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Thread: Why do Judoka emphasize the sport aspect over the martial art aspect?

  1. #1
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    Default Why do Judoka emphasize the sport aspect over the martial art aspect?

    Because I'm trying to find a martial art and I like what I see from Judo but Judoka talk about Judo from a sport perspective only and not as a martial art. They keep bringing up the Olympics, when MOST people will never be able to qualify for the Olympics. Further, that gives the feeling Judo is a young person's game only. Whereas a sport is something most people play when they're young competitively, a martial art is a lifelong pact and relationship between an art that has an unlimited ceiling of growth and mastery. Sport gives off the feeling that Judo is merely a game. They even call Judoka "players".

    This emphasis on sport rather than martial art is making me consider other venues and not pursue Judo because as a sport, instructors will naturally give more attention to those who can PLAY that sport at a competitive level, and that usually includes young kids or teenagers, and not 29-30 year olds like me. If I'm not going to get full attention from teachers, why bother?

    This confusion could be really useful to help me figure out what to do, but i honestly believe that this distinction is one of many ways that harms Judo's name and image from people pursuing an ART.

  2. #2
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    There are judo dojos with a focus on competition, and there are recreational dojos which are more like what you're looking for, and there are some which nicely accommodate both kinds of players. This comes I think with most martial arts that have a competitive aspect to them.

    In any case, the important thing is the training. The self-improvement part of budo comes from rigorous training, not navel-gazing.

    As far as the term "player" goes, I wouldn't get too wrapped up in it. It's been the topic of debate many times but ultimately it's not that relevant. A lot of Japanese people say "player". Some people attribute it to a poor translation of what they mean. Others say it's accurate because ultimately a match is just a game, there is no life or death outcome.
    Neil Gendzwill
    Saskatoon Kendo Club

  3. #3
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    Budo is a set of disciplines. It is a means to an end. The end is whatever is in the heart of the practitioner. It can be different things to different people.
    Ed Boyd

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    Generally this is because they have not been taught the totality of judo, only the transient sporting element. Modern judo has coaches nor sensei, players not students, opponents not partners and weight lifting not kata. What would Kano say?
    Dr Llyr C Jones (ジョーンズ)

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    Judo dojo are all over the map but the focus should be clear if you speak to the instructors. If they can't articulate it, I'd guess sport oriented.

    Go watch and see if the lessons and flow are interesting. Any decent dojo will let prospective students watch. Go several times if necessary to see under different days, instructors etc.

    Lance Gatling
    Embassy Judo
    Tokyo
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

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    Good advice from Lance. Almost everywhere outside of Japan, judo will be treated as a sport, pretty much exclusively, and the emphasis of the teaching will be on success in organised competition. This is what the NGBs expect, build a broad competitive base and hopefully an Olympic Champion emerges at the top at some point. Almost all NGB funding is correlated to elite success so it is understandable.

    There is of course a lot more to judo than this, but there are only so many hours available for class, so most classes focus on this aspect. Go talk to the teachers, visit a few classes and see what suits you.
    Dr Llyr C Jones (ジョーンズ)

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    Living in Tokyo for 30 years, I've examined a number of martial arts.

    A typical engagement has been I show up and ask politely if I may watch.
    If not, I'm gone.
    If yes, I watch.
    If interested, I thank them at the end of the session and ask if I can come back.
    If yes, I come back. If no, no go.
    Coming back on a different day of the week, I get to see how the assistants teach, how students react to them, who is showing up what day of the week.

    After a couple of times of this, if someone is interested in you, they'll ask if you want to practice.

    Then I decide.....

    After all, joining a dojo or martial art should be a long term engagement, so no need to rush into it. And if folks are reasonable, they want their new students to be aware of, and hence more likely to continue, the art.

    If they just want the contract downpayment + the first month, you might want to reconsider.

    Lance Gatling
    Embassy Judo
    Tokyo
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

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    i had the same thought process when i started Judo.

    I study shotokan as a main style but wanted to add throws and locks to my arsenal and regular training, this pointed me toward Judo. Most clubs in my area are purely competition based, one in particular is highly successful in that regard. I trained for a while and realised that my knees can't cope with high level randori, so I quit went to physio etc.. anyway! i'd been missing the style and began a frank conversation with the instructor and stated my desire to pursue a purely technical progression which he was open to. We now study the Kata (something he does not do in classes generally) and I am graded on technical ability rather than competition results.

    in summary i'd suggest discussing with some sensei and see what they can offer, or look toward Kodokan Judo depends what country i guess

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