Do you recognize judoka’s outside the dojo?

Can you recognize them outside the dojo? People who do judo I mean. Men, woman and children who study and practice the arts of judo. Wait, do you think you would? Do these athletes behave any different in comparison to people who don’t do judo?

Several studies have shown us that children who practice martial arts for a longer period are able to perform better on specific tasks. Those same studies also show us that practicing martial arts has a positive effect on the Target specific goals set by the younger generation.So, in conclusion, one can assume that doing judo should be noticeable in daily activities of those who practice this marvelous sport.

The physical use of judo is obvious; A side from participating in a workout, judo will only be used in case of an emergency when one has no other choice than using it as a defend against violence. However, mentally, judo can take us much further than most people are aware of.

Professor Kano, the creator of Judo, did not only teach the physical part of judo but he also put a lot of weight on the mental aspect of judo. In fact, it was so important to him that he included the mental well-being of his athletes in the foundation of judo. He described it as “Jita Kyoei” which is roughly translated as Mental well-being for all. Does who do judo don’t only practice techniques, but they are also trained in discipline and Honor.  Like in more Asian martial arts, judo uses the “code of honor.”






Unfortunately, to many outsiders it looks as if dojo’s and schools are using old fashion and outdated rules. Maybe some rules don’t ‘fit’ in today’s modern society but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore them and push them aside. Old fashion or not, a lot of rules have their roots in the foundation of judo and are relaxed to mutual honor and respect.

An athlete who follows and respects these rules will gain mutual respect from their opponent and sparing partners. Dojo’s that uphold these rules will, in general, ‘produce’ more honorable and respectful athletes then those who do not. Off-course, every school or dojo will adjust the old rules to their situation and livings and that is more than okay. However, the essence of those rules should be the same in all schools, no matter where you study judo and they should be in close harmony with the rules that were established by professor Kano, the founder of judo.

Someone who does judo for a longer period will use want he learned from doing judo, to build his character. Maybe the athlete is not self-aware of this but, judo will shape his character for the better. It’s a matter of time but sooner or later it will reflect on his daily activities.

On the judo-mat, we learn to respect our fellow athletes and we treed each-other accordingly. We learn to be proud but humble when winning and we learn to coop with or losses.  Honestly, courage, respect endurance and being helpful to other are all qualities we learn while doing judo and no one can deny that the same qualities are just as useful in our daily Life. Whether you know it or not, you are using those qualities in your daily life as we speak! Judo has become part of your personality and even without knowing it, it has already built part of your character. Judo and you are one, a symbiotic unity. On a daily base you are confronted with situation that you need to master. For example, during work. But besides using your unaware character judo skills, you can choose to do judo willingly, even when you are not on a judo-mat.

Sensei Edgar Kruyning once told a speech in which he also mentioned this. He said that you can practice judo while being at work or while standing, waiting in a cue. (Walk straight and not curved). I strongly believe that he made a very strong point in saying this. Another example is to place daily situations and discussion making in a judo context. Next time that you find yourself in a stressful of conflict situation, ask yourself: “How would I solve this if it happens while doing judo?” Maybe you can think of an honorable way to solve the conflict with mutual respect and understanding. Another way of doing judo while not being on the judo-mat is to practice your judo skills in your mind by imagining the movement involved. This is a good bedtime exercise and it might be more effective than counting sheep.


But, to get back to our main question, would you recognize judo athletes in their daily lives? Maybe you should ask yourself first whether you are using your own judo qualities outside the dojo at its best. After all, example is better than precept, is it not? It is no different when teaching judo. You will need to master a technique before you can teach it to other and this also applies to teaching the values of judo. If you are more self-aware while doing judo, you should be more capable of seeing the judo qualities in others. So, give it a go and make yourself aware of how judo influences your daily life. Who knows, you might find more judo minded people in your life than you would possibly imagine.

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