If there is one thing to which the judo family and the International Judo Federation, as organiser of judo at world level, are attentive, it is indeed the moral code and the values of our sport, which are not just philosophical concepts. Quite the contrary, the moral code of judo is a common thread that every judoka should and must apply on and off the tatami.

It is first obvious that the techniques that you learn with your teacher can only be applied within the secure confines of the dojo and it is strictly forbidden to practise judo outside of this framework. If you can run outside a stadium, if you can swim outside an Olympic swimming pool, you don't do judo outside the dojo. Children know this as soon as they start practising.

Judo is not just a simple sport and its aim is above all to create the conditions for a more harmonious and fairer life, where mutual aid and mutual prosperity (Jita Kyoei) and the best use of energy (Seiryoku Zenyo) guides each of our actions following the DO (the way), it is not only important, but necessary that we take with us, into everyday life, the teachings of Jigoro Kano Shihan.

This is why our collective and individual responsibility as judoka is to do everything to preserve what makes our sport a special activity. From the invention of judo, Kano explained that he wanted to create an activity that would develop the body and mind to create better citizens. The challenge is immense, especially in our modern world plagued by conflicts of all kinds.

The Kodokan, Japan

What do we have at our disposal to fight this fight for life? The moral code, as we have said, has values that are not simply a poster we hang on the dojo wall. There is also the bow, the symbolism of which goes beyond gestures and which it is up to us to protect, while respect and politeness tend to get lost in the daily whirlwind. To talk about all this is to talk about the culture of judo, everything that builds its very essence. It’s knowing where it comes from to know where it’s going. It also means understanding that the life of a judoka is a patchwork.

There are these first moments, when we discover judo and have fun while making friends. There is also, for some, the competition period, where often the dream is to reach the world championships and the Olympic Games. However, not everyone can do it. The high-level adventure remains exhilarating. For everyone else, there is the pleasure of practising, teaching, refereeing and all while learning what makes life more balanced, in communion with the world around us.

To continue learning, we invite you to read the articles in the History and Culture section (https://www.ijf.org/history) of our website. There is something for everyone: the journey of Jigoro Kano Shihan (https://www.ijf.org/history/jigoro-kano-who-was-he-really), stories of Olympic champions (https://www.ijf.org/history/olympic-champions), information and reflections on the dojo, judogi or the belt, but above all, all this literature allows us to get a more precise idea of the incredible richness of judo, that a single life may not be enough to comprehend it fully.

Judo is a culture, a culture of oneself and a culture of the other, all fundamentally anchored in the present and in modernity.

See also