Sara Dayley

St. Louis (KSDK) --Judo is an Olympic event that doesn't get a lot of coverage, but it's a fascinating sport with a following in St. Louis.

Jujitsu, the sport on which judo is based, was the only samurai martial art that did not involve a weapon.

Similar to other martial arts, rules require the athletes, or judokas, to bow when entering and leaving the mat.

Judo contests are fought on a mat, or tatami which is 14m X 14m with a smaller 10m x 10m area marked inside it.

Developed from jujitsu, Judo was established as a sport in the late 19th century.

Judo made its first appearance as a medal sport at the Tokyo 1964 Olympicsand thewomen's competition was added in the 1992 Barcelona games.

Athletes attempt a combination of throws and holds with an intricate mix of attack and defence in a five-minute whirlwind of combat.

Two athletes (judokas) get points for throws and holds in a bid to beat their opponent and a contest lasts no longer than five minutes. The athlete with the highest score wins.

The best score is ippon, which will be awarded for a throw, a hold, a strangle or an armlock, and is an instant victory. Other scores are waza-ari and yuko. These depend on the type of throw or how long a judoka can immobilize his/her opponent.

In London, there are seven weight categories for both men and women in competition and each country is limited to one athlete in each event.

The Judo competition in London ended last week and two United States women won medals. Kayla Harrison took home the
gold and Marti Malloythe bronze.

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