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In Japanese, literally ‘the easy way’ or ‘the way of gentleness’, referring to an unarmed combat sport in which individuals seek to disable the opponent by throwing, armlocking, neck lock, or holding down. Its origins lie in ancient schools of ju-jitsu, from which educator Dr Kano Jigoro (1860–1938) evolved the simple and modern style of the modern judo form. He was also active in international sporting politics, the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee, from 1909 until his death. The sport gradually gained an international profile, the first men's world championship taking place in Tokyo in 1956. The International Judo Federation had been founded in 1951, with Kano's son as its second president, though a women's world championship was not staged until 1980, in New York City. A men's event was first staged at the Olympics in Tokyo in 1964, a women's at Barcelona's Games in 1992. Japan, and latterly China, have dominated Olympic titles, though Cuban women have featured as medal winners in the early years of the women's events, taking gold in the middleweight category at Barcelona (1992) and Sydney (2000).

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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