Modern Judo has its roots in jujitsu, a form of martial art that dates back to Japanese history over a thousand years ago. Judo, however, is a relatively recent discovery and owes its existence to the genius of one man: the Dr Jigoro Kano.
Jigoro Kano was born in the seaside town of Mikage in 1860. He and his family moved to Tokyo in 1871. Mr. Kano studied political science and literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo. He became an instructor of Gakushuin in 1882 and eleven years later was an appointed director of the Koto Sheehan, a school teacher training. «In 1909, Professor Kano became the first Japanese member of the International Olympic Committee and two years later, he founded the Japanese Athletic Association and became its first president. Because of the many contributions to the sport, Professor Kano is called «Father of Physical Education and Sport» in Japan.
One of the principles of judo is that a stronger opponent can be defeated using his force against him. Professor Kano explains: «Suppose we estimate the strength of a man in units of one. Let us say that the strength of this man is 10 units, whereas my strength, less than his, is 7 units. Then if he pushes me with all his force, I shall certainly be pushed back or thrown down, even if I use all my strength against him. This would happen from opposing strength to strength. But if instead of opposing him, I leave him unresisted, withdrawing my body just as much as he pushes, at the same time keeping my balance, he will naturally lean forward and lose his balance. In this new position, he may become weak (not in actual physical strength, but because of his awkward position) as to reduce his strength for the moment, say to 3 units only instead of 10 units. But meanwhile I, by keeping my balance, retain my full strength, as originally represented by 7 units. Here then, I am momentarily in a superior position, and I can defeat my opponent by using only half of my strength, or 3 1/2 units against his 3 units. This leaves one-half of my strength available for any other purpose. If I had greater strength than my opponent, I could of course push him back. But even if I wished to and had the power to do so, it would still be better for me first to give way, because by so doing, I should have greatly saved my energy and exhausted my opponent’s.»