Judo is a Japanese form of ‘one-to-one’ wrestling, it originated from the lethal Japanese form Jujitsu that was practised for centuries in Japan as a self-defence and unarmed combat. The word Judo translates as the “gentle” or “supple way”. In my opinion Judo is a form of real competitive fighting skills that qualifies as both an Olympic Sport and Martial Art.
In the late 1800’s a Japanese man called Jigoro Kano having studied various forms of Jiu-jitsu devised a new form with all the lethal and maiming techniques removed from combat practice, some he retained in ‘demonstration form’ known as Kata.
He named this form or style as ‘Judo’ and in 1882 established his own school, which he called Kodokan from which the name ‘Kodokan Judo’ evolved.
This safer style enabled full competitive combat to take place without risk of deliberate permanent injury to either contestant.
Judo was the first Japanese martial art to gain widespread international recognition, and the first to become an official Olympic sport. Innovations attributed to Kanô include the use of black and white belts, and the introduction of dan ranking to show the relative ranking between members of a martial art style. Well-known mottoes attributed to Kanô include "Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort" and "Mutual Welfare and Benefit."
In his professional life Kanô was an educator. Important postings included serving as director of primary education for the Ministry of Education from 1898–1901, and as president of Tokyo Higher Normal School from 1901 until 1920. He played a key role in making judo and kendo part of the Japanese public school programs of the 1910s. Kanô was also a pioneer of international sports. Accomplishments included being the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (he served from 1909 until 1938); officially representing Japan at most Olympic Games held between 1912 and 1936; and serving as a leading spokesman for Japan's bid for the 1940 Olympic Games.
His official honors and decorations included the First Order of Merit and Grand Order of the Rising Sun and the Third Imperial Degree. Kanô was inducted into the IJF Hall of Fame on 14 May 1999.