What is Judo?

Kayla Harrison of US, in white, fights with Vera Moskalyuk of Russia during the women's under 78 kg category final match at the World Cup Judo tournament in Budapest, Hungary, February 12, 2012.Kayla Harrison of US, in white, fights with Vera Moskalyuk of Russia during the women's under 78 kg category final match at the World Cup Judo tournament in Budapest, Hungary, February 12, 2012.
x
Kayla Harrison of US, in white, fights with Vera Moskalyuk of Russia during the women's under 78 kg category final match at the World Cup Judo tournament in Budapest, Hungary, February 12, 2012.
Kayla Harrison of US, in white, fights with Vera Moskalyuk of Russia during the women's under 78 kg category final match at the World Cup Judo tournament in Budapest, Hungary, February 12, 2012.
Carla Babb
Judo, which means "gentle way" in Japanese, is a martial art created in Japan by Jigoro Kano in 1882.  It was derived from the ancient techniques of jiu-jitsu.  It is the most widely-practiced martial art in the world, and the second-most practiced sport worldwide behind soccer.  The combat sport develops self-discipline and lays its foundation on respect for one's self and others.

Judo joins taekwondo as the only Asian martial art sports included in the Olympic Games.  Men's judo debuted in the Olympics in 1964, and women's judo followed in 1992.

A judo match takes place on a mat with three referees officiating.  The objective is to score an ippon, one full point, which can be achieved in four ways and immediately ends the match.  One way is by pinning the opponent on the back, maintaining control of the head and shoulder for 25 seconds.  Another way to win is by arm lock, applying pressure directly on the elbow of a straight arm or twisting an arm bent at a right angle until the opponent submits.  A third way to win is by choke, applying pressure to the sides of the opponent's neck, but not the windpipe, until the opponent gives in.  The final way to achieve an ippon is by throwing an opponent so that the landing is hard on the back.

If no ippon occurs, athletes can win by penalties or showing control over the opponent.  Referees give penalties for stepping out of bounds, stalling, taunting and performing dangerous acts.

Athletes can show control by remaining on the offensive.  Points are earned for waza-aris or yukos.  A waza-ari, or half-point, is earned by a near-perfect throw or by holding an opponent down for 20 seconds.  Two waza-aris are scored the same as an ippon and ends the match.  

Yukos are lesser degrees of throws and holds and cannot end a match, no matter how many are achieved.  Without an ippon or two waza-aris, Olympic judo matches last five minutes.  That might not sound like a long time, but USA Judo official Ernest Pund says it can feel like "an eternity" to athletes.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs