WHAT IS THE JUDO ?
UNESCO has declared it as the best initial training for children and young people aged 4 to 21 and as a regular practice at any age with appropriate limitations. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) instead considers it one of the most complete sports, which promotes the values of friendship, participation, respect and effort to improve. This is judo: a martial art, a combat sport and a self-defense method born in Japan at the end of the nineteenth century thanks to Master Jigoro Kano and which became an Olympic discipline in 1964 on the occasion of the Tokyo Olympics.
The term judo translates into "way of kindness", because this discipline, although it is a martial art and a method of self-defense, does not involve the use of violence, but consists of techniques and holds whose goal is to render harmless the opponent, through his immobilization: “Training in the discipline of jūdō means reaching perfect knowledge of the spirit through attack-defense training and the assiduous effort to obtain physical-spiritual improvement. The improvement of the ego thus obtained must be directed to social service, which is the ultimate goal of the jūdō ”(Kyuzo Mifune, The Canon of Judo).
How judo is practiced.
Together with boxing, taekwondo, wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling, judo is one of the very few martial arts elevated to the rank of Olympic sport; this discipline is made up of techniques and holds deriving from the most ancient jujitsu, does not include blows and is based on 4 main principles:
• Projections: coming into contact with the opponent, you will have to perceive his so-called "weak plan" and act on it with the purpose of throwing it to the ground using its center of gravity.
• Knockdowns: alternative methods to projections, allow you to obtain the same result while exploiting the opponent's errors or excesses of strength.
• Submissions: levers, choking, pressure and twisting capable of causing great pain, potential damage, or knocking out the opponent.
• Fixed assets and dominant positions: they are put into practice once the opponent is on the ground.
Practitioners of this discipline are called judoists or more commonly judoka; the place where judo is practiced is called the dojo and the training takes place on a mat called a tatami. The tatami in Japan is made of rice straw, and is the normal flooring of traditional-style homes. Until about the seventies it was also used for the practice of judo, but today, for hygienic and ergonomic purposes, synthetic materials are used: in fact for the regular maintenance of the dojo it is important that the tatami mats are easy to clean, and to allow judokas to train comfortably and safely, they must be stiff enough so that they can walk on them without sinking, and adequately elastic to be able to cushion the fall. The judokas wear a uniform called judogi with a belt that goes from white to black for the recognition of rank and experience.
The benefits of judo.
Practicing judo, even for just a few years, brings with it many benefits, both physical and spiritual. In fact, this discipline, in addition to being a complete physical activity, which develops and increases aspects such as perspective, coordination, flexibility and balance, strengthens the spirit and mind, helping to develop self-esteem and self-control; the lessons temper the character and a deep education and respect towards the teacher and the opponent is required.
From a physical point of view, the main benefits are:
• it burns calories and is a complete sport: judo is ideal for those looking for a complete sport and is also good for losing weight and keeping fit, since it activates the metabolism. Furthermore, being a contact sport, judo provides a 360 degree training, with a consequent increase in muscle mass;
• improves breathing: this discipline is highly beneficial on the respiratory level, because it teaches you to breathe better and to concentrate on the rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. By optimizing lung ventilation, it also relieves discomfort such as asthma;
• improves circulation
• improves balance and agility, increases the elasticity of the muscles and the flexibility of the joints: since the goal of the judoka is to remain standing trying to knock the opponent to the ground, it is very important to train to be as agile as possible and to maintain balance even when making very rapid movements; From an emotional and psychic point of view, on the other hand, the greatest benefits deriving from the practice of judo are:
• respect for the opponent: this discipline teaches that even in a sport of self-defense one can leave violence aside, using methods and techniques that involve more spirit and balance;
• increases self-esteem, helps socialize and fight shyness - judo helps you not to be afraid of contact with others and to express yourself through your body. Furthermore, although the fight is between two opponents, the bonds that form with the other members of the team can be very strong;
• trains a person's spirit and moral abilities: judo is an excellent school for learning respect for others and for oneself. Furthermore, it teaches to correct aggressive attitudes, increasing the tolerance to frustration in a constructive way;
• increases concentration: those who practice this sport learn to think before acting, and not to get carried away by emotions in the most difficult situations.