Judo (meaning “gentle way”) is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Nowadays, the main focus lies on the competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one’s opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one’s opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an opponent to submit by joint locking or by executing a strangle hold or choke. Any kind of strikes, punches or kicks executed by any part of the human body as well as the use of weapons are a part of this art, but only in certain pre-arranged forms (kata) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice (randori).
The philosophy and subsequent pedagogy developed for judo became the model for other modern Japanese martial arts that developed from koryu (traditional schools). The worldwide spread of judo has led to the development of a number of derivatives such as Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Practitioners of judo are called judoka.
2. History and philosophy
In general, there are hardly any doubts about the true origin of the precursor of this martial art. It is believed to be the traditional form of unarmed warfare, which was mainly used and probably as well developed by the japanese knighthood, known as samurai. This previous version was called jiu-jitsu, a method of close combat for defeating an armed or unarmed opponent. It is not unusual at all that this form is often called the “mother of martial arts”, due to the fact that different styles all over the world, from Asia to Europe and even South America, were strongly influenced by its techniques or philosophy.
Several theories explain the origins of jujutsu. One of them holds that in the 17th century, a Chinese man named Chen Yuan Ping introduced the techniques of a common Chinese form of martial art to three samurai.
The other one holds that a doctor named Akiyama Shirobei from Nagasaki used to watch the nature in his spare time. One day, he was sitting at his desk and working when it suddenly began to snow. The branches of an old cherry tree were totally unable to carry the weight of the snow and broke, one after the other. In contrast to this cherry tree, the branches of the willow tree next to it simply bent until the snow fell to the ground without causing any kind of damage. According to the legend, Shirobei later created the concept of “gentleness controls hardness”. Yet another theory claims that jujutsu began “in the age of the gods”, this one is a purely japanese invention.
The last of the most common ones seems to be the most logical: Jiu-jitsu was developed all by the japanese knights themselves. The reason therefore is a more or less obvious problem that is very likely to occur in a battle: Every soldier carries any kind of weapon, a sword, a spear or a bow. Spears and bows were made from wood and easily breakable, additionally the longsword of the samurai was not the most robust weapon either, due to its shape. The only logical solution of this problem would be to carry several weapons or develope a way of fighting in which they are simply not used and needed. Considering the weight of the armour plus the weapons they already were carrying, in general 3-4, it would not have made any sense to them to increase it on purpose, which would have led to self-made tiredeness. In this point they were superior to the european knights, which used to neglect this possibly lethal problem.
2.2 The founder
The early history of judo is inseparable from its founder, the Japanese educator Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), born Shinnosuke Kano . Kano had the luck to live in a relatively affluent family. His father, Jirosaku, was the second son of the head priest of the Shinto Hiyoshi shrine. He married the daughter of the owner of a sake brewing company and was adopted by the family, changing his name to Kano.
Jigoro Kano studied English from the age of seven, as well as Japanese calligraphy and the Four Confucian Texts. When he was fourteen, Kano began boarding at an English-medium school in Tokyo. At this place he was the target of bullying, because of his obvious weakness and his size. Kano decided to study Jiu-jitsu in order to gain self-confidence and find a way to defend himself against the attacks of his classmates.Early attempts to find a jujutsu teacher who was willing to take him on met with little success. Jujutsu had lost popularity in an increasingly westernised Japan after the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate (1192-1868). This incident had an extremely strong influence on the Japanese martial arts in general. Several years passed before he was able to find a skilled and willing teacher.
In 1877, Kano was referred to Fukuda Hachinosuke , a teacher of jiujitsu, who had a small nine mat dojo where he taught five students. Fukuda preferred technique rather than formal exercise, which led to Kano’s emphasis on randori (free practice) in Judo.
When Fukuda died in 1880, he had become his keenest and most skilled student. Kano chose to continue his studies at another school, that of Iso Masatomo . Iso was the total opposite of his former teacher, he focussed on the practice of kata, and entrusted randori instruction to assistants, mainly to Kano. After Isos death, he went on to study at the dojo of Iikubo Tsunetoshi . Like Fukuda, Iikubo preferred the free form of randori, with Kitō-ryū having a greater focus on throwing techniques, which left a remarkable influence on Kano.
His first dojo was founded in February 1882 in a Buddhist temple. Two years later, he named it Kodokan (“place for expounding the way”).
The general two principles of judo are “maximum efficiency, minimum effort” and “mutual welfare and benefit”. Kano did not appreciate the name jiu-jitsu for his personal form of art, so he decided to give it a more sufficient one. At the time of the foundation of the Kodokan, a negative perception of Jujutsu was predominating among the Japanese public. In his opinion, it would be necessary to change the name in order to present it as something different from jiu-jitsu.
There is an obvious distinction in the end syllable. The Japanese expression “jitsu” is usually translated with “art”, whereas “do” means “way”, the way of life. The last expression includes a far more philosophical aspect or background, several virtues and rules for the daily life and the treatment of other beings. Actually it is a copy from the Chinese “tao”, which has exactly the same meaning and was defined by Lao-tse. The founder of shotokan, the most common style of karate-do, once told his students: “ Do not be in the error to believe that karate-do takes only place in the dojo.” Every single kind of Japanese art ending with this certain syllable contains this aspects, it does not even have to be any one related with fighting. Other examples would be the tea ceremony, the art of writing or floristic work. This syllable also shows the connection with zen-buddhism, which is the reason for the special popularity of the Asian styles. There have always been unarmed fighting systems in all parts of the world, either for self defense or ceremonial purposes, but only the development to an art, a way of living your life, is responsible for the increased popularity of the Asian ones compared to others. The European Greco-Roman wrestling style for instance is relatively unknown in the rest of the world.
The most essential virtues were also defined by Kano. Those are: politeness, courage, sincerity, honour, modesty, respect and self-control. According to him, the previous meaning of jiu-jitsu has undergone a change in his form, from a system only serving the personal self defense to a way which benefits the whole human body as well as the spirit.
3. Uniform, ranks and grades
Achievement in Judo is recognized by a series of ranks. The student ranks are called kyu and are usually differentiated by colored belts . Different colors may be used around the world and in some countries there are more than 6 kyu ranks. The ten black belt, or expert, ranks are called dan. The traditional Judo kyu ranks are:
English Japanese Colour
6th grade rokyu white
5th grade gokyu yellow
4th grade yonkyu orange
3rd grade sankyu green
2nd grade nikyu blue
1st grade ikkyu brown
In the time before Kano created Judo, there was no kyu/dan ranking system in the martial arts. A more traditional method of recognizing achievement was the presentation of certain certificates or scrolls, often with the secrets of the school or style inscribed. Kano started the modern rank system when he awarded the first dan to two of his senior students in 1883. Even then, there was no external differentiation between black belt ranks and those who hadn’t yet attained black belt ranking.
Kano apparently began the custom of having his more skilled students wear black belts in 1886. These ones weren’t the belts karateka and judoka wear today — Kano hadn’t invented the Judo uniform yet. In 1907, Kano introduced the modern judogi with its modern belt, and he still only used white or black belts. The white uniform represented the values of purity, avoidance of ego, and simplicity. It gave no outward indication of social class so that all students began as equals. The black belt with the white judogi represents the polarity of opposites, or In and Yo . These two words are a term that often appears in the Asian literature, better known under the Chinese name “ yin and yang” that goes together with the world famous symbol of the circle which contains the colours black and white in form of a helix. It is quite difficult to see, but the original image showed a black and a white fish hunting eachother. These fishes are a pair of opposites that symbolizes everything: Day and night, dark and light, emptiness and fulfilment. The student begins empty, but fills up with knowledge.
Professor Kano was an educator and used a hierarchy in setting learning objectives for Judo students, just as students typically pass from one grade to another in the public school system. The Judo rank system represents a progression of learning with a syllabus and a corresponding grade indicating an individual’s level of proficiency. Earning a black belt is like graduating from high school or college. It indicates you have achieved a basic level of proficiency, learned the fundamental skills and can perform them in a functional manner, and you are now ready to pursue Judo on a more serious and advanced level as a professional or a person seeking an advanced degree would. Of course, the rankings also represent progress towards the ultimate objective of judo which is to improve the self not just physically, but morally as well.
In 1926, the Kodokan created new belts to recognize the special achievements of high ranking black belts. Jigoro Kano chose to recognize sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth degree black belts with a special beltmade of alternating red and white panels . It is said that the white color was chosen for purity, and red for the intense desire to train and the sacrifices made. The colors red and white are an enduring symbol of Japan, and they have been used in Judo since Jigoro Kano started the first Red and White Tournament in 1884. This type of belt is often worn for special occasions, but it is not required to be worn and the black belt remains the standard that unites all the master ranks. Nowadays, the 9th and 10th master degree are completely red.
The officially designated belts for Kodokan Judo owners of master degrees are now:
1st degree black
2nd degree black
3rd degree black
4th degree black
5th degree black
6th degree red/white
7th degree red/white
8th degree red/white
9th degree red
10th degree red
Theoretically the Judo rank system is not limited to 10 degrees of black belt. Kano once said: “There is no limit…on the grade one can receive. Therefore if one does reach a stage above 10th dan… there is no reason why he should not be promoted to 11th dan.” However, since there has never been any promotion to a rank above 10th dan, the Kodokan Judo promotion system effectively has only 10 steps.
Other colored belts for students who had not yet achieved black belt originated later, when Judo began being practiced outside of Japan. Mikonosuke Kawaishi is generally regarded as the first to introduce various colored belts in Europe in 1935 when he started to teach Judo in Paris. He felt that western students would show greater progress if they had a visible system of many colored belts recognizing achievement and providing regular incentives. This system included white, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple belts before the more traditional brown and black belts. This form of motivation is unique for the martial arts, it prevents students from giving up because there is always the next visible(!) goal to reach. Especially younger children are encouraged and motivated through this form of reward, due to the simplicity of the first belt tests.
The Judo practice uniform and belt system eventually spread to many of the other modern martial arts, such as aikido and karate, which adapted them for their purpose. Karateka in Okinawa didn’t use any sort of special uniform at all in the old days. The kyu/dan ranking system, and the modern karate uniform were first adopted by Funakoshi ( founder of Shotokan; mentioned in 2.3 line 11) in an effort to encourage the acceptance of karate by the Japanese. If you look at photographs of Okinawan karateka training in the early part of the 20th century, you’ll see that they were training in their everyday clothes. In some modern styles there are big differences concerning the colours. Some of them use for instance stripes on the master degrees, one for every grade, like in the Corean Chun Kuk Do, founded by Chuck Norris.
Promotion requirements for each rank vare differently according to the master, school, and the national organization. There is no worldwide standard for requirements for each rank, although it is generally accepted that a black belt holder has had many years of practice and can demonstrate at least the nage-no-kata (pre-arranged form of the 15 basic throwing techniques), the gokyo-no-waza ( a form of classification in 5 groups) and the newaza( techniques that are executed in a position on the ground) techniques.
3.2 The jacket and trousers
The original jackets and trousers used in the Japanese martial arts were completely white. At the very beginning they consisted of unbleached cotton. Over the years the length of the pants and sleeves grew longer, changes were made in the material and fit, the traditional unbleached cotton is now a bleached white, and blue judogi have become available, but today they are still very close to the same practice uniform used 100 years ago.
The main difference is the introduction of the international standardized blue judogi, which has to be worn in order to guarantee an easier distinction in competition. On tournaments, especially bigger ones where it is necessary to have several mat areas, the fighters are usually called by announces through speakers. In general the participant whose name is called first has to wear a blue judogi, the other one the white one. Due to this conditions every single judoka must have at least 2 judogis of different colours, but there are also versions with a blue surface inside and a white outside, so that it can be turned.
Japanese practitioners and traditionalists tend to look down on the use of blue because of the fact that Judo is considered a pure sport, and the replacing the pure white jūdōgi for the blue, is considered to be an offence. For events organized under the auspices of the International Judo Federation (IJF), jūdōgi have to bear the IJF Official Logo Mark Label. This label demonstrates that the jacket has passed a number of quality control tests to ensure it conforms to construction regulations ensuring it is not too stiff, flexible, rigid or slippery to allow the opponent to grip or to perform techniques.
The rules concerning the uniform are extremely strict . They define:
• the form of material that can be used (cotton or something similar)
• how many space on the jacket/trousers can be used to place advertisement
• the length of the trousers and sleeves to guarantee an effective grip
• the weight
• the overall look (no stains etc)
The wearing of a uniform which is not in conformity with the international standards can lead to immediate disqualification. In this case the disqualification would be valid for the whole duration of the competition instead of only one single fight.
4. Competitive Judo
4.1 History of competitive Judo
The contest is an essential part of modern martial arts, especially judo. What is nearly unique about this sport compared to others is the fact that there are hardly any different styles within it. In karate for instance, hundreds of schools developed over the years. The consequence was that some of them, namely the more traditional ones, tended to abolish competition completely. Original karate, founded at the end of the 19th century at the Japanese island Okinawa, did not even include this idea, the only purpose was self defense. On contrary, judo had , from the very beginning, hardly any aspects of self defense, it became more a sport than an art. Early examples include the Kodokan Monthly Tournament and the biannual Red and White Tournament, both started in 1884 and continue to the present day.
In 1899 the first formal set of rules for Judo contests were written down. Wins were by two ippons, awarded for throwing the opponent onto his back, by pinning them on their back for a “sufficient” amount of time or by submission. Submissions could be achieved via a chokehold or a leverhold. Finger, toe and ankle locks were prohibited. In 1900, these rules were adopted by the Kodokan with amendments made to prohibit all joint locks for kyu grades and added wrist locks to the prohibited leverholds for dan grades.
The All-Japan Judo Championships were first held in 1930 and have been held every year since then, with the exception between 1941 and 1948 during World War II, and continue to be the most popular tournament in Japan, beside the Kano Cup.
In 1980, women championships were introduce, which took place on alternate years to the Men’s Championships. The championships were combined in 1987 to create an event that takes place annually, except for the years in which Olympic games are held. Participation has steadily increased.
The first time judo was seen in the Olympic Games was in an informal demonstration hosted by Kano in 1932. The founder himself was sceptical about the idea of adding his art to the list of Olympic sports, what finally happened in 1964 (for men) and 1988 for women. In the same year, it also became a Paralympic sport ( for the visually impaired); it is also one of the sports of the Special Olympics.
4.2 Current international contest rules
The traditional rules of judo are intended to provide a surrounding in which the participants are given the possibility to show their skills without being forced to face serious injury. Additionally, the rules are also intended to guarantee proper etiquette.
Penalties may be given for being extraordinary inactive during the match, or for the use of banned techniques. Fighting must be stopped if one or both participant is outside the designated area on the mat. If the referee and the 2 judges need to discuss something during groundwork, the referee can call sono-mama (“do not move”)and both fighters must stop in the position they are in. When they are done, the referee says yoshi and the match continues.
The international standardized competition rules are often discussed and changed. The last significant reform took place in 2009, when the safety area around the mat was abolished as well as the lowest possible score. Additionally, another group of techniques was banned.
All scores and penalties are given by the referee. The judges can make a decision that changes the score or penalty given by the referee.
There are slight differences to IJF rules to accommodate blind judo. In general, the main difference is the fact that in this special form, both participants grab eachother BEFORE the actual match starts so that they are able to feel where their opponent is standing at the moment. Of course, it also includes the lack of certain techniques.
4.3 Competition scoring
After the just mentioned abolishing of the lowest score, there are 3 left. The highest one is called ippon, followed by wazaari and yuko.
Ippon is the highest of all reachable scores. It leads to the immediate end of the fight, the person who gets it is the winner. There are several possibilities how it can be scored:
• The execution of a throw that places the opponent on his back with impetus and control
• The use of a pin lasting for 25 seconds
• Any kind of successful submission technique
• Two wazaari add up to one ippon
• The disqualification of the opponent
To judge an action with wazaari, the following criterions have to be fulfilled:
• The lack of another criterion for ippon
A throw that places the opponent onto his side scores yuko No amount of yukos equal a waza-ari, they are only considered in the event of an otherwise tied contest.
The first penalty includes no negative consequences for the fighter affected, is only a warning which is noted on the scoreboard. The second penalty is scored as “yuko” for the opponent. The third one is scored as “waza-ari”. The fourth penalty is called hansoku make,and is scored as an ippon for the opponent. With a hansoku make the match ends permanently. One can also get a direct hansoku make for serious rule violations. In this case, the player who got it is disqualified from the tournament.
The direct form of disqualification is only given by the referee and the judges if an extreme form of neglecting of the rules, mostly in connection with endangering of the opponent or both is commited. Examples therefore are:
• The execution of a leverhold on another joint apart from the elbow
• The use of techniques that might cause serious damage on the opponent’s neck or spine
• To try a technique at the exterior of the mat
• Any kind of action that stands in contrary to the spirit of judo ( offensive behavior against the opponent/ referee)
4.4 Weight and age divisions
4.4.1 Weight divisions
There are currently seven weight divisions, subject to change by governing bodies, and may be modified based on the age of the competitors. In many kinds of martial arts, there are no weight divisions at all due to the lack of necessarity, or at least very few. There is no visible argument why they should be established in sports like boxing, karate or taekwondo, as they mainly consist of striking techniques. When it comes to grappling, it seems obvious that it is extremely unfair to allow two sportsmen with an enormous difference weight to fight eachother.
In children and youth competition there are more than seven divisions, due to the lack of strength to handle with this kind of weight, caused by the natural development.
In case of a lack of opponents, it is possible to compete in the next higher division, a decision, which should be discussed between fighter and coach intensively. The same system is valid for the case of a lack of participants of one’s sex in his or her weight division. If a boy/girl decides voluntarily that it does not matter to him or her, he or she is allowed to
participate in the other group under those circumstances. Nevertheless, this special rule is not claimed very often, especially by females, because of the different relation between body weight and muscle mass which advantages men.
4.4.2 Age divisions
The valid age divisions are very similar to those in other types of sport, like soccer or swimming. Just like the weight divisions, they have the purpose to guarantee a fair kind of fight, considering the mental development of younger children. Additionally, they are a tool of safety: They enable the restriction of the use of submission holds concerning younger children. On contrary to the weight divisions, these restrictions differ from country to country and are not internationally standardized.
In Austria for instance, the execution of chokeholds is forbidden until the age group “ under 15” is reached. Only a few kilometres next to it, in Hungary, those techniques are legal from the age group “under 13” on.
The reason why submission holds are restricted for the younger ones is the physical and mental development. Children of that age are not able to estimate their strength in a sufficient way , which could lead to horrible consequences, especially when it comes to choking techniques. Their neck muscles are not strong enough either to endure such pressure.In Japan, 114 child judo deaths have been reported in a 27-year period between 1983 and 2010. Adult competitive judo has a higher incidence of injuries compared to non-collision or non-contact ball-sports for example, but similar to other competitive contact sports.
There are three basic categories of techniques: Throwing (nage waza) , grappling (katame waza) and striking techniques ( atemi waza). Judo is most known for nage-waza and katame-waza.
Judo practitioners typically devote a portion of each practice session to break-falls (ukemi), in order that throwing techniques can be practiced without significant risk of injury. Several distinct types of break-falls exist, including rear; side; front breakfalls and several kinds of rolling ones. In general, the ukemi-waza are the fundamental part of the very first lessons. This circumstance is essential, especially for children, the earlier they learn and automate those moves, the better safety can be guaranteed. Another benefit is the indirect strenghtening of the back muscles and the taking of the fear of falling.
The person who performs a technique is known as tori and the person to whom it is performed is known as uke .
5.1 Throwing techniques ( Nage waza)
Nage waza include all techniques in which the attacker attempts to throw or trip the defender, usually with the aim of placing him on his back. The principle of throwing techniques is based on the destabilization of the opponent, if possible by exploiting the impulse of his own moves. Afterwards he is brought to fall, either by sweeping, lifting him up or taking the opportunity for hi to find a possibility to stand. Each technique consists of three distinct stages:
• Kuzushi, the initial balance break;
• Tsukuri, the act of turning in and fitting into the throw
• Kake , the execution and completion of the throw.
Throwing techniques are typically drilled by the use of repeated turning-in, taking the throw up to the point of the execution.
Traditionally, nage waza are further categorised into tachi-waza (standing techniques), throws that are performed with the maintainance of a standing position, and sutemi-waza (sacrifice techniques), throws in which this position is given up in order to throw the defender. There are 2 types of them: rear and side sacrifice techniques.
Tachi-waza are further subdivided into hand techniques, in which the attacker predominantly uses his arms to throw the opponent; hip techniques) throws that predominantly use a lifting motion from the hips; and foot and leg techniques, throws in which the legs are the most important tool.
throwing techniques Tachi-waza
standing techniques Te-waza
foot and leg techniques
sacrifice techniques Ma-sutemi-waza
rear sacrifice techniques
side sacrifice techniques
5.2 Grappling techniques (Katame waza)
Those techniques are further categorised into holding techniques, in which tori traps and pins uke on his back on the floor; strangulation techniques, in which tori attempts to force a submission by choking or strangling uke; and joint techniques or leverholds, in which tori attempts to submit uke by painful manipulation of his joints.A related concept is that of prone techniques, in which the moves are applied from a non-standing position.
grappling techniques Osaekomi-waza
holding or pinning techniques
Joint techniques (locks)
5.2.1 Holding techniques (Osaekomi-waza)
Using these techniques, it is possible to fix the opponent on the ground, placing him on his back. Probably they were not an invention of the samurai, because the use of them in a battle would be useless on the one hand, and dangerous on the other hand. In case of a duel they could be an useful tool to control your opponent or enemy without being forced to cause serious damage. If executed well, it is very difficult and exhausting to get out, even with the help oft he specific liberation techniques. The reason therefore ist he fact that in most cases these attacks can be avoided with a simple shifting of weight. The upper position is, concerning pins, always the superior one.
Osaekomi-waza are subdivided into four groups: control from
• the side of the head
• the side oft he body
• control in form of a sash
5.2.2 Joint locks (Kansetsu-waza)
In judo only leverholds that attack the elbow are legal, due to the characteristics of this joint; it ist he most sensitive one oft he human body. Controlled pressure is put on the joint, the opponent is fixed at the same time. The movement against the anatomically designated direction causes a sharp pain, which forces the opponent to submit. The submission is signalized through a so called „ tap out“, the fighter hits the mat twice or more times with his hands; or he just shouts „Stop!“ in case he finds himself in a position where he is unable to move.
Two types of leverholds are distinguished: firstly the stretch leverholds (gatame), secondly the bend leverholds (garami).
Joint locks against other joints ( wrist, knee,…) are partly included in certain katas, with the purpose of a pure self defense technique. They can be practised without any risk under controlled conditions during a training. Despite sounding dangerous, this technique group causes relatively few injuries.Leverholds are among the most useful forms of self defense, especially concerning disarming, and usually used by the police as transport holds.
5.2.3 Chokeholds or strangulation techniques (Shime-waza)
The target of a chokehold can either be the carotid artery, which runs on both sides oft he larynx, or in rare cases the trachea itself. Direct attacks on the larynx, the choking with bare hands and the use oft he belt are strictly forbidden and considered serious rule violations which lead to disqualification.
An attack on the carotid artery causes difficulties concerning the blood circulation, the brain lacks oxygen. A consequence of this lack can be unconsciousness after 8-14 seconds.
The minority of shime-waza is very likely to have a lethal function, as long as the trachea is not influenced. On contrary to the attacks which focus on the carotid, the others are executed by the use oft he forearm instead of the opponent’s collar. Those are not the parts oft he body that can be used. Aditionally, there are techniques for the legs, the side of the hands and the middle thumb joints as well. Chokeholds are, beside nerve point pressure, one of t he best ways to defend yourself against a physically stronger and heavier person.
5.3 Unrecognized and forbidden/ banned techniques
From the very beginning, there have been created several systems of division. Techniques were divided into different groups, katas or systems.
5.3.1 The system of gokyo
The gokyo-system contains the 40 traditional throws of judo, divided into 5 groups of 8 techniques. The first group consists of the easiest ones, ascending tot he most difficult in group 5. In classical judo, the groups corresponded to the 5 student grades. If somebody wanted to pass a belt test, he had to show that he could execute the necessary group. Nowadays, this method is not common anymore concerning the student grades, a replacement by the kyu-system had been made. Nevertheless it has not lost its importance in connection with the master grades, at the first one the whole gokyo hast o be shown.
Due to the 100th anniversary of the Kodokan, another group of 8 traditional throws was added in 1982 ( those had been displaced in 1920). At the same time, 17 newer techniques were recognized as official Kodokan-throws.
5.3.2 Unrecognized techniques
From time to time, new techniques or variations are invented, mainly by competitors as a reaction to a lack of possibilities of defense against a certain kind of attack.Despite being allowed, these new ones do not belong to the recognized techniques of the Kodokan. Professional athletes tend to develope their own special moves that can be used as a tool of surprise.
Because of this continous development there can never exist an exact list which contains every single technique.The unrecognized moves are partly a part of the test programme for several grades.
One of the most popular examples was invented in Great Britain and is therefore simply called „the English pin”. This pin ist he usual combination technique that goes along with a side armbar. If the opponent manages to grab his own collar or arm so strongly that an opening seems impossible, the fighter can use this move in order to pin him. The English pin is one of the most effective pins in general, due to the possibility to take control of an arm, the upper body and both legs. The logical reaction oft he opponent would be the liberation of the previously attacked arm to get out. So the point when the trap closes is reached: If he quits grabbing his clothes, the armbar is executed and he loses by submission. In the other case, the match is lost by pin.
The English pin
5.3.3 Forbidden/banned techniques
It is necessary to distinguish between generally forbidden and banned techniques. The first ones mentioned do not even exist in this sport, for instance all kinds of joint locks that affect any joint apart from the elbow. A banned technique is not allowed as well, but in this case it only concerns the execution in competition. The conservation of banned moves is one reason for the creation of certain katas. On the one hand a relatively safe fight can be guaranteed, on the other hand those, partly extremely old, moves will not get lost and forgotten forever.
The majority of recognized techniques is legal, nevertheless there is a small part that is strictly forbidden.
The probably most popular example is kani-basami (crab-scissor). This attack actually does not fit into the general image of judo, because of the fact that it involves jumping as one of very few techniques. Additionally, it belongs to the group of leg scissors, and is its only representative in the whole sport. In previous years, this move was an extremely used technique, but later banned due to the risk for the knee. In nearly all related arts, kani-basami is totally legal and often used in competition. Concerning self defense, the use would not be recommendable, the movement finally leads into a stalemate on the ground.
The last significant ban took place in 2009 when the group of ashi-dori ( techniques that involve the grabbing of a leg) was partly forbidden. The reason was a return to the roots that was planned by the IJF (International Judo Federation). In the years before, there had been a remarkable tendency tot he use of such moves. Therefore, the fights looked very similar to wrestling, the main point oft he discussion was the lack oft he traditional form of grabbing: One hand at the collar right under the clavicle, the other hand at the forearm in front oft he elbow. The common disregard of this form led to massive reforms. The actual internationally recognized rule says that those moves are only allowed:
• In combinations
• When you are pressed down by your opponent
Ashi-dori are probably not a product of judo. It is believed that those were originally moves that were taken from the Greco-Roman wrestling style and just given another name. This would not be unusual among martial arts, the involving of other techniques is a common method.
In this context, the pre-arranged form of techniques also has to be mentioned. Those forms are an essential part of the martial arts, and unique for the Asian ones. At the very beginning, before the idea of free fight and competition was born, katas were the only way of practicing. In contrary to free practicing, every single step is fixed, it is unchangeable.
Judo kata are pre-arranged sequences of moves which serve the conveying of principles. In some martial arts, katas are practiced all alone. In judo, they are generally executed with a partner, with only one exception. For the achievement of master grade 1-6, the canditate always has to show one to two forms in the test. The first ones, for example nage- or katame-no-kata, are only sequences of certain techniques, including slight differences in execution comparing to the use in competition.
The katas that are required for higher grades, for instance the form of the 5 laws of nature (itsutsu-no-kata), symbolize the principles of judo, such as gentleness or the positive and negative force.
Nearly all katas have their origin in the late 19th century, and were created by Kano Jigoro, the founder of judo.Judo kata preserve a number of techniques that are not permitted in competition or in randori, including punches, kicks, and the use of different kinds of weapons ( stick, knife, sword, gun). The most commonly studied judo kata is Nage-no-kata, which consists of the fifteen basic throwing techniques.
• Ijf Judo Magazine Nr 2/2010
• Handbuch „Dan-Prüfungsordnung des Österreichischen Judo Verbandes für den 1. bis 6. Dan“ von ÖJV
• „Prüfungsprogramm 6.-1. Kyu“ von ÖJV
• „Ju-jutsu kompakt für Kinder und Jugendliche“ von Michael Korn
• „Östliche Weisheit“ von Priya Hemenway
• „Karate-do, Mein Weg“ von Gichin Funakoshi