What is Judo?
Judo, which is translated the “gentle way”, teaches the principle of flexibility in the application of technique. This is the flexible or efficient use of balance, leverage and movement in the performance of Judo throws and other skills. In Judo there are no kicking, punching, striking or application of pressure against the joints to throw an opponent.
Skill, technique and timing, rather than use of brute strength, are the essential ingredients for success in Judo. For example, in Judo classes you may learn how to give way, rather than use force, to overcome a stronger opponent.
The principles of Judo, such as “Maximum Efficiency” and “Mutual Welfare and Benefit”, can also be used in our dealings with others en life.
The ultimate goal in Judo is to develop oneself to the maximum extent possible, always striving for perfection, so that you can contribute something of value to the world.
Judo combines techniques of Jiu-jitsu, karate, wrestling and its own highly perfected techniques. It uses the hands, arms, body, legs and feet to defeat an opponent.
Judo techniques do not reject strength as long as it is efficiently applied in a highly controlled manner. The application of strength as used in Judo is multiplied in effectiveness to point where a weaker opponent of Judo can beat a larger and stronger opponent.
The Physical and Intellectual benefits of Judo…..
by Dr. David van Niekerk
Judo as an international sport knows no boundaries, and as such is contributing to friendship and peace among nations. As a sport, Judo distinguishes itself as a form of discipline and respect that underlines its spirit. Through this spirit the emotional, social and intellectual development of participants runs parallel to the physical achievement of the Judo player.
As a constructive and systematic sport, Judo develops the intelligence of the Judoka. Although the concept of intelligence is very wide (e.g. social, creative, physical) it is certain that the basis of all intelligence is perceptual-motor, as it is through our senses that we discover knowledge.
As a perceptual-motor activity, Judo is a martial arts that can be an aid to children with learning disabilities. To illustrate this concept, one has to look at some important perceptual motor functions and their bearing on scholastic achievements:
This aspect is not only a first principle in Judo but also a very important aspect of childhood development. A child who still has problems with balance when entering primary school will most probably develop one form or another of learning disability.
The child who, because of a balance problem, is unsure of his body midline and will normally have problems with left-right orientation, which is a crucial shell in school, as reading and writing are done from left to right (N.B.: reversals in reading and writing).
It is surprising that in this day and age there are still a large number of children and adults who are not sure which hand to write with. A child with this problem will often reverse numbers, letters and words and develop illegible handwriting. In the various Judo techniques the child will soon internalise the concept of left and right and will quickly find out which is his stronger side.
Body Scheme and Image:
The child not only discovers the workings of his own body parts but also transfers his knowledge to the body of the body of his Uke (opponent). This is a very important milestone in the development of spatial orientation (which is basically a mathematical concept).
Gross Motor Co-Ordination:
The various, often very complicated movements that the Judoka has to master cannot take place without excellent body control. The immediate effect of these activities is motor strength, but on a higher level they affect body posture (self-image), and form the gateway to many other perceptual-motor as well as conceptual achievements.
Fine Motor Control:
Through the discovery of his dominant (strong) side, the Judoka strengthens his hand muscles, which in turn lead to better handwriting and writing endurance. (It must be remembered that the pupil at school is mostly judged on his written work).
Spatial Orientation and Directionality:
A majority of learning disabilities can be ascribed to dysfunctions in this area. Mathematics is not only a spatial science but also the perception of forms in reading and writing. A child who has a spatial problem will have difficulty in distinguishing between p, b and d. Reversals in reading and writing can then become common. It is, then, in this very important area that Judo techniques are of the utmost value. One should just try to visualize techniques such as the inner-thigh reaping throw, rear body drop throws, rice-bag reversals, back fall reversal and many more to understand the extent to which spatial concepts must be mastered. Perceptual-motor development in Judo does not remain on a perceptual level only. Perception is just the first stage to conceptual (intellectual) development. There are also many emotional parallels that can be drawn, e.g. a person who is well balance; a person who is disoriented; a person who has no direction in life.
In Summary: Judo develops the whole person through play, discipline, respect and discovering oneself in one’s opponent, and as such will lead to happier and better-adjusted individuals.