The Kokusai Budoin, International Martial Arts Federation, is comprised of seven divisions representing the various Japanese martial arts. These include Judo, Kendo, Karatedo, Aikido, Iaido, Nihon Jujutsu and Kobudo. Each division has an extensive heritage rooted in the traditions of classical martial arts.

Historical Overview

Prof. Jigoro Kano founded the Kodokan in 1882 at Eishoji temple in Tokyo, Japan. A graduate of Tokyo Imperial University, Jigoro Kano was an educator of great renown who was instrumental in introducing physical education to the Japanese national curriculum. Throughout his distinguished career, he served as the director of the Kodokan, headmaster Tokyo Teachers Training Institute (the present-day Tokyo University of Education), and was the first Japanese Olympic Chairman.

Based primarily on Tenjin Shinyo-ryu, Kito-ryu, and Yoshin-ryu styles of Jujutsu, Jigoro Kano developed a comprehensive system he called Judo, the way of flexibility, that emphasized the larger educational value of training in attack and defense, so that it could be a path or way of life that all people could participate in and benefit from.

What is Judo?

Judo practice includes two major aspects of training, one called randori, and the other kata. Randori, or free exercise, is practiced under conditions of actual contest. It includes nage-waza (throws) and katame-waza (grappling) as well as osaekomi-waza (immobilizations), shime-waza (chokes) and kansetsu-waza (joint locks). Kata, which literally means form, is a formal system of prearranged exercises, including, throwing, immobilizations, joint locks, striking, and the use of weapons. Additionally, Judo is an Olympic sport practiced by millions the world-over, and competition is a major aspect of regular training. However, it should be noted that Prof. Kano did not promote or favor the concept of Judo becoming an Olympic sport, as he maintained Budo and sports to be based on different principles.

The techniques of Judo are based on the principles of ju yoku go o seisu (gentleness controls strength) and sei ryoku zen yo jita kyoei (maximum efficiency and mutual benefit in all endeavors).

"The aim of Judo is to utilize physical and mental strength most effectively. Its training is to understand the true meaning of life through the mental and physical training of attack and defense. You must develop yourself as a person and become a useful citizen to society."
– Prof. Jigoro Kano

IMAF Judo Division

The Judo Division has been led by some of the greatest names in Judo, including Kazuo Ito, Meijin Judo 10-dan, Tokuji Oshita, Hanshi Judo 9-dan, and the current Chief Director, Shizuya Sato, Hanshi Judo 9-dan.

IMAF strives to maintain the true character of Kodokan Judo emphasizing balanced development of Budo, rather than sports and championships. Additionally, IMAF preserves the kata nage ura no kata, form of counter throws, devised and perfected by Grandmasters Kyuzo Mifune and Kazuo Ito.

Judo Techniques  
A comprehensive list of Kodokan Judo Techniques.

IMAF Organization Chart  
An overview of the IMAF organization worldwide.
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