This is a rather difficult skateboarding grab, as it involves the removal of one foot from the board. This is quite tricky to do and requires a lot of practice.

Go off a jump and get alot of height. Grab the board in a mute grab then bend your knees up as if beginning a tweak. Before getting to the tweak stage, however, take one of your feet off the board and straighten it out down below you. When you are ready to land replace your foot and return to your normal position.

Note: This is a very time consuming trick. Get alot of air before trying it. It is also virtually impossible to add into a combo.

A short insight into the gentle way: Judo

What is Judo?

Judo is a martial art, one of the few that are pure sports martial arts.

As a fitness programme, Judo can be quite effective, but even more so as a personal development sport. In today's society, touching other people is getting sadly rare in the western world. Although many new judokas (a judoka is someone who does judo) might find this unusual or even frightening, close contact of this kind has been proved to have a positive effect psychologically.

Judo is a full contact sport without kicks or punches. In practise, this means that you do not need any protective gear, and the danger of being injured is close to non-existant. This also means that it is a cheap sport - the only equipment needed is a Gi (a Judo suit). The club where you practise will have mats to train on.

Strictly, as self defense combat, Judo is pretty much useless, but this is not what the sport is about. (you might be able to defend yourself on the street using Judo, but if it is self defense you want, I'd suggest you'd have a look at Jitsu or Tae Kwon Do instead.)

Even though Judo is a great fitness sport, there are plenty of opportunities to make it more serious and compete at a range of different levels, all from Dojo championships to the olympic games.

What do you learn practising Judo?

The ranking system in Judo

Judo, like many other martial arts, uses a belt system to symbolize how far a judoka has come.

  • White (not really a belt - this just keeps your pants up :)
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Black
    • The black belt has different gradations, from 1st Dan and upwards

Historically, the ranking system wasn't a range of different belts. Martial artists would just never wash their belts. When they started out, the belt would be white. After many years of wear and tear, the belt would get darker and darker, eventually being black.

A very short history of Judo.

Judo has its origins in Japan. It was founded in 1882 by Dr Jigoro Kano (1860 - 1938), as a form of Jiu Jitsu. Judo translates into "The Gentle Way"

After the second world war, the occupation forces forbade all practice of martial arts (because Japanese soldiers had been taught martial arts during WW2), except Judo. Naturally, this had strong influence on the popularity of Judo.

In 1949, the Japanese Judo Federation was formed, led by Risei Kano, the son of Jigoro Kano

The history of how Judo was introduced to Europe is a rather funny one: (copied from a leaflet from the British Judo Association):

"With the intention of establishing a ju-jutsu school in England, Mr E W Barton Wright sponsored a visit in 1899 of a team of Japanese judo experts. The project failed but those who stayed took to the stage to earn a living. Best known among them was Yukio Tani, who toured music halls offering challengers £1 per minute for every minute they lasted beyond five and £50 if they defeated him. The prize money was rarely (if ever) paid. Over the following decade or so many Japanese "showmen" performed on stages around the country performing frivolous tricks linked with ju-jutsu. For all their showmanship, these men were very capable ju-jutsu players. Their real contribution to the growth of judo outside Japan was made in the books they published and the instruction they gave." "Tani remained in England after his compatriots had returned home and in 1920 was formally appointed chief instructor to a new club for "the study of systems developed by the samurai":the Budokwai. Neither he nor the club's founder Gunji Koizumi, could have foreseen that they were creating an institution soon to become the most famous judo school outside Japan."

In 1964, Judo was introduced as an game in the Olympics. Currently, millions of people are active Judokas.

-30-

To properly discuss judo's benefits as a martial sport amongst other sports and martial arts in America, we must first define some terms.

What is the difference between a sport and an art? A sport is any physical activity undertaken primarily for the personal enjoyment gained from exercising one's body or from competing with others. An art is any activity in which the major goal is, depending on whether the art is focused on creation or performance, either self-expression or the quest to improve one's skills in that art so as to approach perfection in execution. In a performance art, the goal of perfect skills execution can almost never be achieved even by the most skilled/talented, but personal satisfaction can be gained via consistent improvement and competent (if imperfect) performance.

There is obviously therefore much overlap between sport and art. An artist seeking to improve his or her technique will usually compete in some way with his or her peers. Likewise, a sporting competitor will constantly seek to improve and refine his or her performance in order to win. Everyone who watches ballet or ice skating knows that performance artists regularly execute great feats of athletic skill, and everyone who watches sports such as football and basketball knows that athletes can perform moves of great skill and artistry.

However, it should be noted that martial arts occupy an odd niche in this scheme. The martial arts require a high degree of skill, and many martial arts maneuvers are quite graceful and beautiful. However, unlike other performing arts which focus on beautiful movement and self-expression, the martial arts are highly goal-oriented, and that goal is to destroy, not create. There is little if any goal of self-expression involved in most of the martial arts (though one could consider the act of convincing an attacker to run away to be valid self-expression). However, many martial arts styles have a heavy focus on spiritual development and enlightenment; this element is absent in other performing arts. And in the martial arts, all physical effort is put toward developing practical skills of self-defense and attack. In light of the martial arts focus on practical skills with beautiful movement as a by-product (a highly valued one in styles such as kung fu and capoeira, true, but still secondary to the practical goals of being able to hit, throw, etc. effectively), it seems that the martial arts should instead be called martial crafts (this, of course, is in line with the closer translation of martial arts as "martial ways," but in this country "art" sounds more appealing than "craft").

The martial arts can be further broken down into two categories: martial arts and martial sports. Martial arts such as kung fu and hapkido focus entirely on developing skill for the sake of self-defense, self-improvement, and spiritual enlightenment. Martial sports such as judo focus mainly on the development of skills for the sake of winning competitions (though they do focus on mental training). And some styles blur the line: karate, aikido, and taekwondo focus on self-defense to a great degree, but in many styles students are expected to test themselves in tournaments against other students.

So, how does judo compare to other martial arts? And how does it compare to other common American sports?

Because all martial arts focus on self-defense, and because there are so many styles in existence that it would be impossible to compare judo to even a fraction of them, let's compare judo to U.S. Hapkido Federation-style hapkido, a highly practical, jujitsu-like Korean art.

Both styles have roots in Japanese jujitsu of the Edo period, but since then they have diverged. Sport judo teaches throws (via unbalancing and using leverage to hurl one's opponent to the ground), leg sweeps, and ground fighting (pinning and locking). Hapkido students likewise learn throws (via a combination of unbalancing and applying joint locks that make it more pleasant to the opponent to go down than to resist), leg sweeps, and ground fighting (pinning, locking, pummeling and limb breaking). However, hapkido also teaches kicks, strikes, blocks, the aforementioned joint locks/breaks, and weapons teachniques (baton, staff, cane, nunchaku, etc.)

The focus in hapkido is on kicking, striking, and joint locking, especially at the lower ranks. Because of this, a lower belt judoka will likely be far more proficient at throwing and falling and will have a better ability to use his or her body weight and leverage to unbalance an opponent. However, while that same judoka will have attained physical abilities that will aid him or her in a self-defense situation, the hapkido student will likely be much better prepared for real physical conflict and will be able to stage a wider, more effective range of responses.

Another issue is the relative strenuousness of the two styles. Because hapkido focuses on joint locking/breaking, there may be many class sessions where students do not engage in strenuous cardiovascular activity. Judo is highly strenuous, and excellent for building muscle tone. Because of the physical benefits and the extra focus on throwing and ground work, judo would be an excellent cross-training activity for the hapkido student. After all, hapkido hapilly encompasses a wide range of techniques, and if the student learns a useful new maneuver in addition to improving his or her physique, so much the better. Likewise, judoka who wish to really learn practical self-defense techniques would do well to take some hapkido, as long as they can remember not to inadvertently use it during a judo match.

So, how does judo compare with other American sports? Unlike many sports (e.g., tennis, bicycling, baseball, etc.), it is an excellent all-round strength, endurance, and flexibility developer. And because so much of a judoka's early training focuses on safety techniqes, the sport is actually safer than sports such as football, basketball, hockey, and roller blading. Furthermore, as mentioned before, students do learn some level of practical self-defense skills. However, many people may find the apparent violence inherent in the sport to be off-putting. Likewise, a weak or poorly conditioned or uncoordinated student (whose physical skills would improve greatly from learning judo) may try the sport and then quit after a few sessions out of a feeling of discouragement and inadequacy (thus, the compassionate judo instructor should watch for these students and provide them with extra encouragement and technical advice).

Judo's closest analog is wrestling (both freestyle and Greco Roman). Both sports benefit players with increased strength, endurance, and flexibility, and both are Olympic competitions (judo became an Olympic sport in 1964). However, unlike wrestling, women can participate in judo (though the high level of body contact may make mixed gender matches uncomfortable to the players). And because judo is a more "stand-up" style of grappling than Western wrestling and relies more on leverage than brute strength, judo is (usually) less damaging to the back, knees and other joints. Both wrestlers and judoka attain a measurable level of practical self-defense skill. However, wrestlers are generally only given opportunities to compete in high school and college, whereas judo dojos are available to all ages. And finally, judo involves mental training, (and, depending on the dojo, even spiritual enlightenment) that may serve the player well long after he or she has stopped competing.


References

"Introduction to the Martial Arts" booklet. Collegiate Copies. 1997.

Burns, Donald J., An Introduction to Hapkido: A Teacher's Manual. Collegiate Copies. 1994.

Burns and Thompson, An Introduction to Judo for Student and Teacher. Kendall/Hunt, 1976.

Some Notes on Judo as Self Defense From an Admittedly Biased Proponent:
OK, all of the above is true, to a certain extent. And I don't want to start some sort of holy war between judokas and karate guys, or vi users and emiacs, or whatever, but I have to note this:
Judo is an excellent form of self defense.
Why?

Well, not just because of it's throws, joint locks, chokes, or rarely practiced striking techniques. Not for its philosophy of mutual benefit, or maximum efficiency. Instead, because judo is one of the few martial arts that requires participants to practice its techniques at full speed and full strength. The ability to practice potentially deadly techniques at full speed, against a trained and unwilling human being, gives judokas an amazing head start in real world self defense.

Shiai, or tournament competition, is highly encouraged by most Judo senseis--and was highly encouraged by Jigoro Kano himself, for that matter. Sickened by jiu-jitsu "Death matches", part of his motivation to create Judo revolved around his inability to fully practice the more dangerous techniques. He removed many, adapted others, and created "the way of flexibility", or gentleness as it is more commonly translated.

Now, I acknowledge there are a myriad of ways to defend oneself, starting with mouth (for fast talking) and feet (for running!). Also, Judo has some real weaknesses--number one the lack of emphaisis on striking techniques. But, the physical strength gained through judo training, added to the techniques taught and practiced, make judo a formidable method for protecting your person.

And if you still have your doubts about Judo's effectiveness, show up at your local judo dojo and pick a fight. You'll find at least one guy that will help you see the light.

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