Judo – The Gentle Way
“Maximum efficiency, minimum effort and gentleness controls hardness.”
The word judo consists of two Japanese characters, “ju”, which means “gentle”, and “do”, which means “the way”. Judo, therefore, literally means the “the gentle way”.
The primary principle in Judo is that resisting a more powerful opponent will result in your defeat, whilst adjusting to and evading your opponent’s attack will cause him to lose his balance, his power will be reduced, and you can control him.
This can apply whatever the relative values of power, thus making it possible for weaker opponents to control significantly stronger ones.
“This is one of the many reasons why I encourage both my boys to participate in judo classes. Whilst one is very sporty and eagerly attends my Judo classes the other one is keener on art and books and is naturally more inclined to these pursuits than Judo. I believe that judo will benefit both boys physically and emotionally. As we all know, physical exercise is essential for children – not just for health reasons, but because it supports the further development of intelligence by means of all the perceptual-motion activities (balance, midline, lateral dominance, body scheme image, fine motor control, spatial orientation and directionality) – all of which is part and parcel of judo.
I know, from personal experience, that a quieter, more sensitive child can sometimes be perceived to ‘be different’ (and easy to pick on) and I also know (from more personal experience) that Judo can help children – not only in terms of developing the confidence to handle tricky situations with peers, but also to generally feel good about themselves, which makes for a happier childhood. The constant mastering of new techniques, development of contact awareness and regular progressing from one grade to another is hugely beneficial in this regard.”
Neel Beyers – Judo Coach at Yarra Judo
Judo will lay and enhance a much needed foundation for any other sport that children choose to participate in. Many judo coaches have been engaged to teach appropriate judo skills to athletes participating in rugby, soccer, etc. Whilst various physical judo skills enhance performance in sports, the non-physical judo skills also contribute to overall performance. Judo does not need to be a child’s primary sport for him/her to reap the benefits.
Judokas of varying capabilities and different ages practice with each other, creating an environment of continuous learning with more advanced students assisting those with lesser skills.
Judokas progress at their own pace and move onto a next grading when they are ready. There are various grading levels allowing continuous recognition of growth and a sense of achievement. Advancing in grading levels is based on the ability to demonstrate learned skills without opposition and not the ability to “win a fight”.
This is an important distinction and motivation factor for the children – as winning is not a prerequisite for recognition and a sense of achievement. This approach to grading also helps to cultivate a climate of cooperation as the opponent is positioned as someone that helps you to practice and strengthen the skills you require to proceed on your judo journey.
Purposeful Fun and Games
Judo classes are fun and a variety of well-designed games are played to improve the Judoka’s physical and mental skills. Practising the sport of judo brings many benefits to the student, some of which are listed below:
- Teaches Respect
Students learn to respect others, students will earn respect from others and students learn to respect their own strength and skills.
- Exercises the mind
In doing judo one’s opponent is constantly moving and you have to adapt your strategy on a continuous basis to be able to gain control of your opponent – it is like a fast paced physical chess game.
- Physical exercise
Aerobic and anaerobic
- Improves co-ordination and balance
Following on from exercising the mind, increased levels of bilateral co-ordination, hand-eye coordination, upper/lower body coordination, foot-eye coordination are achieved.
- Improves spatial orientation and directionality
- Increases discipline and character building
Judoka’s get thrown, get up and continue to play – learning persistence, resolve and perseverance.
- Improves overall confidence
- Teaches how to fall without injury
This is a very useful skill for kids in general in their day to day life as well as being useful when playing various sports.
- Teaches co-operation
Whilst judo is an individual sport, one needs to co-operate to help your training partner learn and exercise new techniques and you need your training partner’s co-operation to learn/exercise new techniques.
- Teaches self-defence