The next martial art on the list is Judo. It is one of the most popular martial arts in the world and been known to be the martial art of choice for a wide variety of people, whether they are MMA fighters or even the president of Russia.
Judo was developed in Japan by Jigoro Kano and is also considered to be among the first organized, official martial arts in the country. Jigoro Kano’s name is huge in the martial arts world exactly due to this. He founded and helped found many formal martial arts teaching centers and helped Judo reach international fame.
This grappling-based martial art is comprised of primarily throws, locks, sweeps, and everything that has to do with grappling. Strikes are incredibly rare and are often only used as feigns, not as actual strikes. Many tournaments ban striking since that isn’t the point of Judo.
In this unidimensionality lies Judo’s biggest asset and biggest mistake. Grappling is an innately human way of fighting; our arms and hands evolved to grasp and hold, not to strike, which makes it more natural. Doubling down on this aspect of humans will undoubtedly create an effective martial art, like Judo and various other arts have proven.
However, doubling down strictly on one aspect of the human fighting ability is a mistake. The lack of any type of striking makes Judo an imbalanced art, which is why it doesn’t rank any higher. In sweeping and throwing people to the floor, locking their joints, and holding them down, Judo is really near the top in the world, but that doesn’t make it the best out there.
Even though it is imbalanced, Judo will always be one of the most effective martial arts, for two specific reasons: availability and realistic effectiveness.
Judo schools can be found everywhere. In larger cities, there are usually multiple Judo schools, and even smaller and medium-sized cities tend to have training opportunities. If you choose to train Judo, it is very likely that you will find a school near you.
Under realistic effectiveness, I mean a simple idea: the opponents are resisting. Even though the combat is not balanced due to the focus on grappling, the grappling that is being done is against a fully resistant opponent, who is trying to do their best to perform the same or similar techniques on you.
This means that Judo is pressure tested and is practiced with nearly full realistic force. This type of training is the one that can prepare you to face actual attackers in real life, not point-sparring as is often the case in Karate and many other martial arts.
Judo, though it does have its faults, is highly effective since very many street fights end up becoming grappling wars. Yes, a couple of punches and kicks are thrown but in seconds, someone will close the distance and from then on, it is grappling time, in which case the Judoka will absolutely dominate in 99% of cases unless the opponent is also trained in some art.