A Brief History | What's in a
Name? | Why Judo for MMA?
A Brief History
Judo was founded in 1882 in Japan by Jigoro Kano, who had been a student
of jiu jitsu from a young age. Kano wanted a martial art which
incorporated the best of jiu jitsu, and eliminated the hazardous
techniques (jiu jitsu matches would commonly end in severe injury or the
death of one of the fighters) from competition.
By the 1920s, judo had made it to North America; by the 60s, judo was an
Judo comprises various techniques – throws (one judo player, or judoka,
throws another), groundwork (the judokas fight on the ground and one
will hold the other down for a given length of time), armbars or joint
locks (can be performed from standing, or from the ground), chokes (as
with armbars, standing or on the ground), and combinations of some or
all of the above.
There are many excellent resources on the internet for a full history of
Judo, so we'll keep ours to a minimum. For further information,
page out, or for an explanation of Judo in the founder's own words,
take a look
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What's in a name?
The character "Ju" in Judo roughly translates to "gentleness",
"suppleness", or "flexibility". The character "Do" in Judo translates to
"The Way". Thus Judo is commonly referred to as "The Gentle Way". But
please don't mistake this moniker for meaning that no effort or strength
is required, or that Judo is easy!
The name really reflects the idea that it is generally better to yield
to an attacker's force, using his momentum, input some of your own force (preferably at an
unexpected moment or angle), and use the combined forces to your
advantage. Basically, it's better to step out of the way of a rushing
truck than to try to stop it!
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Why Judo for MMA?
Mixed Martial Arts and free-style fighting typically have
three distinct phases:
1. Standing striking where the combatants are standing apart from each
2.The Clinch - Also in a standing position, but with the combatants in
direct contact with each other. Strikes are still a possibility, but
throws and take-downs, joint locks, and chokes can also be employed.
3. Ground work - One or both of the combatants are on the ground, and
strikes, pins, joint locks, and chokes are possible.
Traditional Judo training is particularly strong in phases 2 and 3 - the
Clinch and Ground Work.
Competition Judo these days is about 80% clinch work, with the emphasis
on strong, high-amplitude, throws ending with the thrower in the top,
dominant, position on the ground - Exactly what is needed for successful MMA fighting.
Once on the ground, Judo teaches extremely strong pins/ground holds (in
Judo tournaments, a pin of 25 seconds is required for a win - a very
long time to hold a struggling opponent!) and that sort of control over
your opponent is crucial to staying in a dominant position where strikes
and submissions can be pursued.
And the list of submissions from groundwork in Judo is long and varied -
very handy stuff to know as well.
It makes a lot of sense to add Judo to your MMA training regimen!
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