Paralympic Judo

Kyuzo Mifune (l) and Jigoro Kano (r)

Paralympic Judo - The photo above shows Kyuzo Mifune on the left, and Judo's founder Jigoro Kano on the right.

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Judo (gentle way) is a modern martial art, combat and Olympic sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defenses are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (kata) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice (randori).

Judo was created to provide a safer and still effective art. It is known for variety, effectiveness, and impressive look of its throws and falls.

Judo has been a Paralympic sport for the visually impaired since 1988.

Judo consists of throwing (nage), grappling (katame) and striking (attemi). Judo throws if performed correctly should protect the opponent from injury. There are two types of throws. They are standing throw and sacrifice throw. A standing throw may be used as a hand, hip, foot and leg technique. A sacrifice throw requires the thrower to move into position that is a disadvantage to them in order to execute the throw. Choking is also allowed in judo but they are also dangerous. They are a technique used to make an opponent to submit. 

The attire used in judo is known as a judogi usually shortened to ‘gi’. The judogi consists of white or blue cotton drawstring trousers with a quilted cotton jacket usually white or blue. They are heavier than karate or taekwondo uniforms, they are designed to withstand the stress of holds, throws and grappling. 

Judo uses the martial arts belt ranking system. Judo consists of 6 coloured belts and 10 black belts. The black belts are known as “dan”. Each coloured belt has a meaning behind it. The white belt stands for innocence. The yellow and orange belts stand for earth. The green belt stands for growth. The blue belt stands for towards the heaven. The brown belt stands for danger, while the black belt stands for the person’s skill and mastery over fear.

The equipment needed to participate in judo is really the bare essentials. All that is needed is a mat and a judogi.

The competition takes place in an area 14 meters square, consisting of an inner square 6 meters on a side where the competitors must stay, with a further 1 meter danger zone outside this, leaving a 3 meter safety zone on each side.

In Paralympic Judo, the match starts when the referee claps his hands together with his arms outstretched. The opponent’s then advance towards each other until contact is made. The rules for blind competitors call for the danger zone to be distinguishable by touch. This is done where possible by temperature. Not all facilities can provide this, so there is provision in the rules for the referee to verbally warn the competitors if they step on the danger zone. Hand signals are done by verbalisation for visually impaired athletes.

Judo has many benefits.

Judo teaches balance, co-ordination, efficiency of movement, the skills to fall safely and self defence. It also teaches the student self confidence, respect and self discipline.

It helps with teaching the student about the prevention of injury. This can also help in other sports including rugby, soccer and basketball. This also develops good balance, concentration and agility.

Judo builds character and self confidence. It also offers personal rewards through training and competition.

Judo is one of the most disciplined sports in the world. It teaches respect for your elders and also your opponent.

All Judo techniques have Japanese names which are used more often than the English name by the coach, which teaches the students some Japanese.


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