The Two Main Principles of Judo

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The Two Main Principles of Judo

It might help to understand what Judo is all about and what it teaches us, both on and off the mat, if we analyse the Two Main Principles laid down by the founder of Judo in 1882,, Jigoro Kano, Shihan.

Seiryoku Zenyo   :  Translated variously, one of the easiest to understand would be “ The most effective use of Energy or Effort”, although with the furious activity one sees in a Judo practice or a competition between two matched opponents, it’s not immediately obvious.

There are many subtle changes of balance, movement and positioning that lead to a successful technique being executed. And like many games, the winner is usually (although not always) the one who has devoted more time, effort and attention to detail to attain the advantage of superior skill.

Judo is often referred to as ‘the gentle art’ which can be misleading. Force is diverted by the experienced judoka to his/her advantage so that the attacker contributes to his/her own defeat . This ‘giving way’ to force is the essence of Judo. In free practice with a skilled judoka, it can be like ‘fighting an empty jacket” which was how Jigoro Kano’s own students described the Master’s Judo.

Attaining this level of skill takes time and effort. Time that the majority of people are not prepared to invest in this ‘quick-fix’ world we live in. Judo challenges the mind as well as the whole body, and yet allows all on the mat to progress according to their experience and ability.

Jita Kyoei  :   Easier to understand, this dictates that all concerned, must feel Mutual Benefit “ from the practice of Kodokan Judo. The student, from having learned something, and the instructor from improvement of his own teaching. The competitor, whether losing or winning, must have learned something and enjoyed the contest, the referee and other officials from satisfaction at the fairest outcome of the match. Perhaps, because of this, Judo friendships last for life, and are made overnight.

Judoka are welcomed into clubs far from home and The Judokan is no exception – in the past 12 months alone, we have had visitors from Italy, Holland, Britain, Spain and France, to name a few. Each has brought with them ideas, skills, fun and friendship with promises of a welcome in their own countries.