Judo is the world-famous martial art that was established in Japan during the late 1800’s, through the combination of jujitsu with mental discipline and control. May styles of jujitsu were created by the Samurai as a way of fighting at close quarters, but after the fall of the Samurai the best parts of each style were taken and distilled into one fighting style by Judo’s founder, Jigoro Kano. To this day, Judo combines practical fighting techniques with thoughtfulness for the opponent.
There are many physical benefits of Judo, chief of which is self-defense. When taking Judo, practitioners learn a variety of skills involving balance, coordination and effective motion. The art of falling safely so to avoid injury is also practiced, which also aids Judo practitioners dramatically if they are ever caught in a physical confrontation. In fact, the Judo skills regarding safe falls can be acclimated to other activities, which lowers the risk of sustaining serious injury while competing in other sports.
Judo is also excellent training for the mind. When taking Judo, self-confidence, trust, self-discipline and respect for ones’ self and others are key aspects of training. There are specific rules and regulations that one must follow in Judo, such as respecting the teacher, and also the opponent. Many of the locks and holds involve a great deal of trust, which cannot be formed without some level of respect. Judo participants always shake hands before and after matches, which is an honoured and special tradition.
As well as positively influencing the development of the body, Judo is also good for mental health. The fluid and graceful range of movement employed by Judo practitioners is seen as a physical manifestation of the inner workings of meditation, the goal of which is to calm the mind and soothe the soul. When not participating with a partner or an opponent, there are certain techniques one can practice alone. These techniques involve breathing exercises that relax, calm and restore internal balance. Many people often report lower stress levels and peace of mind when taking a martial art, as spirituality is often a key aspect – although not unique to Judo, Judo places such a focus on mental strength and discipline that is equal to physical prowess. Judo has also been known to positively affect the lives of special needs individuals and build confidence in others who have been bullied or picked on, so when it comes to building confidence and self-belief, Judo is exceptionally powerful.