Professor Jigoro Kano
Judo has its roots in ju-jitsu, which goes back many centuries in Japanese history when it was a brutal and often lethal method of self-defence and unarmed combat. Judo was established as a modern physical activity when in 1882 Professor Jigoro Kano founded his Kodokan Judo. Responsible for education he was aware that physical education in his country at that time was sadly lacking. Jealous ju-jitsu masters began to question this system and the matter could only be settled by arranging a tournament between the various schools.
This was done in 1886 and the outcome was a totally victorious Kodokan. Japanese police officials had been watching the proceedings closely; they were looking for an acceptable method of apprehending and controlling aggressive law-breakers without resorting to weapons. To them Judo was the answer and it is used in Japanese police training to this day.
From that time, Judo schools were established in many countries and the first Judo club to open in Europe, the Budokwai which still operates today, was founded in 1918 by Gunji Koizumi who became known later as "The Father of British Judo". There are now nearly 1,000 Judo clubs registered with the British Judo Association in the United Kingdom.
Since the inclusion of Judo in the 1964 Olympic Games it has been regarded as a modern Olympic combat sport although some followers still consider it very much an "art form". Kano said that Judo is a teaching for life itself and with it we learn to overcome the pitfalls and obstacles of everyday living.