The Sport of Judo

In the sport of judo, what's the color of the belt worn by beginners?

And the answer: white.    

Originating in Japan in the 1880s, judo evolved from various martial arts previously used by samurai warriors. The difference is that judo removes the techniques that can seriously harm someone. Novices of the sport start with a white belt and then progress through other colors; those at the highest levels receive a brown or black belt.

Photo credit: public domain. 

As the second most popular combative sport in the Olympic Games, judo is enjoyed by fans and competitors across the world. According to the International Judo Federation, there are over 2.2 million judoka (practitioners of judo) worldwide, with the most color belts in Europe and the most black belts in Asia. Interestingly, though, there are more judoka registered in France than in Japan itself! The number of practitioners in France has continued to grow steadily since the Judo Federation was established soon after World War II, with some French judoka such as David Douillet rising to claim gold in the Olympics.

Interestingly, judo is both a sport and a martial art. It became an Olympic sport in the 1964 Tokyo games, but it's also practiced widely outside of the arena. Many special forces, military, and police around the world utilize judo and other martial arts in combat. In Japan, judo has been practiced by police forces since 1886.

Judo is a sport which grows from an emphasis on strategic control rather than brute force. Dr. Jigoro Kano, the founder and president of the University of Education in Tokyo, Japan, developed the sport's principles, which include maximum efficiency as well as mutual welfare and benefit. Maximum efficiency teaches you to use the least amount of strength necessary to throw an opponent with proper techniques and timing, while mutual welfare gestures to the self and community growth which comes with practicing a martial art.

Learn more about the history and practice of judo here.


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