training in this style, he transferred to another Tenjin Shin'yō-Ryū jujutsu school that emphasized kata. Kano practiced with intensity and soon became an assistant instructor at 21. He strived to learn more about jujutsu and soon began training in another style known as Kitō-Ryū jujutsu. This latter style emphasized free practice. This greatly influenced Kano’s later emphasis of randori after his creation of judo.