Competition - Is It A Basic Fundamental Of Judo?

There are some Judoka who have taken the position that the Olympics, and other international competition that are related - was never Jigoro Kano’s ideal, and is fundamentally undermining Kano’s concept of what Judo was to be.

This is the same crowd that often denigrates the use of strength in Judo.  Both concepts, of course, are simply wrong.

The annual ‘Red & White” competition held by the Kodokan is one of the longest running competitions held in the world.  Judoka forget that it was once a requirement for Judoka to compete - or, if injured, to at least attend.  It’s also just a tad hard to miss the fact that it was Jigoro Kano who was pushing to get Judo admitted to the Olympics in the first place.

The speculation that Kano would have been disappointed is simply another way to say that he was wrong when he made the decision to attempt to place Judo as an Olympic sport.  My opinion is probably obvious - Kano was absolutely correct … the exposure that Judo gets as an Olympic sport is fantastic.

Some Judoka might not understand exactly what you get out of competition.  Martial training has always been at a loss to duplicate precisely the rush of emotion and circumstances that occur when suddenly facing a necessity to defend your life.  Judo is no exception… it is, after all; a martial art with which you can defend your life if needed.

Competition - while not a perfect substitute for a mugging attempt (or similar situation) - does provide that sort of experience.  You’re facing someone whom you may never have seen before - you have only the most general concept of his abilities - and you have to use all of your skill, strength, and training to win.

If you’ve never been to a shiai before - you’re missing out on a vital part of Judo training.  Overcoming your fear, putting your training into play against a total stranger… these are important concepts for Judoka to learn.