Judo Styles

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Kano Jigoro’s Kodokan Judo is the most popular and well-known style of judo, but is not the only style. Kano took the name “judo” from Jikishin-ryu Judo, which is an older school but not really seen outside of Japan.

A sub-style of Kodokan Judo that developed in Japanese inter-scholastic competition is known as Kosen Judo (高專柔道, Kosen Judo) with the same range of techniques but greater latitude permitted for ground technique.

Teaching in France, Mikonosuke Kawaishi developed Kawaishi-ryū jujutsu as an alternative approach to instruction that continued to teach many techniques banned in modern competition.

In Austria, Julius Fleck and others developed a system of throwing intended to extend judo that they called Judo-do.

Mitsuyo Maeda introduced judo to Brazil in the early 20th century. At this time, groundfighting was very popular and not yet limited by the rules. He taught judo to Carlos Gracie (1902–1994) and others in Brazil.

The terms judo and jujutsu were at that time interchangeable. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu remained rather aloof to later changes in international judo rules which added emphasis to the standing phase of the fight, and thus remains a distinctive form of judo to this day.

Vasili Oshchepkov was the first European judo black belt under Professor Jigoro Kano, who went on to create Sambo from judo’s influence. An entirely unique style of judo, called Russian Judo, developed from this original influence, exemplified by well-known coaches such as Alexander Retuinskih and Igor Yakimov, and represented by mixed martial arts fighters such as Igor Zinoviev and Fedor Emelianenko and Karo Parisyan.

Sport: Although a fully featured martial art, judo has also developed as a sport. Judo became an Olympic sport for men in 1964 and, with the persistence of an American woman by the name of Rusty Kanokogi and many others, a sport for women as well in 1988. Popular legend insists that the men’s judo event in 1964 was a demonstration event, but according to Michel Brousse, official researcher and historian for the International Judo Federation, Judo was in fact an official sport in the 1964 games.

Thanks to Dutchman Anton Geesink who won the gold medal in the All Categories division defeating Aiko Kaminaga, Japan, judo lost the image of being “Japanese only” and became an international sport, and the second most widely practiced sport in the world. The women’s event was a demonstration event in 1988, followed by becoming an official medal event 4 years later. Men and women compete separately, although they often train together. There are currently seven weight divisions, subject to change by both governing bodies and age:

Under 60 kg 60~66 kg 66~73 kg 73~81 kg 81~90 kg 90~100 kg Over 100 kg
Under 48 kg 48~52 kg 52~57 kg 57~63 kg 63~70 kg 70~78 kg Over 78 kg

Collegiate competition in the United States, especially between UC Berkeley and San Jose State, contributed towards refining judo into the sport seen at the Olympic Games and World Championships. In the 1940s Henry Stone and Yosh Uchida, the head coaches at Cal and SJSU, developed a weight class system for use in the frequent competitions between the schools.

In 1953, Stone and Uchida successfully petitioned the Amateur Athletic Union to accept judo as a sport, with their weight class system as an official component. In 1961, Uchida represented the United States at the International Judo Federation meetings in Paris, where the IJF adopted weight classes for all future championships. The IJF was created largely based on the earlier European Judo Union, where weight classes had also been used for many years.