Judo was established as a new sport in 1882 by Jigoro Kano, a polymath of diminutive physique but with a spirit of a giant. Drawing from the ancient art of juijitsu, Kano created a new style in which the competitive aspect was a vital element. He eliminated the more dangerous techniques such as finger and toe locks and kicking and punching and selected the most practical methods. Judo therefore is an extremely effective martial art that is at the same time very safe. Judo is the perfect art through which to improve health, learn the art of self-defense as well as learn self-discipline.

“Do” means ‘the way’ and refers to a better way to lead one’s life. Judo is the path to a life of virtue. Judo is therefore much more than a fighting style and was intended to achieve an idealized society of healthy and responsible citizens. Judo teaches respect, self-esteem, confidence and self defense.

The emblem of the Kodokan is an 8 petaled flower of the cherry tree. It was adopted by feudal Samurai because the flower falls at the peak of its beauty. It symbolizes the maturity of the individual, summarized by the expression, “Strong within, but gentle without.” The fire red at the center symbolizes the “fire” or “strength” of the individual. This is cloaked by the gentle humility of the white exterior symbolizing a union of strength and gentleness. It is a sign of personal attainment.

Judo develops healthy traits including:

  1. Confidence to take on new challenges.
  2. Self-discipline
  3. A sense of achievement
  4. Social skills
  5. Physical fitness

Judo entails physical contact and this allows children to release any pent up energy in a safe, controlled atmosphere.  It gives even hyperactive children the release to calm down and focus on school work.

In the United Kingdom, judo was found to decrease bullying in the schools. The bullied students found more power and the bullies themselves learned self-discipline and refrained from bullying others.

Judo in Bhutan is promoted by the Bhutan Judo Association in affiliation with the Bhutan Olympic Committee.