While in lovely CA I had the opportunity to watch my friend Brian win his weight class in the National Collegiate Judo Championships for the second year in a row. This was my first Judo competition and honestly it made me want to go play on the mats! Brian won all three of his matches quite swiftly throwing each opponent.
Judo (gentle way) is a Japanese martial art founded in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. The object is to either throw or takedown your opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue with a grappling maneuver, or force your opponent to submit by joint locking or by executing a strangle hold or choke. I am a fan of chokes 🙂
I watched both men and women complete in blue and white uniforms–many with USA on their backs. I learned that Judo practitioners traditionally wear white uniforms called judogi (gi), that were created by Kano in 1907. Similar uniforms were later adopted by many other martial art forms. The judogi jacket is much thicker than that of a karate uniform because it is intended to withstand grappling. Now practitioners in high level competitions wear either a white or a blue judogi for ease of distinction by judges etc.
I also found it interesting that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has its roots in Judo. In 1914 judo was introduced to Brazil by Mitsuyo Maeda, a judo expert and prizefighter. Maeda started teaching Carlos Gracie (1902–1994) when he was 14. Eventually Carlos and his younger brother Hélio Gracie, founded Gracie Jiu-Jitsu now Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Here is Brian’s last match of the competition…