What is Judo?
‘A sport of unarmed combat derived from jujitsu and intended to train the body and mind. It involves using holds and leverage to unbalance the opponent.’
The word Judo means ‘the gentle way.’ It was developed in 1992 by Dr. Jigoro Kano (President of the University of Education in Tokyo.) He studied Jujutsu as a child and used the ideas and techniques from this within the new art Judo.
The main two principles/goals of Judo are ‘Maximum Efficiency and Mutual Welfare and Benefit.’ Maximum efficiency teaches the students to use the least amount of strength necessary in order to throw an opponent. This is achieved by precision and timing. Mutual Welfare and Benefit was a belief of Dr Jigoro had that Judo could help the students to become better members of society. He felt that the personal discipline that Judo taught would be used within everyday life and not just in the dojo.
Having done a bit of Judo (a few throws etc,) within karate classes, it is very clear how the maximum efficiency goal is used. You do not need to use all of your strength to throw your partner, just by being sneaky and timing everything correctly, even a tiny movement of your body can throw your partner.
Judo is mainly recognised for it’s throws and groundwork; it is compared to as freestyle wrestling because of this. They are fairly similar, but Judo doesn’t use as many dangerous self defence techniques. A practitioner will have to use careful timing and leverage of their own body to throw their partner.
People practise Judo for the same reasons as other martial arts and other sports; its exercise, for self-defence and a social event but mainly because it is fun. But some practitioners of Judo think of it as a way of life. Judo is a good martial art to use for exercise because it improves your flexibility, speed, coordination, muscle development and the cardiovascular system. They will all improve the standard of living for each practitioner as a healthy body creates a healthy lifestyle.
There are three main areas within Judo- competition work, free practise and forms. The Judo terms are Randori, Shiai and Kata. In free practise, you can spar and use which ever techniques that you want. In competitions, the aim is to win by being determined; if you aren’t determined or decisive then you won’t win the points. Competitions aren’t the aim of Judo, it is another aspect that will help you to improve your weaknesses and see your strengths.
Kata, in Judo, is different moves in a scenario. The aim for Kata is to teach and learn different values in combat through choreographed moves and techniques are learnt and practised in Kata, but not in competitions and free practised.
Lectures were a main aim, but it generally isn’t used in teaching judo any more. By using lectures, the practitioners learn the theory side and knowledge of Judo.
Within Judo, certain clothing is required. This clothing is called a Judogi. It can be in white or blue, and they are made of a firmer, thicker material than a normal Karate gi. This means that the gi will be stronger and will not rip easily.
‘It is a Chinese system of slow meditative physical exercise designed for relaxation and balance and health.’ wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
Tai Chi (also called Tai Chi Chuan,) combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow, controlled and gentle movements
It is a health benefit but is also a subtle, sophisticated method of self defence. Tai Chi doesn’t need any equipment so people of all ages and backgrounds can easily participate. It has evolved to help improve people’s physical health and helped them to defend themselves against others. Unlike other martial arts, Tai Chi helps people to survive by using self-defence and fitness.
It develops a healthy body and alert mind, and is suitable for all ages so everyone can be developed. Tai Chi can be practised anywhere – indoors, outdoors, in a hall, or at work. Also, when it is practised in a slow, relaxed way, it can be used as a balance drill for the muscles, and can help the mind to process and remember complex moves. By using deep breathing, it allows the body to use correct expansion and contraction of the lungs and diaphragm. Thus, more oxygen can be taken in, and then given to the muscles.
Tai Chi focuses on qi – Life Force. Tai Chi allows practitioners to work with their qi, and thus changes their life. A lot of qi makes the body and mind feel alive, alert and lively to all the possibilities that life can offer. A lack of qi makes the person feel tired and dull. Tai Chi’s movements increase the qi and develop it too.
Anyone can do Tai Chi, regardless of their: age, gender and fitness levels. ‘The Perfect Exercise’ is what Tai Chi has been called because the injury risk is low and the health and fitness levels are high.
You can wear any type of clothing when practising Tai Chi; it depends on your situation. For example, if you are going to practise it for 10 minutes in your office at lunch time, then you can stay in your work clothes- suits, dresses, and skirts. However, loose, stretchy clothing is best, especially something like a tracksuit. If you are learning Tai Chi in a martial art environment where it is formal, then the teachers may request that traditional clothing is worn.
Differences between Judo and Tai Chi
In Tai Chi, the main focus of the martial art is the body and how to develop it and work with it for relaxation and meditation. Although Judo requires understanding of your body, it focuses on how small movements can allow you to control your opponent throw throws, groundwork and grappling.
Judo practitioners have to have certain clothing- a Judogi. In Tai Chi however, you can wear anything, but stretchy, loose clothing is generally worn. A t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms are frequently worn. Specific clothing is required due to the nature of the martial arts, i.e., in Judo, you pull on the clothing, so it needs to be strong material.
In Judo, although most teachers will not specify a set age or health requirement, a basic level of health and fitness is needed to ensure that no injuries occur. However, in Tai Chi, anyone can practise it as it increases your health and fitness and poses a minimal injury risk compared to Judo.
If you would like any more information on either Judo or Tai Chi, here are the websites that I used to create this report. http://judopedia.com/index.php/Overview_of_Judohttp://judopedia.com/index.php/Overview_of_Judo