Thursday, June 15, 2006

What is the relationship of sport judo to unarmed combat?

In this article, Victor Anderson attempts to answer this question, but in the context of what he calls, "The Four Pillars of Judo." At one time, Judo was considered, at least in this country, one of the best martial arts out there for self-defense. Then it became an Olympic sport. What happened? I believe it moved from commercial dojo to university gymnasiums, and wasn't much seen again, except in use by police. Judo was responsible for a lot of firsts in the martial arts: first colored belt system, first Eastern martial art widely practiced in the U.S., and probably the first used for police defensive tactics (though it may be Jiu-Jitsu). Has it lost it's martial edge entirely?

Anderson expounds on the meaning and purpose of Judo, "Several years ago when I was in Korea, my sensei had a simple question on one of his promotion examinations. That question was, "What do you think about judo?" I dashed off some platitudes about maximum efficiency, improving the character and so forth. Good enough to pass. Lately, that question has come to haunt me more and more. There are some who say Judo is a way of life, others talk about sport, and still others argue about martial arts."

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