The words jujutsu and judo are each written with two Chinese characters. The ju in both is the same and means "gentleness" or "giving way." The meaning of jutsu is "art, practice," and do means "principle" or "way," the Way being the concept of life itself. Jujutsu may be translated as "the gentle art," judo as "the Way of gentleness," with the implication of first giving way to ultimately gain victory. Judo is more than an art of attack and defense. It is a way of life.
To understand what is meant by gentleness or giving way, let us say a man is standing before me whose strength is ten, and that my own strength is but seven. If he pushes me as hard as he can, I am sure to be pushed back or knocked down, even if I resist with all my might. This is opposing strength with strength. But if instead of opposing him I give way to the extent he has pushed, withdrawing my body and maintaining my balance, my opponent will lose his balance. Weakened by his awkward position, he will be unable to use all his strength. It will have fallen to three. Because I retain my balance, my strength remains at seven. Now I am stronger than my opponent and can defeat him by using only half my strength, keeping the other half available for some other purpose. Even if you are stronger than your opponent, it is better first to give way. By doing so you conserve energy while exhausting your opponent.
This is but one example of how you can defeat an opponent by giving way.
It was because so many techniques made use of this principle that the art was named jujutsu. Let us look at a few other examples of the feats that can be accomplished with jujutsu.
Suppose a man is standing before me like a log on end, he can be pushed off balance-frontward or backward with a single finger. If at the moment he leans forward, I apply my arm to his back and quickly slip my hip in front of his, my hip becomes a fulcrum. To throw the man to the ground, even if he greatly outweighs me, all I need do is twist my hip slightly or pull on his arm or sleeve.
Let us say I attempt to break a man's balance to the front, but that he steps forward with one foot. I can still throw him easily by merely pressing the ball of my foot just below the Achilles' tendon of his advancing leg a split second before he places his full weight on that foot. This is a good example of the efficient use of energy. With only slight effort, I can defeat an opponent of considerable strength.