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The Role Of Judo In Society

Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, had a vision for his sport that went outside of a Judo ring. In fact, his desire was for his students to infer the principles, etiquette, and techniques of Judo to improve themselves on a personal level. As he said in his own words, "The purpose of the study of judo is to perfect yourself and to contribute to society." In essence, his aim was for Judo to become a system of physical, moral and intellectual education. 

This was to be achieved through a comprehensive state of health and fitness, defined as a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being; not merely the absence of illness or infirmity. The role of a Judoka is to be a leading example in this light. Judo emphasizes mental and social well-being and a Judoka should dedicate themselves to ensuring that there are admirable to their society outside of Judo.

Physical Roles

The physical benefits of Judo are clear. Due to the demands of the sport in training and competition, a Judoka will maintain good physical condition and will display the ability to deal with the requirements of most environments. A healthy and fit physical profile helps reduce risks of diseases and stress.  


Figure 1: Neil Adams was a Judoka in his youth (left) but his physique even when he's over 50 years old (Right) in addition he has created fitness videos to help people with their personal fitness.

Mental Roles

Mental well-being is an important aspect of Judo A complete Judoka will be able to control their impulses and their emotions. Through their Judo experience, they learn to be more socially sensitive to situations and people around them. Through rituals of bowing, Judokas learn politeness and respect. Through the Principles of Gentleness Judo also teaches them modesty. A  Judoka would not celebrate as a football player would when they score a goal: exuberant and outward. A Judoka does not celebrate in such a way after the match or even when they are receiving honors, they are mindful and personify humility. Judokas will also learn how to overcome their fears, how to think quickly and work under pressure.

Social Roles

The principle of Seiryoku-Zenyo is ‘Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort.' This principle allows Judokas to develop an outstanding work ethic, a characteristic that benefits them outside of the Judo ring. Judokas will have good social manners and etiquette as they develop to be successful citizens of their respective communities. Many local Dojos have codes that enforce their Judokas to partake in community service. Judokas will often clean up streets around their neighborhoods, provide shelter and food for those in need as Dojos are a welcomed, safe heaven. Recently the international organization Peace and Sport and the International Judo Federation (IJF) signed a global agreement aimed at education and development around the globe using Judo as a forefront. The organizations have teamed up and through their support, technical resources and expertise they aim to help improve living conditions for thousands of people in distress. This partnership demonstrates the role Judo is playing in society and the Federation's determination to help the disadvantaged communities on the planet. In this way, judo students play a significant role in developing societies, and improving communities and creating new ones for the future.


Figure 2: International Judo Federation launches refugee camp programme for Judo in Zambia

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