What Is Judo?

  • Welcome to Judo
    Welcome to the world of judo! Judo is practiced by more than 100 million people in more than 200 countries worldwide. There are many reasons why judo is such a popular sport and activity.

    • Judo is an activity that is enjoyed by males and females of all ages.
    • Judo develops athletic qualities and skills from basic  physical literacy to complex movement patterns and tactics.
    • Judo offers avenues of philosophical exploration for it is rooted in Japanese culture.
    • Judo is an excellent form of self defense; it also develops conflict management skills.
    • Judo is a sport which can be pursued towards Olympic glory.
    • Judo programs offer a safe and challenging environment in which each judoka can achieve his or her potential.

    The Japanese word “Judo” literally means the “gentle way”. Balance, timing, strategy and tactics, are essential characteristics of this sport and art. The objective in judo is to apply these principles to the many throwing and grappling techniques. Judo is both a fun and high-energy activity as well as a relaxing and calming exercise. The various movements and techniques can be learned with games and are perfected through practice with a partner.

    In short, Judo has a wide range of appeal as a sport, an art, a discipline, a recreational pastime, a social activity, a fitness program, a means of self-defense, and a way of life.

  • History of Judo

    Kodokan Judo comes to us from the fighting system of feudal Japan. Founded in 1882 by Dr. Jigoro Kano, Judo is a refinement of the ancient martial art of Jujutsu. Dr. Kano, President of the University of Education, Tokyo, studied these ancient forms and integrated what he considered to be the best of their techniques into what is now the modern sport of Judo.

    Judo was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1964 and is practiced by millions of people throughout the world today. People practice Judo to excel in competition, to stay in shape, to develop self-confidence, and for many other reasons. But most of all, people do Judo just for the fun of it.


  • Beginnings of Judo in Canada

    It was around 1924 that Judo was introduced on the Canadian West Coast by a young Japanese Judoka,  Takagaki, who was at the time a fourth Dan.  He and a few fellow immigrant  Japanese founded the first Canadian Dojo, for both social and sport  purposes.  After a few years, Mr. Takagaki returned to Japan where he later  obtained his 9th Dan. Among the pioneers of that era was Mr. Steve Sasaki, who became the director  of the Dojo.  Later, during a visit to Vancouver, Master Kano gave the name  Kidikan to this first Canadian Dojo.

    During World War II Japanese and Canadians of Japanese origin were  relocated to the east of the Rockies.  At the end of the War, many of them  preferred to remain in their new communities, and developed the sport of Judo.   This period saw the beginning of the Raymond and Lethbridge Dojos in Alberta as  well as the Hatashita Judo Club in Toronto and the Montreal Shidokan.

    In the early 1950’s, many European Judoka with black belts settled in the  East, especially in Quebec.  Not all of them were teaching Kodokan Judo but they  contributed largely to its practice on a wider scale.  They established the  first Canadian Judo Federation (C.J.F.) which became affiliated with the  International Judo Federation which was also a newly established organization.  Today each province and  territory has a Judo Association.

  • Bowing in Judo
    The bow, seeded in Japanese tradition, is a symbol of respect and trust. As a contact and impact activity in which partners need each other to learn and progress, partners are responsible for each other’s safety and well being. Therefore, when we bow on the judo mat before the exercise, we entrust our partner.  After the exercise we bow in thanks for not violating that trust.
  • Values In Judo

    One of the distinguishing aspects of judo is how its basic values and principles translate into a way of life. What is learned on the mat through hard judo training transfers at home, at school, at work or at play.

    These values include:

    • playing by the rules
    • co-operating with others
    • respecting self and others
    • self-discipline and humility
    • self-confidence and commitment
    • perseverance and determination
    • concentrating and controlling emotions

  • Competitive Judo
    For those interested in competitive judo, there are many opportunities to develop as an athlete from the club right up to the Olympic level. Within Canada, there are various club, regional, provincial and national competitions for all ages.  In 1964, Judo was included in the summer Olympic Games program. Since that time, Canadian judo athletes have won two silver and three bronze medals at the Olympics and many more medals at the World championships and other international competitions. Just this year a member of the Ajax Budokan (Jessica Klimkait) won a gold medal at the World Cadet championships.  The first time a Canadian has ever won a world championship.