Olympic sport since 1964
Judo means "the gentle way" in Japanese. Of course, it is derived in part
from jujitsu, the hand-to-hand combat technique of ancient samurai warriors, and
everything is relative. While throwing opponents to the floor wins most matches,
it is the only Olympic sport where submission holds allow choking an opponent or
breaking an arm.
||Georgia's Irakli Tsirekidze (in Blue) competes with Spain's David
Alarza during their under 90kg bout at the Men World Judo Cup in Lisbon
April 16, 2006. Tsirekidze won the gold medal.
Developed by Dr Jigoro Kano in the
1880s, the sport broke into the Olympic Games in 1964 at Tokyo. The host country
could add one sport, and Japan chose judo. Four weight classes were established,
and Japanese entries promptly won three.
However, in the fourth, the open class, a 1.98-metre Dutchman named Anton
Geesink defeated three-time Japanese national champion Kaminaga Akio before
15,000 people at Nippon Budokan Hall. And then he beat him again. It followed
victories earlier in the year over other top Japanese opponents, deeply bruising
the theory that a skilled judoka could defeat any opponent of any size.