What is Judo?


Judo, "The Gentle Way", is a Japanese martial art founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882. Prior to developing Judo, Kano studied various styles of Jujutsu under many eminent masters, becoming masterful in Kito Ryu and Tenshin Shinyo Ryu styles. Kito Ryu Jujutsu emphasizes throwing techinques and principles similar to Aikijujustu. Tenshin Shinyo Ryu is famous for its striking, strangulation, and immobilization techniques.

Jigoro Kano, founder of JudoDuring his studies, Kano's instructors presented their style as a collection of techniques. However, when he encountered differences between them, he could not decipher which one was the correct technique. So, Kano searched for an underlying principle in jujutsu — one that applied when one struck as well as when one threw.

Kano then distilled what he learned and kept only the techniques that adhered to that underlying principle: making the most efficient use of one's physical and mental energy. He called this new collection of techniques "Judo" to distinguish it from the Jujutsu ("The Gentle Art").


Judo is a gendai budo, "Modern Martial Way". Gendai budo include other styles such as Aikido, Kendo, and Karate-do as they were established during or after the Meiji Restoration (1866-1869). Because of the heavy influence from the Tenshin Shinyo and Kito ryu as well as the distillation that Kano utilized, Judo is a grappling martial art.

Judo's techniques are divided up into three main categories: Nage-waza (throwing techniques), Katame-waza (grappling techniques), and Atemi-waza (striking techniques).

Effective Martial Art & Self-Defense

Judo is an effective martial art. It's techniques and principles are utilized by militaries, bodyguards, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athletes around the world. It is also one of the most effective martial arts for self-defense as it enables a smaller person to overcome a larger, stronger opponent.

Not only is Judo a tried-and-true martial art, but it heavily influences other more recent martial arts such as Gracie/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, and Krav Maga.

Olympic Sport

In 1964, at the Tokyo Olympics, Judo became an Olympic sport, men only. Women's divisions were added in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It is one of the most popular, exciting, and spectacular events with fans as diehard as any other sport.

What is Jack Williams Judo?

Jack Williams, 8th Dan, has over 55 years of experience in Judo. The majority of his practice and training has been in close lineage to the original masters and from Judo's official headquarters, the Kodokan.

The degrees of separation between Williams' and Jigoro Kano is very minimal. Although Williams was already a black belt (shodan) when he met Paul Takeshita, 4th Dan, he still had a lot to learn. Takeshita imparted upon Williams the spirit of the samurai as well as re-engineered Judo techniques.

"The one who teaches the teachers."

Takeshita learned from Jigoro Kano's judans, one of them being Isogai Hajime, 10th Dan. Hajime was commissioned by Kano to spread Judo and train new teachers. During this time, Hajime formed the foundations of Kosen Judo, a variant which focuses greatly on Katame-waza.

Williams gained insights to techniques that are not "in the book" because of his dedication to the art and the excellent instruction handed to him from Takeshita and other Japanese masters.

He holds Kodokan certifications in Katame-no-kata, Kime-no-kata, and Go-shin-Jutsu. He was also taught Tai-ho-jutsu ("Body Control Art") at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and two other police dojos.

Williams is a 7th Dan under USA Judo, the national governing body of Judo in the United States, and 7th Dan under The Kodokan Judo Institute, the official dojo of Judo founded by Kano.

Over the decades, Williams has coached and taught many national and international champions, some who now own their own dojos throughout South Florida. In many ways, this makes Williams the one who teaches the teachers.

Rhadi Ferguson's Mentor & Sensei

Not many Judo instructors have taught and mentored an Olympian. Jack Williams has. Rhadi Ferguson is a 4-time US National Champion, 2000 Olympic Alternate, and 2004 Olympian. Williams' teachings and students have reached the highest levels of Judo. (more...)