Does Judo Classification matter?

It surely can be a difference of opinions if Judo classification and terminology matter. It’s like a language: if you’re fluent in one, it’s so clear that this language is the best and easiest to communicate and it’s hard to comprehend how others (non-so-fluent speakers) can’t see the same way.

Well, parallel with a language doesn’t stop here: terminology and classification is indeed a language (linguist would say “domain specific language”) and correspond respectively to vocabulary and grammar.

Modern linguistic research pointing out that individual language specifics can affect patterns of thinking, concept comprehension, and ability to develop and express ideas. All this because we’re thinking in terms of our language (as been trilingual, I can attest that at times I need to switch the language, I’m thinking in, to better match the concept, I’m thinking about).

In the Judo World, classification of different types plays role of different languages. Judo terminology and classification of Japanese origin (supported and controlled by Kodokan) is most widely spread. It functions as nominative classification in any language other then Japanese. The positive effect of it is the ability to communicate across natural linguistic barriers on international stage. However, it’s offer no help in teaching Judo (for non-Japanese speakers) and form the habit to see Judo standard technique as set of absolutely fixed (“written in stone”) sets of moves.

Developing new terminology and classification is a very important and must-have step in defining a new martial art style, and Dr. Kano addressed it to the full extend in the process of creating Judo. Been this classification native in Japanese and been controlled by Kodokan provides tangible benefits for Japanese speaking (or better native Japanese speaking) judokas.

Other native-language Judo classification, I’m aware about, is Russian Judo/SAMBO classification – legacy of Vasili Oschepkov.

Having native-language terminology and classification gives significant advantage in teaching and developing art as it allows to understand it in a variety of terms and to adjust those terms to match changes and advancements in the Art.

All discussions of Judo technical aspects on this site made possible for me by using Russian-native descriptive Judo terminology and classification.

Developing English-native descriptive classification will greatly benefit English speaking judokas (and many other Germanic and Romanic language speaking judokas). Unfortunately this is a task that I don’t feel myself fit to do…  



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