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Is Judo a Sport or a Self Defence?

Is Judo a Sport or a Self Defence?

A question that is often asked me is the following: Is Judo a Sport or a Self Defence?

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Self-defence is not taught by most clubs. Some because they think it is intrinsic to Judo, others because they prefer to concentrate on the sporting side. But some clubs do teach it as a supplement to training. But even without a specific program knowing how to throw an aggressor and more importantly knowing how to assess an aggressive situation so that you can avoid the conflict in the first place.

And the answer is both. No this is not an attempt to have my cake and eat it too. The reality is that from the very beginning Judo has been self-defence. It was developed out of Jujitsu the very art that the Samurai used to defend themselves. The sporting side came about because jujitsu schools would challenge each other to test their skills.

In fact, that is how Judo became so popular. In 1886 and 1888 the Tokyo Metropolitan Police supervised tournaments to determine the most suitable style for police training. Judo won decisively.

So why is Judo so rarely promoted as self-defence?

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Because from the very beginning it would have seemed obvious that it is.

Many clubs today do not promote Judo as self-defence for the same reason others still prefer to concentrate on just the sporting side. Still, others have a specific self-defence program that is derived to be less friendly to attackers.

But true self-defence is much more than knowing how to hit or kick. You also need to know how to grapple and most importantly how to fall. The latter is something that Judo is a specialist in.

But you also need to understand tactics. Even if that tactic is to know when to cross the road to avoid conflict. Judo is a master at learning tactics and teaching you how to control your emotion whilst in the middle of a conflict.

This is where the sporting side comes in. Through competition, you test your own tactics and confront those of your opponent and you learn to control yourself in a controlled conflict.

You may want to look for a club that teaches it as self-defence or you may be happy just to learn the art and make the application yourself. In either case, if you are looking for a Self-defence you should consider Judo. Even if you take it as a supplement to your other Martial art.

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