What’s In a Name? Distinguishing Judo From Its Sister Arts

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Judo originates from the Japanese martial art jujutsu. Judo itself would later give rise to many variants, including Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Despite their common origins, however, each of the different martial arts derived from jujutsu varies in fundamental ways.

In many ways, judo and its descendant sports bear the hallmark of their progenitor art. Jujutsu had its origins in the constant fighting in Feudal Japan. The grapples and throws were among the most effective ways that Samurai warriors could pin down and incapacitate an armed or armored opponent without relying on a weapon.

Judo represents a refinement of these original techniques, relying on turning the opponent’s own force and momentum against them. Much like its predecessors, judo also focused on getting the opponent pinned down, with the understanding that the battle is over once the opponent is on the ground. This makes judo an excellent martial art to learn for self-defense and can be practiced largely noncompetitively.

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The sport aspect of judo was later intensified in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which focused heavily on achieving victory over an opponent and using every move to that end. Throws are worth points based on execution but do not finish the battle. Unlike judo, where fighters must stand back up when no fighters can remain on the ground until a submission hold is accomplished.

As a result, it is far more competitive than its predecessor and can be more prone to injury, although observers would note that it looks remarkably less violent than the faster-paced Judo.

Peter Spennato has spent years training in judo and Korean Tang Soo Doo. For more updates on martial arts and the disciplines associated with them, visit this blog.


Fundamental Judo: The Concept Of Seiryoku-Zenyo

Most Asian martial arts, including Judo, are heavy in technical and theoretical principles of practice. In Asia, martial arts is more than just a physical activity. It is inextricable from moral and spiritual dimensions.

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Practitioners of judo have trained under the concept of Seiryoku-Zenyo, or the maximum and efficient use of energy. It is the good or proper use of the mind and body. This watchword or slogan is operated by the Japanese word “zen,” which means good that overcomes evil. “Seiryoku” is a two-character Japanese word that came from the words “sei” for spirit and “ryoku” for force. Seiryoku-Zenyo applies to different types of endeavors, and it helps a person fully utilize physical and spiritual energies for a unique purpose.

Judo is a martial art that uses the motion and momentum of the opponent to apply power, such that the “weaker” fighter can beat the “stronger” one. It is also an attack and defense martial art where practitioners can apply their learnings even outside of the dojo.

Sport - 2014 Commonwealth Games - Day Two
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This concept of maximum efficiency or Seiryoku-Zenyo teaches Judo practitioners the value of fighting within one’s means, and not with the express aim of overpowering an opponent.

Dr. Peter Spennato is a martial arts instructor with decades of training in Judo and Korean Tang Soo Doo. He is also an expert in handling firearms and has trained under the industry’s finest teachers. Learn more about martial arts and self-defense by visiting this page.