Born in Japan, 1860, Kanō mastered several styles of jujitsu in his youth. From there, he developed his own martial art system, Judo. In 1882, he founded the Kodokan Judo Institute in Toky, Japan, which remains the international authority of Judo today.
The main components of Judo are the principles of non-resistance and taking advantage of the opponent's loss of equilibrium. Ergo the name, Judo (Jū "soft, gentle" + dō "way, art"), the gentle way. This soft art allows a smaller, weaker, defender to maximize the force and speed of their attacker to deliver a decisive victory in one sweeping blow.
Judo is the way of the highest or most efficient use of both physical and mental energy. Through training in the attack and defence techniques of judo, the practitioner nurtures their physical and mental strength, and gradually embodies the essence of the Way of Judo. Thus, the ultimate objective of Judo discipline is to be utilized as a means to self-perfection, and thenceforth to make a positive contribution to society.
– Jigoro Kano, 1915
"From 'Jutsu to Dō: The Birth of Kōdōkan Judo."
ADULT JUDO RANK
1st - 5th Dan
5th - 8th Dan
JUNIOR JUDO RANK
JUDO FOR KIDS
Self-defense is the bedrock of JUDO. The primary reason for learning a martial art is to learn how to defend yourself under necessary circumstances. Judo teaches techniques that allow a child to use the size and power of an Attacker against them by channeling their energy into a throw or takedown. From there, the Judoka can use follow-on strikes or flea the situation.
Over time, kids will develop their skills, climb the ranking system, and compete, in-house, as well as at tournaments with other schools. These combinations show kids what they are made of. They gain self-assurance in their abilities to work hard to accomplish goals of becoming a tournament champion and earning a Black Belt as time progresses.
Class starts off with warm-up calisthenics. Then onto practicing throwing techniques, holding techniques, and sparring. In between techniques and sparring matches, they are often tasked with a set number of exercises to further develop vital muscle groups that enhance the power of their techniques. These workouts assist with the natural development of their muscles and also build a stronger cardiovascular system. In Judo, kids are working harder than they would in traditional team sports because they are constantly engaging in some form of physical activity that entails working against the strength of their partner or exercises in-between. In Soccer, Football, or Basketball, children don't normally play the entire practice or game and there are a good number of breaks in between the action.
Belts are a way of tracking progress and skill-level as they learn and develop their techniques through the Judo Martial Art. Belts are also a great motivational tool for children because they can physically see the progress they are making amongst their peers and wear it around their waist as a symbol of pride for their dedication and accomplishment. When a child receives a belt, they are immediately motivated to earn the next one. Even when Black Belt is achieved, there are 10 degrees of Black Belts in the Judo ranking system.
Team sports like Soccer, Football, and Basketball will sit kids on the bench for prolonged periods of time if they are not good in certain available positions. Some coaches will not let kids play in the game at all. Judo is more of an individual effort than a team effort. A Judo team can only win a tournament based on the collective individual achievements of Judokas ( Judo Practitioners ). This means that each kid will have their chance to test their skills against an opponent from another team. Your child might not win every time, but at least they will have tried hard and lost with pride rather than not participate at all. Losing is often the best motivation to come back stronger, faster, and better. Winning is the result of extremely hard work during practice and only demonstrated at the tournament.
Only through constant repetition of technique, physical conditioning, and sparring, can a Judoka become proficient at the Art. This means that a child must dedicate themselves if they want to earn a higher rank or win at a tournament. Kids learn discipline through understanding the benefit of frequent practice. Additionally, kids are taught to respect their teachers, fellow students, their opponents, and how to compete fairly.
The main principle of Judo is emphasis towards the concept of maximum efficiency. Judo techniques are not always about strength, but using your opponents speed and force against themselves. Strength and conditioning do have their importance, but mental sharpness is the most important factor in winning Judo matches. A Judoka will need to control their own body while controlling their opponents and look for opportune moments to strike with the right technique exactly at the right time.
Many parents think Martial Arts are only for boys, however, Judo is one of the few sports where both boys and girls can compete together. There are enormous opportunities for girls in Judo as well, considering that Judo is an Olympic sport. Achieving a higher Judo rank is not any easier to earn for girls than it is for boys. Girls must be just as proficient in their techniques and ability as boys are. This also allows brothers and sisters to practice and learn together as well as learn from each other at home.
Although Judo is a Martial Art, it is all about competition. Competition allows kids to test their skills and abilities by matching against Judokas from other schools who want to win just as badly. Different from team sports, the loser cannot blame anyone but themselves. This allows them to have more respect for their opponent and motivates themselves to train harder for the next time. Each Judo tournament is a fresh start towards winning a Gold medal. Rarely are they only allowed one match in a tournament. There is usually a second-chance, for those who have lost, to still win a Bronze medal.
Humberto Becerra holds the Judo rank of Kudan ( Ninth-Degree Black Belt ), and also a Ninth-Degree Black Belt in Jujitsu. He started Judo in Cuba, 1954, spending years training and competing internationally. In his earlier years, Becerra spent 15 years in Japan where he earned a Ninth-Degree Black Belt in Goju-Ryu Karate from Neko-Do Systems. From there, he spent time teaching at the N.J.I. (National Judo Institute) in Colorado Springs. After several years of teaching at N.J.I., he was invited to train/teach at the Kodokan Judo Institute (the official school for Judo in Japan). Mr. Becerra currently teaches Jujitsu at Richland Junior College in Dallas, TX., and has his own Non-Profit Judo Club where he is the Chief Instructor.
Becerra is a member of the International Black Belt Hall of Fame in Pittsburgh, PA, and recently received their Pinnacle Award for Success. Becerra is a certified instructor in sexual harassment, assault and rape prevention for women by PPCI Management Systems, Inc. & The Institute for Control & Restraint Research, Inc. He is a certified professional consultant and speaker on child safety and danger awareness from the National Security Alliance. He is certified by USA Judo as a master teacher, class A. He's a level A International coach with USA Judo. He holds the rank of Master Judo Examiner with USJA ( United States Judo Association) and is also Master Jujitsu Examiner and Master Coach. He is a life member of the USJA, USA Judo, and Texas Judo.
Becerra was a Coach to the 2006 USA Judo, High School, All-American team, that went to Japan. He was selected as Volunteer Coach of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee. Becerra is a member of the Texas Promotion Board and is the development director of Texas Judo. He is also a member of USA Judo National Promotion Board from 2007 to Present. In 2009 he received the certificate for the Continental Judo Course in Mexico City. Member of USA Judo Coaches Education Committee. Team USA Head Coach of the 2009 and 2011 Jita Kyoei International Cup in Lima, Peru. Team USA Coach to the 2010 and 2011 Judogis Dorados Tournaments in Havana, Cuba.
Bill Abbott holds the Judo rank of Rokudan ( Sixth-Degree Black Belt ). He works closely with the Junior Judo class to demonstrate and fine-tune the kid's techniques. Bill has been practicing Judo for nearly 50 years.