Interesting facts about judo

Posted on Mar 11, 2022      169

Interesting facts about judo

The founder of judo is the Japanese martial arts master, Jigoro Kano (1860-1938). Interestingly, as a child, he was frail and shy and was constantly mocked by his peers. At seventeen, Jigoro Kano began practicing jiu-jitsu, and at twenty-two he opened his own small school, where he taught his students a new style of jiu-jitsu. Therefore, 1882 is considered the date of the foundation of judo. Initially, the school of the young master engaged only nine students.

In literal translation from the Japanese language, “judo” means “soft way”. Unlike many other traditional Japanese martial arts, judo has no life-threatening throws and punches. This makes judo accessible to the widest possible public. Currently, about 28 million people in the world are engaged in judo. And in Japan in 1907, this martial art was included in the curriculum of public schools.

Jigaro Kano himself dreamed of making judo a part of the Olympics program. He expressed this idea for the first time in 1928, when the Summer Olympics were held in Amsterdam. But it happened much later, in 1964, at the Games in Tokyo. By that time, Kano himself was no longer alive. Until 1992, only men competed in the Olympics, but since 1992 Olympic awards were given to women as well.

In the Russian Empire, judo was first learned in the early twentieth century, since 1902 classes in this martial art were held at the St. Petersburg Police School. And Russian Vasily Oschepkov, who lived in Japan for several years, was the first European to receive a black belt in judo. In 1917, Oschepkov was awarded the 2nd Dan.

Later, Oschepkov returned to his homeland, where he did a lot to popularize this exotic martial art, first in tsarist Russia, and then in the Soviet Union. But, in 1937, Oschepkov was arrested on charges of espionage and died in Butyr prison. One founder of judo in our country was rehabilitated only 20 years later - in 1957.

The Japanese won the most awards at the Olympic Games in judo. But, the most titled judoka in the world is the French heavyweight Teddy Riner, nicknamed “Teddy Bear”. Riner became Olympic champion three times, won 11 world championships and 5 European championships. Teddy won the Olympics twice as an individual, and in the summer of 2021, he also won the gold medal in team events.

Soviet athletes took part in the Olympic judo competition in 1964, when the sport made its debut at the Games. The sambo wrestlers had to be urgently re-qualified for that. This wrestling was very popular in the Soviet Union. The debut was a success, winning four bronze medals at once.

Shota Chochishvili was the first Soviet judoka to win gold at the Olympics. In 1972, he was the strongest in the weight category up to 93 kg. Chochishvili was distinguished on the mat by his original wrestling manner, as in his childhood he was engaged in Chidaoba - Georgian national wrestling.

Samoa, a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean, achieved little success on the international sports scene. But, Derek Sua went down in history as the heaviest judoka of our time. The weight of this giant reaches 175 kg. The most popular sport in Samoa is rugby, that’s where Sua started his career, but later took up judo. By the way, until the thirties, there was no division of judo participants into weight categories.

Nowadays, judo is divided into two streams - sport and traditional. Most athletes step on the tatami to achieve victories in major international competitions. But the center of traditional judo remains the Kodokan Institute, which was founded by Jigaro Kano back in 1882. Until now, Kodokan only wears white kimono on the tatami, any other color is unacceptable.

In judo there are 12 degrees of skill, which are called “dan”. However, 10 are currently in use. Only one person - Jigaro Kano - has been awarded the 12th dan, but no one has ever been awarded the 11th dan, although theoretically it is possible.

Judo became the meaning of life not only for Jigaro Kano but also for many members of his family. So the first woman, judoka, was the wife of the founder of this martial art - Sumako. Their son Risei became president of the International Judo Federation in 1951, and Kapo’s grandson Yukimitsu headed Kodokan, the most influential judo school in the world.


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