Judo is the safest contact sport for children under the age of 13 according to The American College of Sports Medicine. The word judo consists of two Japanese characters, “Ju”, which means “gentle” and “Do”, which means “the way”. Judo, therefore, literally means “the way of gentleness”. Judo was conceived by Japanese educator, Jigoro Kano in 1882.
Judo is a rigorous and demanding physical activity. The practice of judo techniques helps people develop basic and fundamental physical fitness in a number of ways, such as the development of strength, flexibility, agility, speed, dynamic and static balance, explosive power, and endurance. The practice of active attack and defense helps develop reaction time, coordination, and overall physical self-confidence.
Judo students learn how to control their feelings, emotions, and impulses. They learn about values of perseverance, respect, loyalty, and discipline. Judo students develop an outstanding work ethic, as well as important social manners and etiquette. They learn to overcome their fears, and to show courage under pressure. Through the rigors of daily practice, they learn about justice and fairness. Through their experience, they learn about politeness, modesty, and many other wonderful values that contribute to their development as successful citizens of society. As such, judo facilitates the development of important moral knowledge and values, those that are important to help people to become active and contributing members of their communities, nations, and the world.
In its totality, it is a system of physical, intellectual, and moral education. Judo has its own culture, systems, heritage, customs, and traditions. Moreover, the principles of gentleness are carried from the practice mats and into most students’ lives, in their interactions with their friends, family, work colleagues, and even strangers. Judo gives its students a code of ethics, a way of living, and a way of being. It is a part of the physical education systems of many countries.
Judo students also learn valuable social skills and build long-lasting and meaningful relationships with others. The camaraderie and bonding that occurs among partners who have shared the rigors of physically difficult and mentally demanding training are deep, often providing the basis for relationships that last a lifetime. Through judo, people are able to develop friendships and integrate socially almost anywhere.