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Judo: The Gentle Way
According to Japanese mythology the ancient gods used jujitsu, the forerunner of judo, to punish lawless mortals. In the 12th century, jujitsu became a standard form of defense among the samurai warriors. The many crude and unorganized versions of jujitsu that developed thereafter were finally systematized after the abolition of feudalism in Japan in 1871. Judo, Dr. Kano's refinement of jujitsu, spread first to England through the efforts of Gunji Koizumi, who established a school in London in 1918. Dr. Kano visited schools in the United States in 1932 and 1938.
Judo is a form of self defence originating in Japan, judo developed from ju jitsu which was practised in China as early as the eighth century BC. Jujitsu became popular in Japan from the twelfth century and was a principal weapon of the Samurai, the national warrior class. When this class was abolished following western involvement in Japan from 1854, martial arts were also banned. However in 1882 Jigoro Kano began to teach a milder form of jujitsu, naming it judo, or 'gentle way'.
Kano taught the dual nature of judo, which combined mental and spiritual development with physical expertise. His Kodokan school became the centre of judo training and by the 1930s judo was an established sport in all Japanese schools and in the public service. The International Judo Federation was founded in 1951 and in 1956 the first World Championship was held in Tokyo. Judo was first incorporated into the Olympic Games in 1964.
The object of the judo expert is to disable his antagonist as expeditiously as possible, with the least risk to himself and the minimum expenditure of physical effort. The cardinal principle of judo is never to oppose force by force. Whatever the attacker's movement, the judoist yields to it in order to lure him into a weakened stance or position so that by applying trips and strokes or lifts and swings the opponent's balance can be destroyed and he can be brought down. Falls can be very heavy but in contests between experts as in this picture, the severity is greatly mitigated by knowing the art of falling.
Judo is classified into the following main divisions: nagewaza, or the art of throwing; katamewaza, or the art of grappling; and atemiwaza, or the art of striking vital spots.