Judo is a Japanese martial art and Olympic sport created in 1882, and refined ever since. Its origins date back to various styles of Japanese ju-jitsu, but its creator, Dr Jigoro Kano, made sure that Judo only included some of the safer grappling techniques of ju-jutsu, and no punches and kicks (though higher grades train these as well, in the form of judo kata). Its self-defense applications aside, judo is a great sport and fun physical activity for kids and adults, helping the development of balance, coordination, strength, motor skills, and it is particularly apt at channelling children’s natural physicality and energy in a more disciplined way.
Judo is both a martial art with a strong educational component, a highly competitive Olympic sport, and a reputable, close quarter, self-defense system. Partly because of all these attributes, judo is our club’s core grappling discipline.
In our club, younger kids mostly learn judo through ‘judo games’, specific fun exercises designed to mimic basic judo moves and break-falls (i.e. safe ways of falling to the ground). Basic throws are also taught. Older children are gradually taught more throwing and immobilisation techniques. Submission techniques are not taught to kids. Adults are taught the whole BJA/IJF syllabus (but also some of the takedowns that are no longer permitted in competitions, e.g. kata guruma or morote gari). The British Judo Association, to which our Head Coach Glenn Spiers is affiliated, has one of the safest and more comprehensive syllabi for teaching judo to children and adults.
Equipment – for your first few classes a long sleeve t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms are absolutely fine. After that you’ll probably want to consider purchasing a judo uniform (called judogi).