What did Judo change/innovate from Jujutsu?

I understand that Kano, the inventor of Judo, borrowed from Jujutsu, and his style was originally called Kano Jujutsu.

And I understand that he removed some weapons from Jujutsu when forming his own art.

I understand that modern judo focuses on takedowns, because of the Olympics and the rules made for television, but I'm not asking about modern judo.

I have heard that Kano made some of the Jujutsu moves more efficient, but I'm not sure about this because I'm sure that Jujutsu also had an aim of efficiency. It's not clear to me what moves Kano came up with that weren't in the original Jujutsu?

some discussion from comment, here

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    – mattm
    Dec 12, 2019 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


Judo's initial innovations were not in techniques, but in the manner of training them.


Kano emphasized the use of randori (free practice) in training. This contrasted with many jujutsu schools that focused on kata, or prearranged exercises. The tradeoff is that more dangerous techniques such as striking were removed from randori; these remain in judo kata practice but are not part of randori or shiai (competition). Randori allows development with non-cooperative partners where both partners can adapt and learn.

From Kodokan Judo by Jigaro Kano, published by Kodansha International Ltd., 1986, p. 141:

One reason judo has evolved into an international sport is that its two forms of practice, randori and kata, are ideal ways of training. This was not the case with jujutsu, which was learned almost exclusively through the practice of kata. In those schools that emphasized randori, such as the Kito and Tenshin Shin'yo schools, practice in randori came only after attaining proficiency in kata.


From Judo Memoirs of Jigoro Kano by Brian N. Watson, Trafford, 2014 p.37

When one makes a detailed comparative study of traditional jujutsu with Kodokan judo, big differences between the two system soon become apparent... The essential point of difference though, is mainly in the methods of upsetting the opponent's balance. These tactics are unique to Kodokan judo. No matter what technique is to be applied, only after successfully disturbing the opponent's balance should one pursue one's attack.

This particular principle is kuzushi or off-balancing. Kano took existing techniques and refined them in light of studying kuzushi.

From Kodokan Judo by Jigaro Kano, published by Kodansha International Ltd., 1986, p. 16:

In my youth I studied jujutsu under many eminent masters. Their vast knowledge, the fruit of years of diligent research and rich experience, was of great value to me. At that time, each man presented his art as a collection of techniques. None perceived the guiding principle behind jujutsu. When I encountered differences in the teaching of techniques, I often found myself at a loss to know which was correct. This led me to look for an underlying principle in jujutsu, one that applied when one hit an opponent as well as when one threw him. After a thorough study of the subject, I discerned an all-pervasive principle: to make the most efficient use of mental and physical energy. With this principle in mind, I again reviewed all the methods of attack and defense I had learned, retaining only those that were in accordance with the principle.


Kano believed in the use of judo as physical education, cooperation, character development, and self-perfection. This is departure from the view that martial arts are only about fighting.

One validation of the judo approach was the results of competition between the Kodokan and the Totsuka Jujutsu School.

Also keep in mind that when you encounter jujutsu today, it is not the jujutsu of Kano's time, but influenced by judo. Also from Kodokan Judo, p. 19:

Eventually judo displaced jujutsu in Japan, and no one speaks of jujutsu as a contemporary art in Japan, although the word has survived overseas.


In my opinion, after splitting from the jujitsu schools, judo was softener, by eliminating the need to use of the aggressive approach to learn techniques.After that, many children's here allowed by their parents to go to the judo school. Even though the change of the name from jiu-jitsu to judo has done to eliminate all the confusion about this new soft art approach

  • do you have a source for that? you are talking about things long before you were born
    – barlop
    Jul 21, 2021 at 19:11
  • Just Jigoro (not Jigaro) Kano words when he was asked about the new name of his school.
    – George Geo
    Jul 22, 2021 at 2:32
  • You obviously dismiss completely the history of Kodokan Judo before the first world war. This whole softening talk is a bit revisionist and post 1920 (including the name Ju-do, btw). Jul 22, 2021 at 7:32
  • The intention to offer judo in schools and universities came from Kano himself. But the judo in that days no parent in the usa would give their child approval for. As Philip mentioned, a bit more history reading would help.
    – Bru
    Jul 27, 2021 at 5:37

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