Training members of a judo dojo

Published on March 14th, 2014 | by Joe Starks

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Exercise Spotlight: Judo

Judo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. It is a Japanese sport that was born from the earlier art of Jujitsu, which was all about fighting others and defending yourself by using your body alone. It was Dr. Jigoro Kano who first invented Judo as it is. He chose the best techniques of Jujitsu and created Kodokan Judo. The word Judo means “the gentle way”, since the basic philosophy of the sport is to be flexible and calm. In 1964 Judo became an Olympic sport and since then its popularity has soared worldwide.

Training for Judo

Judo is an extremely hard sport to train for, because it demands very high skills from its athletes. One has to be equally strong, agile and fast to be able to compete properly in Judo. It is a medium to high impact sport and should not be attempted by people who are ill or the elderly.

To be strong in Judo you need power, which is a combination of strength and speed. Basic weight lifting exercises should be always part of a Judoka’s regime. To turn strength into power you also need to do exercises that have you move weights dynamically, like throwing medicine balls and swinging kettle bells.

In Judo you also need good cardio fitness, since training sessions can last for hours. You should be able to train for over 2.5 hours to be considered fit enough for Judo. Simple running, jogging or even brisk walking can raise your aerobic fitness steadily. When you have reached a certain level of fitness you then begin doing rope skipping and more taxing aerobic exercises.

The most important part of the training is the learning of techniques, which follows all the conditioning. Once you are powerful and agile enough for the techniques, your Judo coach (or master) will steadily show you how to perform take downs, defenses and attacks. Remember to take things slowly, as you can get injured if you do techniques without being skilled in them. Repetition and a good sparring partner are very important for your body to learn those techniques. You should be able to perform them instinctively once you have mastered them.

Benefits of Judo

Judo is not as high impact as most other martial arts, since it doesn’t rely on punches and kicks. In Judo you simply try to grip your opponent and throw him to the ground. This is still too dangerous for people with brittle bones and weak constitutions. Still, Judo is a great sport for children over 6 years old. Children should always learn and compete with other children and have a good coach to protect them from any harm.

Judo is quite a good sport for adults too. Women especially learn Judo as a form of self defense in many countries. In some countries Judo is part of the training of Policemen and women. It can be very useful to know how to avoid and twist an opponent away from your swiftly. This makes Judo actually a very practical martial art.

Judo trains you both aerobically and anaerobically, providing you with whole body training. If you train properly you will enjoy an excellent physique and a very balanced musculature growth.

The agility training of Judo is also very good for people to be less clumsy. This can be very important for children that have to learn early on how to do more refined and controlled movement. People who learn early on how to coordinate their movements properly are more agile and less clumsy than average when they are adults.

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