A Brief History of Judo

Kodokan was established in 1882 by Prof. Jigoro Kano.

Kodokan Judo was founded by Jigoro Kano, who as a youth began practicing jujutsu as a way to strengthen his frail body. Kano studied both the Tenjin Shinyo-ryu and Kito-ryu styles of classical jujutsu, eventually mastering their deepest teachings, and supplemented this training with an avid interest in other combative forms as well. Integrating what he considered the positive points of these with his own ideas and inspirations, he established a revised body of physical technique, and also transformed the traditional jujutsu principle of "defeating strength through flexibility" into a new principle of "maximum efficient use of physical and mental energy." The result was a new theoretical and technical system that Kano felt better matched the needs of modern people.

The essence of this system he expressed in the axiom "maximum efficient use of energy", a concept he considered both a cornerstone of martial arts and a principle useful in many aspects of life. Practical application of this principle, he felt, could contribute much to human and social development, including "mutual prosperity for self and others", which he identified as the proper goal of training. What Kano had created transcended mere technique to embrace a set of principles for perfecting the self. To reflect this, he replaced justu (technique) in the word "ju-jutsu" with the suffix do (path) to create a new name for his art: judo. His training hall he named "Ko-do-kan," or "a place to teach the path."

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