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The “Gentle Way” of Judo – Judo Influences

As we continue to our last post about judo, we will learn modern notable judo practitioners and judo influences in other martial arts.

Judo has been one of the primary martial arts displayed in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions since MMA’s inception. Several judo practitioners have made an impact in mixed martial arts. Notable judo trained MMA fighters include Olympic medalists Hidehiko Yoshida (Gold, 1992), Naoya Ogawa (Silver, 1992), Pawel Nastula (Gold, 1996), Satoshi Ishii (Gold, 2008), and Ronda Rousey (Bronze, 2008). Among the aforementioned judoka, Rousey might be the most popular by being the undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship Women’s Bantamweight Champion who won 9 of her 11 fights by submission. Rousey also became the first U.S. woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo at the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

ronda rousey

Ronda Jean Rousey, an American mixed martial artist, judoka and actress. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Many MMA fights are ended by submission holds most of which derive from judo. “Chokeholds are common in Jujitsu, judo and submission grappling, and most trainers discuss how fighter need to experience these techniques in order to learn how to resist them”.

Kano Jigoro’s Kodokan judo is the most popular and well-known style of judo, but is not the only one. The terms judo and jujutsu were quite interchangeable in the early years, so some of these forms of judo are still known as jujutsu or jiu-jitsu either for that reason, or simply to differentiate them from mainstream judo. From Kano’s original style of judo, several related forms have evolved—some now widely considered to be distinct arts:

  • Russian judo: This distinctive style of judo was influenced by Sambo. It is represented by well-known coaches such as Alexander Retuinskih and Igor Yakimov, and mixed martial arts fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko and Karo Parisyan. In turn, Russian judo has influenced mainstream judo, with techniques such as the flying armbar being accepted into Kodokan judo.
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu: In 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda introduced judo to Brazil. Maeda taught judo to Carlos Gracie (1902–1994) and others in Brazil. The Gracie family named their development of judo ‘Gracie jiu-jitsu’. This style emphasized the newaza aspects of judo and retains many of the kansetsu waza that were subsequently prohibited in competitive judo. Brazilian jiu-jitsu was popularized worldwide following its success in high profile mixed martial arts tournaments in the 1990s.
  • Kosen judo (高專柔道): Sometimes erroneously described as a separate style of judo, Kosen judo is a competition rules set of Kodokan judo that was popularized in the early 20th century for use in Japanese Special High Schools Championships held at Kyoto Imperial University.[63] The word “Kosen” is an acronym of Koto Senmon Gakko (高等専門学校, literally “Higher Professional School”). Kosen judo’s focus on newaza has drawn comparisons with Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


1. Judo. Wikipedia.

2. Featured Image from Wikimedia Commons

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