Judo – The Gentle Way

Martial art uniforms are basically the same, the same white canvas. Regardless of the type of martial art, whether karate or judo or even tae kwon do, they all use the same uniform.
Judo is a highly specialized form of unarmed self-defense. It is a milder form of jujitsu, a rather violent type of martial combat from which it evolved. The origin of jujitsu is lost in history. Old Japanese chronicles record the development of this skill by Chinese monks living in the twelfth century. Because their religion forbade the use of arms, they devised a method of protecting themselves against personal attack without the use of weapons.
The art of jujitsu was introduced into Japan in the latter part of the twelfth century where it became an important form of fighting among the Samurai warriors. With the breakup of the feudal regime and the emergence of feudal Japan, the systems of self-defense that continued to be taught were many and varied, with no standards of regulations.
In 1882 Professor Jigoro Kano established in Tokyo a school called Kodokan and named his sport “ju-do” or “gentle way.” He laid great stress on the “do” of judo, which means a way or concept of life. He believed that considerable mental as well as physical training could be accomplished, since the competitors had always to be on the alert to discover the weak points of their opponents and were taught to exercise perseverance and a respect for others.
Japanese immigrants introduced judo to the United States. A great thrust was given to its development in the year 1904 when a Mr. Yamashita of the Kodokan visited the United States. He gave public demonstrations and taught the sport, having as on of his students President Theodore Roosevelt.
In 1932 a visit by Professor Kano to the United States resulted in the organization of several yudanshakais (associations). In 1952 Judo was accepted as a sport by the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States. The first national championships were held at San Jose State College in California.
Awards for efficiency are given as follows: as the judoka progresses from the sixth kyu (rank) up through the first kyu, he is allowed to wear belts of different colors to denote his degree of accomplishment. The sixth through fourth kyu students wear white belts, and the third through first kyu students wear brown belts.
With further training the student may qualify for shodan or first-degree black belt. In this black belt division there are ten degrees.