Australian Judo Union Inc. Australian Judo Union Inc.

History of Judo

Judo is a Japanese martial art which emerged in 1882 in Tokyo as the brainchild of Dr Jigoro Kano, a jujitsu master, educator and professor of the Tokyo University. The late 1800`s in Japan was a period of great change which saw many old crafts and skills wither or disappear as modernisation and exposure to the rest of the world swept through Japanese society. Kano`s genius lay in his ability to effectively preserve the legendary Samurai fighting skills by transforming them into a sport orientated character building pursuit rather than a craft of war. Thus jujitsu (the pliable craft of the warrior) became judo (the pliable or gentle way - of life).

This new form of jujitsu, distilled from the best of the most noteworthy old schools and with the benefit of modern sport science in a competitive setting spread around the world and become an Olympic event with astonishing speed; it appealed to the western notion of sportsmanship and character building yet preserved the extensive and intricate arts of the pre-Meji era Samurai to some sizeable degree. A select few of the many hundreds of jujitsu schools (Ryu) of the day played a major role in shaping judo in its formative years, including Tenjin Shinyo Ryu, Kito Ryu, Fusen Ryu, Daito Ryu and others.

The influence of Kano and judo`s birthplace at the Kodokan (place of learning) further spread to other martial arts; the ubiquitous ``gi``, that strong durable grappling jacket and trousers that most other martial artists now wear, the system of coloured belts, the coverted black belt and Kyu-Dan grading system all sprang from the Kodokan. Today Judo enjoys a popularity second only to soccer throughout the world and is played in more countries than any other single sport or martial art.

To quote from the Kodokan website directly . . .
``The Kodokan was founded in 1882 by the late Prof. Kano who himself had established Judo. Judo was derived from Jujitsu which had many names and schools.

Jujitsu is an art for either attacking others or defending oneself with nothing but one`s own body. Prof. Kano adopted the superlative parts of all the Jujitsu schools, got rid of precarious parts, and established the new Kodokan Judo based on his own insight and arrangement.

It started with only nine disciples and a twelve-mat dojo. The Kodokan Judo was recognized in a few years to be excellent since its students overwhelmed the Jujitsu athletes at the Police Bujitsu Contest. This really was the first step for its future rapid progress. Prof. Kano promoted judo as a physical exercise from a wide national point of view. Proceeding with the organization of the Kodokan and enacting the regulations of Judo, he became the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee in 1909 and worked for the spread of Judo world-wide.

Judo became an official event in the Olympic Games of 1964, backed by Judo fans and sport promoters all over the world. It is now a very popular sport almost anywhere in the world.

Judo, which is now exercised in many countries of the world, is the very Kodokan Judo, created in 1882 by Prof. Jigoro Kano. It is clearly stated in the Article 1 of International Judo Federation (IJF) statutes, ``IJF recognizes `Judo` which was created by Jigoro Kano.``