“The Difference Between Martial Arts and Sport Combat: Why Being Relaxed Matters in Self-Defense Situations”

In this article, we will explore the key differences between martial arts and sport combat, and why being relaxed is so important in self-defence situations.

While both martial arts and sport combat share similarities in their techniques and physical training, their purposes and approaches to combat differ significantly.

Martial arts, such as Krav Maga, Aikido, Junomichi and Japanese Jujitsu, emphasise self-defence and personal development. They prioritise efficiency, grace, and control over brute force and aggression.

A fundamental principle of martial arts is to be relaxed and centred, which allows for greater awareness, faster reactions, and more effective use of energy. By learning how to stay calm and centred in stressful situations, practitioners of martial arts can develop the skills necessary to defend themselves and others effectively.

On the other hand, sport combat, such as MMA and boxing, focuses on competitive combat and winning at all costs with rules and a referee. While athletes in these sports also train extensively, their primary goal is to outscore or defeat their opponent in a specific set of rules. The emphasis is on using brute force and aggression to overcome the opponent, rather than efficiency, and control.

In a real-life self-defence situation, the approach of sport combat can be less effective than that of martial arts.

This is because the red light reflex, or withdrawal response, can take over when we sense danger, which can lead to an inefficient, ineffective response.

What is the red light reflex?

This is a primitive response that causes our muscles to tense up, making our movements slower and less efficient. This can impair our ability to defend ourselves and make it easier for an attacker to overpower us.

In contrast, martial arts training emphasises being relaxed and centred, which allows for greater awareness and faster reactions. By learning how to stay calm and centred in stressful situations, martial arts practitioners can maintain their mobility and use their energy more effectively. This can make all the difference in a self-defence situation, where speed, agility, and precision are key to success.

In conclusion, while both martial arts and sport combat have their place in combat sports, they differ significantly in their purpose and approach.


These books offer different perspectives on martial arts, self-defence, relaxation, and the philosophy behind them.

They could help provide a deeper understanding of the differences between martial arts and sport combat and the importance of being relaxed in self-defence situations.

  • “Meditations on Violence” by Rory Miller
  • “The Tao of Gung Fu” by Bruce Lee
  • “The Art of Peace” by Morihei Ueshiba
  • “Zen in the Martial Arts” by Joe Hyams
  • “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi
  • “Karate-Do: My Way of Life” by Gichin Funakoshi
  • “Aikido and the Harmony of Nature” by Mitsugi Saotome

Junomichi for Children

Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, believed that judo was an excellent physical activity for children, as it not only promoted physical fitness, but also instilled important values such as respect, discipline, and sportsmanship.

Kano also believed that judo helps children to develop a strong sense of confidence and self-esteem, as they learn to overcome physical challenges and improve their skills through training and practice.

Additionally, Kano emphasised the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for children to learn and practice judo. He believed that teachers should be knowledgeable and experienced in working with children and that they should prioritise the safety and well-being of their students at all times.

Overall, Kano viewed judo as a valuable tool for helping children develop physically, mentally, and emotionally, and believed that it could have a positive impact on their overall well-being and personal growth.

This is why Dr Kano thought that Kano that competition has negative effects if it became too intense or focused solely on winning.

He believed that a healthy approach to competition in judo should prioritise respect for opponents and fairness and that winning should not be pursued at the expense of these values. He then said that “competition for children is detrimental to their well-being and advocated strongly against involving children in any competition”.

Teaching Junomichi strictly based on Dr Kano’s principle (which is not Sport Judo):

  1. Encompassing is the use of one’s entire body and mind in the practice of Junomichi, rather than relying solely on physical strength or technique. This principle reflects the importance of developing a holistic approach to training and competition, which can help practitioners to optimise their physical and mental performance.
  2. Non-opposition refers to the idea of avoiding direct confrontation with one’s partner, and instead using their own energy and momentum to gain an advantage. This principle reflects the importance of flexibility and adaptability in the practice of Judo and can help practitioners to develop a more nuanced understanding of how to use their opponent’s energy to their own advantage.
  3. Decision refers to the importance of making quick, clear decisions in the practice of Judo, based on a thorough understanding of the situation and the techniques involved. This principle reflects the importance of cognitive processes such as perception, attention, and decision-making in the practice of Judo, which are all controlled by the central nervous system.
  4. Commitment refers to the idea of fully committing oneself to a particular action or technique in the practice of Junomichi, rather than hesitating or second-guessing oneself.
  5. Control refers to the idea of using one’s energy and momentum to control the movements of one’s opponent, rather than relying solely on physical strength or force.

This principle reflects the importance of confidence and assertiveness in the practice of Junomichi, which are also related to cognitive and emotional processes that are controlled by the central nervous system.

Ref: “Judo for Young People,” a book written by Jigoro Kano, outlines his approach to teaching judo to children and young adults.

  1. Judo Memoirs of Jigoro Kano,” a collection of Kano’s writings and speeches on various topics related to judo, including his thoughts on the importance of teaching judo to children.
  2. The Contribution of Judo to Education,” a speech given by Kano in 1934, in which he discusses the benefits of judo for children and young people, and the role of judo in promoting physical fitness, discipline, and personal growth.
  3. “Judo Education: An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Teaching Judo,” a book by Tadao Otaki and Donn F. Draeger, includes several chapters on Kano’s approach to teaching judo to children and young adults.

Learning is a life time project

The menu of the last session 17th March was made up of the following:

1 – Oi Tsuki and Gyaku Tsuki and the Hara position move

2 – Jujitsu Randori with Atemi.

3 – We continue to learn and feel the Atemis, Oi Tsuki and Gyaku Tsuki and link them with a control.

4 – Mae ukemi, Ushiro Ukemi

5 – Junomichi randori

Oi Tsuki and Gyaku Tsuki.
Uke encompasses the Uke’s attack to apply Ippon Seoi Nage o Tai O Toshi and control Tori with a control on the arm.

6 – Kime No Kata, Ryote Dori

Second Seminar Ju No Michi School Scotland (Member of the Federation FIAJ)

The Second Seminar organised by Judo School Scotland went as planned.

We study Shizent Tai by using Kano’s creation,

  • Osae Waza (Katame No Kata),
  • Koshi Waza (Nage No Kata),
  • the first five techniques from the Gonosen No Kata (which were applied in Go No Sen and Sen No Sen ways).

After 6 continuous hours, the study was gradually conducted on a series of Shiai.

The following day, (only based on invitation only) we continued the research to link Ju No Kata and the control of Uke during a Randori and a Shiai.

Sunday, only on invitation, we carried out research to link and understand the links between Ju No Kata and its application in Randori

So far, Judo School Scotland (Junomichi School Scotland) has a school located at Inch Park Community Sports Club.

On Friday, 3rd March 22023 at 19H00, Judo School Scotland (Junomichi School Scotland) will open its second school at Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre

We teach Japanese Jujitsu and original Judo (Junmichi) for beginners.

The Inaugural session

On Friday the 3rd of March, we had our first Junomichi (Original Judo) and Japanese Jujitsu class in Oxgangs Neighbourhood Center

The new students were very committed to this very first session.

The purpose was to use the partner’s momentum and direction to apply an action.

We’re looking forward to the next session on Friday at 7pm at Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre

We concluded the class with an introduction to wrist and hand control: Kote Gaeshi and Kote Mawashi.

You are very welcome to join Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre
Every Friday at 7pm.



Mobilise, Transform

Kuzishi is the action of mobilizing the partner by mobilizing oneself.
It is not an action directed towards the partner with the intention of manipulating or inducing a precise reaction.

Kuzushi is the consequence of a setting in the movement of the HARA transmitted by the KUMI KATA.

This situation, triggered by the attack itself, places the partner in a UKEMI course.

Junomichi (original judo) and Japanese Ju Jitsu

While the arts of combat are present in most cultures around the world, they have never reached such a degree of development and sophistication as in Japan.

The Japanese, unlike other populations of Asia, preferred to adopt a defence system with bare hands, rather than techniques of percussion.

Also, the traditional Japanese martial arts are represented mainly by two great currents of martial arts, Aikido and Ju-jitsu and consequently Junomichi which is a highly specialised form of Ju Juitsu (Original Judo).

Karate, contrary to popular belief, is not strictly speaking a traditional Japanese martial art.

It originated from the island of Okinawa (Japanese island). It was not introduced in Japan until the beginning of the 20th century. Still, if the aikidoka faces his opponent at a distance of grasp, the ju-jitsuka practices the fight in hand-to-hand combat.

Originally developed by the “samurai”, Ju-jitsu and Junomichi (ju: flexibility, jitsu: technique, michi like do means the way) include a wide range of techniques of throwing, locking, and strangulation, whether for combat standing or on the ground.

On the other hand, percussion techniques (with hands or legs) are rare and direct but effective (they aim to strike the pressure points), see kyusho (kyuushoo).

Throws, using the principles of lever and pendulum, involve the violent fall of the adversary on the ground, which constitutes the virtual end of the fight.

Locks and strangulations are used to put out of action or subdue an assailant, with or without prior throwing.

The keys are of two kinds, in torsion (dislocation) or in extension (rupture) of the joint, and apply either to the arms (shoulder, elbow, wrist), or to the legs (knee, ankle, foot), even in the neck (cervical vertebrae).

Some controls are done on muscles (biceps, quadriceps), by applying pressure.

Finally, blood strangulations (there are also respiratory strangulations which do not have the same consequences) aim to cause temporarily lost of conscious (for at least thirty seconds, no more, otherwise…).

These latest techniques are not intended to suffocate the person, but to cut off the blood flow to the brain. These strangulations do not lead to the death of the person, or sequelae provided you have safe control and are being very careful.

By the nature of the techniques, Ju-jitsu and then Junomichi are particularly interesting martial art. Its effectiveness is essentially based on its technical quality, unlike the arts of percussion (such as Kung-fu or Karate), where the strength of both the person giving the blows and the one receiving them are essential factors.

However, despite its technical richness and its formidable reputation, traditional Ju-jitsu began to disappear from the Meiji era (1868-1912).

Today, therefore, even in Japan, this art remains rare.

Also: it is important that today, Brazilian Jujitsu, Sambo and Sports Judo are sports by no means martial arts.

Oxgangs Junomichi School

NEW Original Judo (jUNOMICHI) and Japanese Jujitsu School in Scotland.

Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre SCIO

For Beginners (and not beginners)

Inaugural class Friday 3rd March 2023 at 19H00

Age: Teenagers and Adults

Address: 71 Firrhill Drive, Edinburgh, Scotland

Register: https://judo-school-scotland.scot/membership-form/

You can make as many sessions as you wish for free until you decide to take a commitment.

It takes time to make a such decision.



UCHIKOMI (striking, going towards, inside) aims to create sensations through repeated movements.

Over and over, it aims to take away, the elements which hinder the freedom of action of the HARA.

By the continuity of the movements, with a progressive elimination of constraints, by becoming aware of his/her own physical oppositions, by gradually feeling judo’s purpose through the use of techniques, the original judo (or Japanese jujitsu) practitioner models his/her body.

During the UCHIKOMI, Tori strives, to solicit UKE as little as possible.

UKE, is also very active by focusing on his/her own control and availability.

Repeatedly receiving TORI’s actions, UKE develops more and more sensations by the movement. UKE must remain focused, free and alert to perform UKEMI at any time.


Our federation of Original Judo (FIAJ) was celebrating the Kagami Biraki to welcome our beings into this newborn year 2023.

The theme for this important moment was Koshiki No Kata.

During this celebration, we approach this ancient kata as the symbol of the circle of life through an infinite movement.

The apparent stops represent the uncertainty in life where we remain suspended. Tori and Uke are then, floating before the Ukemi in order to feel the pleasant sensation of « No Gravity ».

Life is driven by ongoing momentum. its power is the reflection of our commitment to this life.

Centuries ago, this ancient kata was a tool for warriors. Dr Kano, saw that once the concept of killing is put aside, Uke might represent Tori’s past life and the difficulty to control the inner energy.

Tori, know that this fire has to be tamed in order to be transformed into constructive power.

The Koshiki No Kata, within this approach, can be seen inside the Kime No Kata, Nage No Kata, Ju No Kata, Randori and also within the Shiaï.

Shiaï was a very important part of our ceremony. During this moment, we could clearly feel the impact of studying Koshiki No Kata.

We could feel what type of person we are, with no possibility of hiding our minds.

Seventy-five years ago, our host, Jacques Ellner started judo.

Seventy-five years ago, our host, Jacques Ellner started judo.

Decades ago, he moved away from Sports Judo to join Igor Correa Luna in order to retrieve the Original Judo (Junomichi) created by Dr Kano.

His generosity is a reflection of his longevity in his study of junomuchi

This very important event took place in Epernay in France for 2 days.