Greco-Roman wrestling is a combat sport which focuses on grappling. This form of wrestling does not permit holds below the waist and emphasizes upper body throws and slams such as the suplex etc. Unlike freestyle wrestling, a wrestler is not allowed to trip an opponent nor hook the opponent’s legs for blocking/avoiding throws.
Greco-Roman wrestling is a combination of arm drags, bear hugs, headlocks etc; all of these techniques have great importance in Greco-Roman wrestling. Similar to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Greco-Roman wrestling also focuses on controlling the opponent on the ground, thus rendering him ineffective on his back.
Greco-Roman wrestling is said to be developed mainly on lands east of the Mediterranean Sea, mostly considered to be lands where the Ancient Greeks resided. In ancient Greece wrestling was not considered as a martial art but a regular exercise for men and boys and was made compulsory in school’s physical education curriculum. Initially Greco-Roman wrestling made its way through Europe and became very popular over there. However due to its many restrictions it lost its popularity in Britain and the United States to free-style wrestling.
In Greco-Roman wrestling one can win by:
Muay Thai is a striking and clinching art. Muay Thai means Thai boxing however, it is native to all of South East Asia where it exists in many forms, each called by a different name but similar in style. In Burma it is known as Lethwei, Malaysia as Tomoi, Laos as Muay Lao and in Cambodia as Pradal Serey. Generally the rules and techniques are the same in each area (Lethwei has the most different rules) however Muay Thai is most famous due to its popularization in culture through promotion via Thailand and the thriving Muay Thai scene that exists there. Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport.
The origins of modern Muay Thai lie in the Thai Burmese wars of the 18th century. Thai soldier Nai Khanom Thom was captured by the Burmese and made to fight during a festival designed to see how the Thai boxing style compared to the Burmese. Nai Khanom Thom killed his first opponent. He was made to fight 9 more Burmese champions defeating them all. In respect to Nai Khanom Thom’s fighting spirit the Burmese king released him. Muay Thai used to be fought bare knuckle or with bound hemp ropes but in order to make it conform to international sporting standards they adopted the boxing ring, gloves and rounds in the 1920’s. Despite bringing a more formal sporting aspect to Muay Thai, the Muay Thai traditions remain strong.
Like boxing, a Muay Thai match can be won by knockout, technical knock out or decision. However, unlike boxing Muay Thai employs as its weapon more than just the fists. Muay Thai is known to many as the “art of eight limbs” due to the fact that fighters can use feet, knees, elbows as well as fists giving the fighter 8 weapons to mix and match. Muay Thai matches are 5 rounds, 3 minutes per round with a two minute rest. The first two rounds are generally used for the fighters to feel each other out and are not important in scoring. The fourth round is the most important because it decides whether or not a fighter can call it quits the 5th round and wait out a decision or go into desperation mode and go for the knockout. Also, the scoring system of Muay Thai is far more dependent on kick and knees which score far more points in the judges eyes than punches. For this reason, a fighter who lands 20 clean kicks in a fight against an opponent who lands 100 punches will win. Another aspect of Muay Thai is the clinch. Typically in a boxing match when two fighters clinch they are separated. In Muay Thai this is not so and some fighters specialize in this range of combat where they control their opponent in order to land strikes or throw the opponent to the ground which are big points in Muay Thai.
The training regimen of Muay Thai is well known through out the Martial Arts world. Muay Thai camps are known for having some of the most demanding training regimens. A typical training session at a top Bangkok gym consists of a 9 to 15 km run. Typically the longer runs are done in the mornings. Upon returning to the gym from the run 30 straight minutes of jumping rope. After this, 5 plus rounds of shadowboxing are done and during this time or shortly after students are called in to do pad work with a trainer. While others work the pads those waiting hit the heavy bags. Once every one has hit the pads, bag drills are done ranging from 50-100 round house kicks, possibly in a row, to 100 front kicks and one thousands knee strikes. After this 200 sit ups along with push ups and pull ups are done followed by stretching. This is done TWICE a day.
Many MMA trainers will tell you that if you had to learn one striking art for MMA it would be Muay Thai. The reason for this is that Muay Thai teaches you to use all your weapons and its techniques have been proven in a full contact environment. Also, the more squared stance of Muay Thai makes it more adaptable to MMA due to the threat of take downs. Another addition is the clinch game, which is second to none relative to other striking arts. That being said, Muay Thai does have some deficiencies for MMA competition such as lack of footwork and head movement. Also the punching of Muay Thai is generally not as crisp or utilized in the type of combinations as seen in boxing but this is something that is a result of the different scoring system used. Regardless some of the vest Muay Thai strikers in the world have Muay Thai as their base including Anderson Silva, Shogun Rua and Donald Cerrone. These fighters are very Muay Thai based in a traditional way but it would be a fair assessment to say that EVERY MMA fighter receives Muay Thai training as part of their curriculum. An even bigger testament is that the K-1 competition in which the best Kickboxers of the world participate, most of its fighters are Muay Thai based or go to Thailand to increase their skills. This is in spite of the fact that elbows and clinching are not allowed in K-1.
For any striker who wants to be at the top of their game and be as versatile as possible Muay Thai is a must.
Here are some highlights from Muay Thai to show you its versatility.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art which focuses particularly on striking. As its name derives from Korean language where Tae means (to strike or break with foot), Kwon means (to strike or break with fist) and Do means (way, method or art) hence a loose translation of Taekwondo will be “the way of the foot and fist”. It is the world’s most popular martial art in terms of practitioners.
Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes and may also include various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and joint locks; it combines combat techniques, self-defence, sport, exercise, meditation and philosophy.
There have been many arguments regarding the origin of Taekwondo, some organization state that it was developed from earlier Koran martial arts; whereas some organizations claim that it is derived from native Korean martial arts. The oldest Korean martial art was a mixture of unarmed combat styles developed by the three rival Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje, where young men were trained in unarmed combat to build strength, speed and survival skills. Those who performed well and demonstrated strong attributes were selected as trainees in the special warrior group, called the Hwarang. These men were believed to have the grace that was needed to become true warriors and hence they were instructed in military training as well as academics such as philosophy, history, code of conduct etc. In martial arts training they were trained in the techniques of Subak, in which Taekkyeon was the most popular section of Subak.
In training, Subak was mostly weapon and leg oriented and did not focus much on hand striking, however Silla’s influence added hand techniques in the practice of Subak. After completing their training, the Hwarangs spread around the neck of the land to learn about different regions and people and at the same time spreaded the art of combat that they had learnt.
After the occupation of Japan in Korea ended many Kwans (Korean martial arts schools) started to open. In 1952, at the height of the Korean War, there was a martial arts exhibition in which the kwans displayed their skills. In one demonstration, Nam Tae Hi smashed thirteen roof tiles with a fore-fist punch. Following the demonstration, South Korean President Syngman Rhee instructed Choi Hong Hi to introduce the martial arts to the Korean army. By the mid 1950’s, 9 schools had emerged and by the order of the president, were unified into a single system know as Taekwondo. Currently, taekwondo is practiced in 123 countries, with over 30 million practitioners and 3 million individuals with black belts throughout the world. It is now one of only two Asian martial arts that are included in the Olympic Games; it became a demonstration event starting with the 1988 games in Seoul, and became an official medal event starting with the 2000 games in Sydney
The rules of sport Taekwondo are mainly categorized under two categories
* World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Rules: Points are awarded for permitted, accurate, and powerful techniques to the legal scoring areas; light contact to a scoring area does not score any points. In most competitions, points are awarded by four corner judges using electronic scoring tallies. At the end of three rounds, the competitor with the most points wins the match. In the event of a tie at the end of three rounds, a fourth “sudden death” overtime round will be held to determine the winner after a one minute rest period. Blows are full force and if one player is knocked out by a legal attack, the attacker is declared the winner as the WTF allows knockouts in sparring competition. But there are certain rules that they must follow. Some rules condemn name calling, punches to the head, grabbing, and more.
* International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) Rules: The ITF sparring rules are similar, but differ from the WTF rules in several respects. Hand attacks to the head are allowed; kicks to the body gives two point and kicks to the head give three; the competition area is slightly smaller (9 meters square instead of 10 meters); and competitors do not wear the hogu used in Olympic-style sparring (although they are required to wear approved foot and hand protection equipment). A continuous point system is utilized in ITF competition, where the fighters are allowed to continue after scoring a technique. Full force blows are not allowed and will result in deduction of points. Knock out is not allowed. At the end of 2 minutes (or specified time) the competitor with the most scoring techniques wins.
Taekwondo is known for its emphasis on kicking techniques, which distinguishes it from martial arts such as karate or southern styles of kung fu. The rationale is that the leg is the longest and strongest weapon a martial artist has, and kicks thus have the greatest potential to execute powerful strikes without successful retaliation. Historically, the Koreans thought that the hands were too valuable to be used in combat. Physically, taekwondo develops strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. An example of the union of mental and physical discipline is the breaking of boards, which requires both physical mastery of the technique and the concentration to focus one’s strength.
Taekwondo is based around a dazzling combination of kicking techniques, and out-foxing your opponent with a variety of defensive and punching moves. The better you can put these technical combinations together, the better your performances. Agility and flexibility will help you achieve all of this. You have to move across the floor quickly and kick your legs at the same time. It is not easy.
As far as MMA goes Taekwondo has been widely used and utilized in MMA competition many famous Taekwondo practitioners in MMA are:
* Bas Rutten
* Anderson Silva
* Chieck Kongo
* Ben Henderson
* James Wilks
* Joe Son
* Kimo Leopoldo
* Serkan Yilmaz
* Keith Hackney
Taekwondo in Pakistan and very famous and is the most practiced style in the country. There are many Taekwondo schools/dojos in the country; subsequently there are a lot of good Taekwondo practitioners as well.
Capoeira is a striking art with origins as an Afro-Brazilian art form which combines elements of martial arts, music and dance. In the martial arts aspect of Capoeira, it focuses on striking particularly kicks accompanied by acrobatic movement. Similar to Muay-Thai and Indonesian Silat, Capoeira is accompanied by its traditional Afro-Brazilian music and is demonstrated in coordinance with the tempo of the music. Although almost non-existent in MMA, Capoeira has made its way in becoming a fully fledged sport.
There have been many theories about the styles that make up Capoeira, however one theory has been considered by many Capoeiristas that Capoeira may have been influenced by a ritual fight-dance called N’golo (the zebra dance) from Southern Angola, which was performed by people of southern Angola. Since the 1960s, the N’golo theory has become popular amongst some practitioners of Capoeira Angola, although it is not universally accepted.
Created by slaves brought to Brazil from Africa, during the colonial period, Capoeira is a martial art that grew from survival. People were brought from Angola, Congo and Mozambique, and with them, they brought their cultural traditions. They hid their martial art and traditions into a form of dance. The African people developed Capoeira not only to resist oppression, but also for the survival of their culture and the lifting of their spirits. After slavery, they continued to play Capoeira.
Capoeira was against the law for 20 years until 1918. The first Capoeira School ever to exist was that of Mestre Bimba. He was given permission to do so in 1937, after he demonstrated the art in front of President Getúlio Varga. Capoeira was finally recognized as a national sport.
The Jogo (game/match) in Capoeira is played in a Roda (the circle of people around the Capoeiristas), its circular shape is maintained to keep focus on the players and musicians and retain the energy created by the Capoeira game.
Capoeira does not focus on injuring the opponent. Rather, it emphasizes skill. Capoeiristas often prefer to show the movement without completing it, enforcing their superiority in the roda. If an opponent cannot dodge a slow attack, there is no reason to use a faster one. Each attack that comes in gives players a chance to practice an evasive technique.
There are two main styles of Capoeira that are clearly distinct. One is called Angola, which is characterized by slow, low play with particular attention to the rituals and tradition of Capoeira. The other style is Regional, known for its fluid acrobatic play, where technique and strategy are the key points. Both styles are marked by the use of feints and subterfuge, and use groundwork extensively, as well as sweeps, kicks, and head butts
The actual object of the game is different according to what style of Capoeira you are playing.
In Capoeira Regional the object is to try and floor your opponent. But still you do not actually floor him or her. You just show how you might be able to the moment you find an opening.
For Capoeira Angola the object is to try and hit your opponent in the face. That is why in general the arms are held up higher in Capoeira Angola to protect the face. Again, the object is not to actually hit your opponent but to show where you might be able to. Angola is played mostly close to the ground.
Yet having very little to do with MMA, Capoeiristas have managed to involve Capoeira in MMA competitions yet some have succeeded and some have not but still it proved that Capoeira is not useless in MMA and one can benefit from it with the right combination of styles.
Notable Capoeira practitioners in MMA:
* Elvis Sinosic
* Marcus Aurélio
* Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons
* André Machado Gusmão
Aikido is a Japanese martial art which primary focuses on grappling. Aikido is performed by blending the motion of the attacker and re-addressing the force exerted by him rather than defending it head-on. The defender uses the momentum of the attacker against him by entering and turning movements and finishes with throws or joint locks. It is ranked among one of the best Japanese grappling arts.
Basically Aikido is a combination of throws, joint locks and some striking. Although being a defensive martial art, most of the striking moves of Aikido are used only to prepare students to defend them and are not particularly a part of the normal training regime.
Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba, who primarily developed it in the 1920’s through the 1930’s by blending the elements of the traditional martial arts he had learned. The core styles from which Aikido derived from are Daitō-ryū aiki-jūjutsu, Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū and Judo. All these styles were studied and mastered by Ueshiba from 1901 to 1911. A major influence on the development of Aikido was the religious influence of Ōmoto-kyō, a religion whose philosophy of extending love and compassion especially to those who seek to harm others made Aikido what it is today. Aikido demonstrates this philosophy in its emphasis on mastering martial arts so that one may receive an attack and harmlessly redirect it. In an ideal resolution, not only is the receiver unharmed, but so is the attacker.
Since it was just developed as a means of defence and originated from styles which did not have formal competitions, thus Aikido never made its way to competition status and was just used as a means of self defence or part of combinations in combat sport. However some forms of Aikido do carry out competitions but these are just conducted for the sole purpose of testing the students and studying their weaknesses and nothing else.
Like most Japanese martial arts, Aikido involves both mental and physical training. The physical training of Aikido is quite distinct as it covers both the physical fitness and the conditioning of the practitioner. The students are taught to execute and absorb rolls and throws safely as a large portion of the training consists of throws and take-downs, after that the student is allowed to spar freely against different opponents; sometimes more than one and even accompanied by weapons. In addition to that, the physical exercise also involves stretching and weight lifting as it helps the student’s flexibility and helps in the movements of all muscles.
The katas (forms) of Aikido involve two practitioners in which the receiver, who initiates an attack against the person who applies technique to reverse and neutralises the attack by Aikido technique.
Whereas most schools of martial arts take either the side of largely defensive or mostly offensive, aikido straddles a fine line in between these two schools. This form of martial art actually considers the protection of both the defender and the attacker, following under the general guidelines of conflict resolution as opposed to dominance. It more closely resembles a transfer of control than an affirmation or exercise in power. Because of this, this art deserves a closer look as its fundamentals hold the potential for far reaching applications.
Aikido may not involve brutal force, but it still necessitates a great deal of training and preparation in order to reach a mastery level; and to avoid injuring oneself in the process. And even at these senior levels, older students may argue the legitimacy of certain levels of mastery as different influences have created several different corollary methods. However, the overall principle remains true to the core.
Although it has been found that Aikido has a very low significance in MMA but some Mixed Martial Artists have applied Aikido as one of their styles and have succeeded in doing so, namely
* Sumin Yune
* Greg Jackson (Notable MMA trainer)
* Jason DeLucia
* Jacky Steele
Aikido is quite popular in Pakistan and authentic Aikido dojos can be found all over the country. For information about Aikido dojos in the country visit:
Kickboxing, obvious by its name refers to the sport of combining the skills of old-school boxing with kicking. The rules of kickboxing matches are similar to those of boxing and Muay Thai. Kickboxing is one of the most successful styles in MMA as far as striking is concerned, along with Muay Thai, Karate, Kenpo etc.
In December 1959, a Muay Thai was held at a town hall in Japan. Tatsuo Yamada who established “Nihon Kempo Karate-do” was interested in learning Muay Thai because he one day hoped to perform full contact Karate matches, which was prohibited at that time in Karate competitions. He already had plans to establish and industrialize a new sport which would be based on full contact combat and had thus initially named the sport “Karate-Boxing”. Yamada invited a Thai fighter who was also a Muay Thai champion and started learning and studying Muay Thai, at this time a prominent boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi (who was also interested in Muay Thai) also took the fighter. There were “Karate Vs Muay Thai fights” in 1963 and three Karate fighters from the Oyama Dojo, Japan went to the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Thailand and faught against three Muay Thai fighters, Japan won by 2-1.
Noguchi studied Muay Thai and later developed a hybrid martial art which was later named “Kick-Boxing”. Initially throwing and head butting were allowed to distinguish it from Muay Thai, however this was later repealed.
Kickboxing boomed and became popular in Japan and started to be broadcast on TV, Tadashi Sawamura was an early kick boxer who became very popular and is considered to be the first kick boxer in the world.
Different forms/styles of Kickboxing include:
* Adithada (Indian boxing) – A form of kickboxing that uses knee, elbow and forehead strikes.
* Lethwei (Burmese boxing) – Traditional Burmese martial arts of which has now grown into a popular kickboxing event with strong emphasis on knee, elbow strikes and headbutt. Any part of the body may be used to strike and be struck. It is also known as Bando kickboxing.
* Pradal Serey (Khmer “Cambodian” kickboxing) – Possible predecessor of Muay Thai with an emphasis on elbow techniques.
* Gwon-gyokdo (Korean kickboxing) – That is a mix between Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do.
* Muay Thai (Thai boxing) – Traditional Thai martial art of which has now grown into a popular kickboxing event with strong emphasis on knee and elbow strikes.
* Muay Boran (Ancient boxing) – Predecessor of Muay Thai, allows the use of headbutts.
* Japanese kickboxing – Similar to Muay Thai, but different point system is taken. The first fighting style to adopt the name of “Kickboxing”.
* American kickboxing – Similar to Japanese kickboxing but not allowed to kick below the waist.
* Savate (French boxing) – Allows the use of shoes.
* Sanshou/Sanda (Chinese boxing) – The applicable component of wushu/kung fu of which takedowns and throws are legal in competition as well as all other sorts of striking (use of arms and legs).
* Shoot boxing – A Japanese form of kickboxing which allows throwing and submission while standing, similar to Sanshou.
* Yaw-Yan (Filipino kickboxing) – Sayaw ng Kamatayan (Dance of Death) is the proper name for Yaw-Yan, a Filipino martial art developed by Napoleon Fernandez. The art resembles Muay Thai in a sense, but differs in the hip torquing motion as well as downward-cutting of its kicks.
* Draka (Russian kickboxing) – Similar to shootboxing, using kickboxing techniques with sambo throws and takedowns.
* Zen Do Kai Kickboxing Singapore – Founded by Peter A. Robertson, developed from Australian Soke Bob Jones Zen Do Kai Freestyle Martial Arts, a combination of Goju Ryu, Shotokan Karate and Muay Thai.
There are many additional derivatives of these forms, as well as combined styles which have been used in specific competitions.
In 1993 Kazuyoshi Ishii produced K-1 under special kickboxing rules (no elbow and neck wrestling), due to K-1 kickboxing becam famous all over the world and so far as spread all over through Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Noteable Kickboxers in MMA:
o Chuck Liddell
o Mirko Filipović
o Jess Liaudin
o Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
o Cheick Kongo
o Scott Lighty
o Bob Sapp
o Bas Rutten
Boxing is a striking art. Boxing, along with wrestling is the oldest form of combat sport in history. There are Egyptian paintings depicting boxing scenes and boxing was introduced into the Greek Olympics in 688 B.C.
Boxing is typically used to describe a combat sport where two participants fight each other with their fists. Strikes below the waist are not allowed. A fight can be ended by knocking the opponent unconscious (KO), injuring an opponent to the point where he cannot continue anymore as deemed by his corner, referee or himself (TKO) and via judges decision based on points accumulated.
Professional boxers, like other combat sport athletes are known for their tough training regimen. Road work, or long distance running along with shadow boxing and bag work are what a boxer spends most of his time on. Pad work with a trainer and full contact sparring are also hallmarks of boxing. Other conditioning exercises used by boxers are known at floor work and consist of sit ups, medicine ball exercises and push ups. A strong core is heavily stressed by boxing trainers to absorb blows to the body and because the rotational power required in punches is generated from the core.
The first part of this video shows how boxing ranks next to other more traditional Martial Arts.
Boxing is often referred to as the “sweet science” due to the importance of technique in throwing punches and moving defensively. Boxes are recorded to have the strongest strike of any martial art or combat sport. This is due to the fact that boxers are taught to punch using their body and not their arms, the physics behind a boxers punch is to summon the maximum amount of ones bodyweight into each strike. In regards to defensive techniques boxing footwork and head movement requires years of practice to master. Bruce Lee incorporated many aspects of boxing into his Jeet Kune Do system.
To understand both punching power and perfect defensive movement watch this video of Mike Tyson training.
Most MMA fighters nowadays focus on boxing as their striking skill set. Although kicks can pay dividends in an MMA fight, the act of kicking leaves one vulnerable to getting taken down and so most strikes seen in MMA are fist strikes. Also, because of the small gloves used in MMA knockouts are far easier to achieve than in boxing fights where there is far more padding on gloves, so it is in the MMA fighters interest to utilize punches.
Some MMA fighters known for their pure boxing skills are Andre Arlovski and Marcus Davis. Andre Arlovski trains with hall of fame boxing instructor Freddie Roach and Marcus Davis was a pro boxer before competing in MMA.
Although boxing is considered a sport it must be remembered that it is a martial sport and should be viewed in the same category as other arts and sports such as Judo, Sambo and Muay Thai to name a few.
Pakistan has a growing boxing scene and is currently going up in the ranks in world competitions. A famous boxer of Pakistani origin is Amir Khan who won the silver medal in the olympics. He is also coached by Freddie Roach and is currently a world champion.
Sometimes known as Indian Wrestling or Pehlwani this form of wrestling dates from the 5th century B.C. Although indigenous to South Asia this form of grappling is thought to be originally influenced by Persian wrestling styles. In Pakistan, Kushti teachers are known as Ustads and in India (specifically amongst the Hindus) they are known as Guru’s.
The focus of Kushti as is common in other forms of wrestling is to pin both of your opponents shoulders to the ground. In practical terms, this pinning of your opponent exhibits positional dominance. So if one were to view Kushti training in terms of self defense or MMA competition, Kushti teaches the player take away your opponents striking weapons by closing the distance and bring him to the ground where he can be helplessly pinned and vulnerable to strikes from a dominant top position whereupon the only option for the pinned opponent is to escape from the bottom or be knocked unconscious.
Strength exercises are very important in Kushti. traditional exercises involve the use of large stones stone rings and clubs known as “joris.” Body weight exercises are also commonly used the two most important being the push up and the squat known as the Dand and Baitak respectively. These two exercises are done for hundreds of repetitions and form the foundation of the Kushti wrestlers training regime. Another popular strength building exercise is rope climbing which is essential in building the pulling strength required in Kushti wrestling.
Here is a short video showing some of the particular training methods to Kushti wrestling.
The training area in kushti is known as an Akhara and training sessions in traditional camps are typically 4-6 hours per day. Traditional wrestlers typically live and eat at the camp. A very strict diet is emphasized with certain foods being encouraged for their strength building properties, namely, milk, almonds and ghee. Spiced food as well as tobacco and alcohol is highly discouraged.
Kushti wrestlers have had a history of success competing in the Olympics and and in commercial bouts in the west. Many modern wrestling experts inclduing the renowned Karl Gotch have traveled to South Asia to learn Kushti techniques and train methods. Indeed many modern forms of wrestling such as shoot fighting and catch wrestling borrow throws and submissions from Kushti.
Here is a video with Kushti in action. As is common the use of a dhol (south asian drum) accompaniment is used similar to the use of music during Muay Thai bouts.
Here is another short documentary about life in a Kushti camp. Other than Muay Thai, Kushti is the only martial art with extremely rigorous workloads and gritty surroundings where fighters lives revolve around their sport.
And to finish off with on a lighter note, a somewhat humorous video of a Englishman in Lahore trying out Kushti.
Judo (meaning “gentle way” or “gentleness”) is a modern martial arts form originated in Japan by Jigoro Kano. It all started when Kano, as a teenager started Japanese Jujutsu but due to lack of teachers he found little success in it and later went on to learn Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū but a few years later after he started his master grew ill and died, after that Kano went on to learn Tenjin Shin’yō-ryū from another master. However both of his experiences were different from each other as his first master emphasized on free practice and formal exercises, whereas his second master emphasized on pre-arranged forms or (katas). Through dedication Kano soon received the status of master instructor. Unfortunately his second master took ill and Kano feeling that he still had very much to learn started Kitō-ryū which emphasizes on throwing techniques.
By this time Kano had developed many new techniques by combining all the forms he knew and started teaching them to 9 students from his master’s school at a Buddhist temple. This marked the birthplace of Judo and thus it started to grow and evolve. Judo was originally known as Kano Jiu-Jitsu or Kano Jiu-Do, and later as Kodokan Jiu-Do or simply Jiu-Do or Judo. In the early days, it was also still referred to generically simply as Jiu-Jitsu.
Much like modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Sambo, Judo also focuses on grappling, in fact both of the aforementioned styles are derivatives of Judo. While Judo includes a variety of throws, rolls, falls, throw downs, locks, chokes and strikes but it mainly focuses on groundwork and throwing. All techniques of Judo are divided in categories, for example Standing techniques are divided into two main categories Standing techniques and Sacrifice Techniques both these categories are divided into 4 more subcategories and so does each other technique of Judo.
In Judo sparring (randori) half of the time is spent sparring standing up (tachi-waza) and half the time on the ground (ne-waza).In sparring both the opponents may attack each other with Judo throws and/or grappling techniques. Striking techniques along with weapon techniques are reserved in the form but are prohibited from normal sparring. Sparring (randori) is considered much more effective than just regular practice of specific techniques as it develops strategies and reaction time and helps the practitioner get mentally prepared to face a resisting opponent. There are many different styles of randoris but the two styles most commonly and widely used are
A common saying among judoka (judo practitioner) is:
“The best training for judo is judo.”
Kano Jigoro’s Kodokan Judo is the most popular and well-known style of judo, but is not the only one. The terms judo and jujutsu were quite interchangeable in the early years, so some of these forms of judo are still known as jujutsu or jiu-jitsu either for that reason, or simply to differentiate them from mainstream judo. From Kano’s original style of judo, several related forms have evolved—some now widely considered to be distinct arts:
Olympic Judo: This is the predominant form of Kodokan judo.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Mitsuyo Maeda introduced judo to Brazil in 1914. Maeda taught judo to Carlos Gracie (1902–1994) and others in Brazil. Gracie named their development of Judo ‘Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’ in honor of the fact that in Japan and Brazil at that time, Judo was also known as ‘Kano Jiu-Jitsu’. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, considering itself independent of Judo, did not follow later changes in international Judo rules that were added to emphasize the standing phase of the fight, nor those rules that were introduced to ban the more dangerous techniques.
Judo-do: In Austria, Julius Fleck and others developed a system of throwing intended to extend Judo that they called “judo-do”.
Kawaishi-ryū jujutsu: Teaching in France, Mikonosuke Kawaishi developed Kawaishi-ryū jujutsu as an alternative approach to instruction that continued to teach many techniques banned in modern Olympic/Kodokan Judo competition.
Kosen Judo: As a sub-style of Kodokan Judo that became popularised in early 20th century Japanese inter-scholastic competition, Kosen style has the same range of techniques but greater latitude is permitted for ground technique. This style of Judo—arguably, like BJJ—is closer to the original early 1900s Judo than current Olympic Judo is.
Russian Judo: This distinctive style of Judo was influenced by Sambo. It is represented by well-known coaches such as Alexander Retuinskih and Igor Yakimov, and mixed martial arts fighters such as Igor Zinoviev, Fedor Emelianenko and Karo Parisyan. In turn, Russian Judo has influenced mainstream judo, with techniques such as the flying armbar being accepted into Kodokan Judo.
Sambo (especially Sport Sambo): Vasili Oshchepkov was the first European judo black belt under Kano. Oshchepkov went on to create Sambo partly from judo’s influence, integrating native Russian wrestling and other combative techniques into his new system. Oshchepkov died during the political purges of 1937 for refusing to deny his education and dan-rank in Japanese Judo under Kano. In their History of Sambo, Brett Jacques and Scott Anderson wrote that in Russia “judo and SOMBO were considered to be the same thing”—albeit with a different uniform and some differences in the rules
Notable Judo Practitioners:
By Ali Naseer