Judo and wrestling are closely related. They both fall under the umbrella of “grappling” meaning a way of fighting without striking – no punching or kicking is allowed. They are both Olympic sports with millions and perhaps billions of participants worldwide in all age groups. The main differences fall into three categories: uniform, application of sport rules, and philosophy.
A judo uniform consists of a thick cotton jacket and pants, and a colored belt indicating your rank. No shoes are worn. This uniform is worn in practice and in competition, and the only colors allowed are white and blue. In wrestling competition one usually wears a wrestling singlet, a one piece item that allows maximum maneuverability, as well as special wrestling shoes, and sometimes headgear is worn to protect the ears. In wrestling practice people usually wear sweatpants and a t-shirt with their wrestling shoes, and sometimes a sweatshirt if the weather is cold.
In judo, you must attempt to throw your opponent flat on their back – if you can do this with force and control, you will be awarded ippon by the referee, an instant win. The jacket and belt are used to throw your opponent, so the game of fighting for grips is of crucial importance. You can also win by pin or a submission such as a choke or armbar. Since 2010, you are not allowed to grab the pants or anywhere below the belt for the purpose of throwing your opponent.
In American folkstyle wrestling, the objective is to take down and control your opponent and pin them by putting both shoulder blades on the mat for two seconds. Grabbing the uniform is not allowed, so wrestlers learn to control their opponents by holding and throwing them by the wrist, head, shoulder, legs, waist, ankle – anywhere you can get a grip. You are not required to throw them on their back – as long as they fall down and you retain control, that’s all that matters.
Judo’s two mottoes are seiryoku zenyo and jita kyoei, meaning “maximum efficiency, minimum effort” and “mutual welfare and benefit” respectively. The first refers to the efficient use of body mechanics and the preservation of energy, while the second refers to the idea that judo can be used to benefit everyone – participants and society at large. Dr. Jigoro Kano, the inventor of judo, was an educator and dedicated to the idea that judo could be used to produce good people and good citizens.
Wrestling rewards hard work and intensity more than any other sport. As a sport with weight divisions, athletes of any size can participate and rise to the top. As a wrestler, your child will learn that they can accomplish anything with the right attitude.