"It is no easy feat to throw another person cleanly to their back with precision and control. The judo player must leverage the opponent’s momentum and timing with proper technique and mental focus."
In the battlefields of feudal Japan, samurai begat the art of jujutsu-effective hand-to-hand combat techniques. Father of Judo, Jigoro Kano, adopted and further developed these techniques to promote physical, mental, and some would argue, spiritual strength for its practitioners. In time, Judo has evolved into a combat and Olympic sport many people around the world enjoy.
Judo is more than a collection of amazing throws, more than an Olympic sport that is practiced by over 20 million people around the world: it is the philosophy of seiryoku zenyo (精力善用), or “maximum efficiency, minimum effort”. This underlying principle explains the judo player’s desire to use their adversary’s strength to his or her advantage while reducing the need to match their aggression. This can also apply to the fighter’s desire to end the fight quickly and efficiently. Judo is the art of ippon.
In the judo ruleset, the most definitive way to finish the contest is with an ippon, directly translated to English as “one full point”. An ippon is obtained is by throwing your opponent to their back with force and control. There are other ways-forcing the opponent to submit, or pinning the opponent’s shoulders to the mat for 20 consecutive seconds-but most common and celebrated ippons in judo are by throws.
It is no easy feat to throw another person cleanly to their back with precision and control. The judo player must leverage the opponent’s momentum and timing with proper technique and mental focus. It requires hours of practice to compromise the opponent’s balance for a split second, followed by explosive action. Hours of studying and preparation, culminating in a single moment. The player would gladly practice ten thousand hours to live in this moment. This is it.
Cultivation of this laser focus is the art and labor of judo. This is why the player gladly puts the gi on, ties their belt, and steps on to the mat time after time. One throw at a time in one moment in time for one full point.