Judo, Japan's 'gentle' Martial Art Practised By Millions
Muhammad Rameez 6 days ago Thu 22nd July 2021 | 09:20 AM
Tokyo, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd Jul, 2021 ) :It's practised by tens of millions around the world but there's no doubt that judo's spiritual home is Japan, where the martial art was created and made its Olympic debut.
Born to a sake-brewing clan from the Kobe region, Kano combined different forms of jujitsu with his own ideas, including spiritual discipline, and believed judo's ultimate goal was to "strive for personal perfection" through discipline and training.
He named his martial art "judo" meaning "the gentle way", and saw it as a means to develop both body and mind.
In competition, judo is contested on a mat with the goal of scoring an "ippon" or full point, which ends a bout.
Ways to achieve this include pinning an opponent for 20 seconds or throwing them so they land on their back. Half-points called waza-ari can also be earned and add up.
Bouts at the Games will last four minutes, and the action is often fast-paced and highly physical.
- 'It needs to be fun' - An egalitarian spirit is viewed by some as a key part of judo. Winter training at judo's hallowed Kodokan centre in Tokyo is open to everyone, and women have practised the sport since it was founded.
"It is not just a Japanese sport," an official from the Kokodan told AFP.
"Judo has blossomed as a global culture." But some worry the martial art is losing its shine in its birthplace, including judoka Tadahiro Nomura, the only person ever to win three gold medals in judo.
"As for how it's run, how it started, how it spread around the world, the essence of judo, what it can teach kids and so on -- all that has been kind of forgotten." Kodokan officials said they are hoping that "superb performances and conduct" by judoka from around the world "will inspire children to feel that they too want to learn judo".
And Nomura thinks the Olympic spotlight could give the sport renewed vigour.
"People might think, 'Oh that athlete is great and cool and strong,'" he said.
"It can be an opportunity for people to get into judo. If there's a local dojo nearby, it's easy to go along and try it." But he worries that dojos are closing and the sport is seen as increasingly inaccessible.
"It needs to be fun, or somewhere to learn etiquette, or something to do for your health," he said.
"I think if local dojos can meet the different needs of people... judo can recover a bit of its popularity."