By Zou Qi Lin (23S06O), Captain; Amber Lee (23S03K), Captain; Tayvier Lim (23S06L), Vice-Captain; Sarika (23S06I), Vice-Captain
Muay Thai, kickboxing, taekwondo, karate…when you hear the names of such martial arts, what comes to mind is probably the powerful punches and fanciful kicks we see in movies. To you, Judo is probably no different. But if you think that way, allow us to correct your misconceptions and share more about what we do in this CCA!
What is Judo?
Judo (柔道), which means “the gentle way” in Japanese, was founded by Jigoro Kano-sensei in 1882! Given his small physique, Kano-sensei created judo by formulating two key principles: seiryoku zen’yō (精力善用, maximum efficiency, minimum effort) and jita kyōei (自他共栄, mutual welfare and benefit).
Therefore, instead of resisting a more powerful opponent which will result in defeat, adjusting to and evading the opponent’s attack will cause him to lose his balance, reducing his power and making it possible for weaker opponents to beat significantly stronger ones, demonstrating the concept jū yoku gō o seisu (柔能く剛を制す, 柔能剛制, softness controls hardness).
The different belt colours and what they represent.
How does Judo work?
No punching and kicking. Quite the opposite of what you thought martial arts were like, right?
Well, instead of that, the main objective of Judo is to use throws (tachiwaza) to take down opponents, and subdue them with groundwork techniques (newaza) like holds, chokeholds or joint locks. If the opponent is thrown on one shoulder, it is considered a Wazari(half point). If the opponent lands on both shoulders, you earn an Ippon(one point). You will win the bout by either scoring an Ippon or two Wazari.
While judo throws look and sound painful, judokas protect themselves by practising breakfalls (ukemi). The learning and mastering of a breakfall is the first and most essential step to learning judo as a proper breakfall lowers the risks of injury to a great extent. You will only be qualified to learn how to throw after you have mastered how to fall safely from a throw.
After a warm up routine, we will start off with a technical practice session. The coach usually teaches us new techniques before giving us time to drill the techniques at our own pace while he walks around to correct our mistakes. This usually takes up the majority of every training session as we aim to develop muscle memory so these techniques can be executed swiftly during competition.
After that, we will be given time for randori, which is the sparring segment of training. Everyone will be “fighting” at the same time as we try out the techniques we have learnt earlier. This is usually the most enjoyable part of training as we get to have a lot of fun sparring one another and improving as a batch!
Our batch in action during training!
Like all other martial arts, we need to develop a strong physique to be able to execute the various techniques effectively. It is therefore no surprise that physical training (PT) is a regular part of every training. Our coach places great emphasis on the idea of “mind over body”, helping us to push past our limits and persevere through the final and most painful part of the training session.
CCA sessions will be held at the gymnasium at the Year 1-4 side of the campus. During off-season periods, we will train twice a week onTuesday and Thursday from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. A few months before the National School games, we will add an extra session on Saturday, 9:00 am to 11:30 am.
Since you’ve already scrolled this far, why not give Raffles Judo a shot? Most of our judokas begin with a white belt; no prior experience is required! Before learning tachi waza and newaza, beginners first learn how to breakfall properly so as to ensure their safety. If you’re worried about taking up this as a completely new sport, fret not as there will be friendly coaches, teachers and seniors who are willing to guide you along every step of the way!
What are you waiting for? Throw aside your worries and join Raffles Judo today! See you on the mats!