What is judo?

Judo is practiced by more than 100 million people in more than 200 countries worldwide. There are many reasons why judo is such a popular sport and activity.

  • Judo is an activity that is enjoyed by males and females of all ages.
  • Judo develops athletic qualities and skills from  basic physical literacy to  complex  movement  patterns and tactics. 
  • Judo offers avenues of philosophical exploration for it is rooted in Japanese culture.
  • Judo is an excellent form of self defense; it also develops conflict management skills.
  • Judo is a sport which can be pursued towards Olympic glory. 
  • Judo programs offer a safe and challenging environment in which each judoka can achieve his or her potential.

The Japanese word “Judo” literally means the “gentle way”.  Balance, timing, strategy and tactics, are essential characteristics of this sport and art. The objective in judo is to apply these principles to the many throwing and grappling techniques. Judo is both a fun and high-energy activity as well as a relaxing and calming exercise.  The various movements and techniques can be learned with games and are perfected through practice with a partner.

In short, Judo has a wide range of appeal as a sport, an art, a discipline, a recreational pastime, a social activity, a fitness program, a means of self-defense, and a way of life. 


The Values

One of the distinguishing aspects of judo is how its basic values and principles translate into a way of life.  What is learned on the mat through hard judo training transfers at home, at school, at work or at play. 

These values include:                                      

·         playing by the rules

  • co-operating with others
  • respecting self and others   
  • self-discipline and humility
  • self-confidence and commitment 
  • perseverance and determination
  • concentrating and controlling emotions

The Bow


The bow, seeded in Japanese tradition, is a symbol of respect and trust. As a contact and impact activity in which partners need each other to learn and progress, partners are responsible for each other’s safety and well being. Therefore, when we bow on the judo mat before the exercise, we entrust our partner.  After the exercise we bow in thanks for not violating that trust.