Judo is an art that to the outsider could be seen as violent, after all, we are throwing each other into the air and adults even use arm locks and strangle each other until a submission.
However, for those that take the time to delve deeper into Judo, they will see a sport that is like no other.
A sport that will test the mental and physical fortitude of its participants, while also growing the individual in ways they never thought possible.
Judo is simply incredible, and in this article, we hope to share with you why we believe Judo is an activity that you should start today.
1. Judo Is An Amazing Form Of Physical Exercise
We all know that keeping in good health is a major part of life, and we also know that exercise is essential as well.
We often say people are ‘fit’ but ‘fit for what?’
Fitness is certainly specific to what we are doing, and you can see this with marathon runners. They are certainly what people would refer to as fit, but they lack strength in their upper bodies. So while they could be called ‘fit’ this is only for their sport!
Judo, on the other hand, is a sport that offers all round fitness.
Enter any dojo and you’ll see people of all ages and that’s the beauty! Not only is it a community, as we get older, functional fitness becomes a concern and Judo can be fine-tuned to keep us active.
I know some who are still doing Judo well into their 70’s, even 80’s!
A Judoka will need to have the hand speed of a boxer and the finesse and flexibility of a dancer. Anyone who does Judo will soon find their cardiovascular fitness will be rapidly increased as will their strength.
2. Judo Is More Than Just Sport It Is Education For Life
It would be easy to think that Judo is merely a sport, but that is not what Judo is designed for.
Judo is about education for life.
This was the Original philosophy of the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano.
If you are trying to explain this concept to anyone outside of Judo, it can be difficult, but the lessons of Judo are apparent in every class. You can find a video explanation here.
We begin with a sign of respect when we bow to each other, and then the lessons in life continue. We will learn to move our body in a coordinated manner; we will even learn about balance.
Then after learning techniques, a Judoka will engage in Randori, a form of free practise which is like physical chess. It is here that more lessons are learned.
You will learn that you are more capable than you first thought. You will test your mind and body against that of another human being.
You will be thrown, and just as in life you will learn to pick yourself up and start again.
You will be pinned down by an opponent and feel as if the world is against you. It is here that you will learn that you can escape.
Sometimes the opponent will better you, and just as in life you will have to go away and learn from your mistakes. You will need to study and apply your knowledge the next time you are in this situation.
And then when you apply your knowledge at the right time, in the right situation you will succeed!
In many ways, Judo is a metaphor for life
The founder of Judo took his original learning from Jiu Jitsu and then erased the movements that would cause serious harm, and from that, he developed it as an educational tool.
Judo is a sport that challenges the mind and body to work as one!
An example of this is that we see kids with behavioural problems and kids introduced to Judo. It gives these kids a base to control their temperament.
They find the discipline in the dojo and take that outside with them.
3. Self Control
In Judo we practise our skills on another human being.
This is another factor that makes our sport even more powerful. We learn to work with others, regardless of their race or background. This is the sport that truly brings people together.
Even at the top level, we have Judo camps where players from across the world who compete in events will train with each other in the hope that they can become the best that they can be.
It is a sport that is bound by self-control and self-discipline. If a person goes too far, they will injure someone. It is a game where respect for your opponent as well as yourself are the foundations
However, we also see the confidence grow among those that take up Judo. As they start to realise their physical potential and gain strength, fighting ability and of course make friends, this helps to improve a person’s confidence.
4. The Feeling of Throwing For Ippon
Ippon is the equivalent of a knockout in Judo, yet in Judo the person on the receiving end can get right back up without injury.
This means that the thrills In Judo are experienced a lot more with virtually zero risk (once the students learn how to break fall correctly, one of the first lessons).
It is for this reason that Judo is a sport that keeps people coming back time and time again.
But what is this feeling that is almost like a drug?
It would be hard to explain, but for a split second, it is a sense of perfection. When everything comes together in that perfect moment, and you have thrown another person flat onto their back.
To explain it in simple terms; have you ever had a day in your life that was brilliant?
You know the type of day that when you wake up, the sun is shining, everyone is great with you, work goes amazingly well. Heck, you even pulled into the car park at work and found the last space just waiting for you.
Well, a Judo Ippon is like bottling up that same ‘best day ever’ feeling and putting it into a bottle and drinking it.
It is a feeling like no other!
5. It is A Martial Art and An Olympic Sport
Another excellent benefit of Judo is that it is not just a sport, but also an art.
It is an activity that can be studied in great depth as it has a vast and colourful history.
This means that Judo can be explored and practised by all ages and levels of ability. It is not an activity that is just for Elite sports people or the super fit.
6. Respect Is Taught From The First Lesson
We have touched on the element of respect before, but again this is worth exploring in detail.
At a Judo lesson, you will bow and often shake hands not just once but multiple times a lesson. This compounds and the Judoka could have bowed and shaken hands over 1000 times a year.
In Judo we learn to respect not only our bodies and what they are capable of but also those of our training partners because if they get injured, we cannot improve. We need each other.
7. Problem Solving
Our final reason for taking part in Judo is that it forces you to become a problem solver.
This again goes back to the brilliance of Kano and his method of using Judo for education.
You will find that in Judo you will face problems and you will need to learn to solve them, and for the most part in a high pressure environment. Things can change in a blink of an eye and your success is based on your how to adapt the situation using the skills you have accumulated.
Perhaps you will be struggling to perfect a technique or to make it work in Randori. To solve it you will need to study or face being thrown again and again.
If you are pinned, choked or are locked you will need to learn to defend or escape.
It is this problem-solving mentality that will cross over into life and will help you in all areas.
Judo will teach you to ask questions that empower you such as ‘how can I avoid this situation’ and ‘how can I improve in this area’.
We have found that Judo inspires self-development.
So there you have it. Our reasons for taking part in Judo.
Sure there are more, such as the way we develop friendships in Judo that last a lifetime and also the self-defence element of the sport. However, we wanted to show some other powerful motivating factors that should encourage people to try our wonderful sport and art.