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1 point to victory: The gentle way of judo in St. Louis

"All it takes is one point to win. It could be over in 10 seconds or you could go all the way to the end"

OVERLAND, Mo. — It looks like a tough sport, meant to knock out the competition with a flip. But in reality, it's meant to be something simple: a way of life.

"Dr. Jigoro Kano who started this sport in 1882 took some of the best stuff from Jujutsu and created this art," said David Burke, sensei (or teacher) at White Dragon Judo Club.

Judo means "the gentle way," giving light to its real purpose, protecting yourself.

"Judo is really pure self-defense," explained Burke. "You use the other person's momentum against them. Once we get our hands on you then we're in an advantage."

It looks like a rough-and-tumble sport, but it takes more than pure physical toughness.

"At any given time it's a very physical sport," said Burke. "It's a lot like wrestling. You're going full speed, you're throwing people around. But you have to have mental toughness to not get frustrated."

A match in judo can be over in the blink of an eye. It takes just one point to win the whole thing. But that one move to win has to hit several different markers.

"The definition of a throw has to have three things," said Burke. "It has to be largely on their back with speed and control. Those three things have to be apparent for them to call ippon."

Those who practice the sport say it's not about all the flips and tricks, it's about pure respect for the craft.

"Judo: the gentle way, is a lifestyle not just a sport," said Burke. "There's nothing flashy about judo, there's nothing kinda spectacular. We just love the sport."

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