olympic martial art

Olympic Martial Art: The First and Its History

Martial arts have been part of the Olympic games since ancient times. After that, several hand-to-hand combination sports took place. Like wrestling, boxing, etc. In this modern world that we have, there are 6 martial arts included in the Olympics games. They are boxing, fencing, judo, karate, taekwondo, and wrestling. In this article, we will talk more about the first-ever Olympic martial art. And that is none other than Judo. 

Olympic Martial Art: 1882

Jigoro Kano founded Judo as a martial art and educational system. Kano’s purpose during that time was to create a martial art that focused. On self-defense techniques and physical education. While also developing the personal and moral aspects of practitioners. With that purpose in mind, Jigoro Kano combined different traditional Japanese jujutsu styles.

1914 – 1918

World War I happened during these years and as a result, there were no Olympic Games held. But this historical happening in the world still impacted the development of the Olympic martial art. Especially for Judo. The war disrupted international events, including the Olympics. In fact, in 1916, Summer Olympics did not also push through. The succeeding years, fortunately, shed light on international games with the end of the war. 


1964 was a significant moment for Judo, as the first Olympic martial art. Japan hosted the Summer Olympics and the inclusion of Judo marked the debut of a martial art in the modern Olympic program. As Judo gained popularity and with the effort of its founder, it landed a spot in the Olympic games. Judo competitions held in different weight categories. For both men and women. The event showcased the skills of practitioners from different countries. The inclusion of Judo in the Olympic games brought greater attention to the art. Resulting in the worldwide growth and recognition of Judo. 


This year was also an important year for athletes, especially for Judo practitioners. As the first Olympic martial art, everyone was aiming to qualify for the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London. Several qualification tournaments and events happened worldwide, allowing Judo practitioners to accumulate points and secure their spot in the Olympic games. This was also the year were International Judo Federation (IJF) implemented several rules. With the goal of enhancing the sport’s excitement and appeal. The changes and modifications have also become helpful during the Olympic games. 


The 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed during the year and was rescheduled for 2021. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government made the decision to postpone the games to ensure the safety of the athletes. The games successfully happened in 2021 and retained the name Tokyo 2020 for branding purposes. Judo, as the first Olympic martial art was still able to showcase the skills of practitioners. 

Since the inclusion of Judo in the Olympic games, the journey has not been easy. Judo as a sport being played by many and as one of the Olympic martial art continued to be one of the most popular martial arts in the world. And whether it is included in international games or not, it will surely still be popular with people because of its unique techniques. 

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