Judo guide - London 2012 Olympic Games

Your complete guide to judo ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Photograph: Jussi Nukari / Rex USA

Converted: Judo means ‘the gentle way’; as in ‘the gentle way of beating someone up’, which is kind of classy.

Confused: A fight where it's against the rules to hit each other. Huh?

RECOMMENDED: See our full list of London 2012 Olympic sport guides

Judo - The essential guide

Street cred: This Olympic sport may be practised by millions worldwide but it is not sexy. Jean-Claude Van Damme has never starred in any movies about judo due to its lack of flying kicks and low death count.

Who’s good? Japan gave birth to judo and it's still the daddy of the dojo (the arena they fight in), although the 14 gold medals tend to be spread out among various nations.

The basics: You can win a judo contest either by points (or ippon), which can be won in three ways: throwing an opponent onto their back, pinning them down for 25 seconds, or forcing them to submit.

Athlete to watch: Team USA's Beijing bronze medalist Ronda 'Rowdy' Rousey: a pretty, blonde, cage-fighting vegan.

As seen in: 'Dog Judo', an animated online comedy about a couple of canine, judo-loving flatmates.

Do say: ‘Hockey players should take note of judo’s moral code of politeness, courage, self-control and respect.’

Don't say: ‘Chin him!’