Judo as a martial art came into existence in 1882 being derived from the much older techniques of attack and defence called ju-jitsu. Before the advent of judo or more properly Kodokan Judo there existed some twenty independent ju-jitsu schools. A young Japanese man Jigoro Kano, wanting to be able to handle some bigger bullying companions, decided to join one of the ju-jitsu schools.
He studied the techniques of various schools for several years. Finally in 1882 he established his own which he called the Kodokan and instead of using the word ju-jitsu used judo instead. One of the reasons for choosing a different name for his school was that with the ordinance of 1871 forbidding Samurai to carry swords the martial arts fell into decline and then disrepute. Some ju-jitsu experts of Kano's time were rogues and bullies and ju-jitsu acquired a low reputation. Kano, not wishing to inherit this, began his school with a new name.
Kodokan judo was not just a rehash of ju-jitsu techniques. Kano selected the good points of each ju-jitsu school and with his own fresh ideas and innovations turned an old martial art into a new system of physical culture and mental training. There was much rivalry between the new Kodokan school and the ju-jitsu men and four years after its foundation the Kodokan had a public match with the top ju-jitsu school. It was an overwhelming victory for judo with the Kodokan winning nearly every match.
The techniques of judo have slowly been streamlined and modified over the years with some new ones being added and old ones on account of their inefficiency or danger being eliminated. With judo becoming an international sport during the last ten years rules governing contests have been formulated to make it safe for competition. Nevertheless, the essence of judo -throws, strangles, joint-locks and hold-downs - makes it an excellent system of self-defence and attack.
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