Japanese for 'judo'
Japanese for judo

What is Judo?

Judo is a modern version of the ancient Japanese martial art of jujutsu. It is widely known for its spectacular throwing techniques and ground fighting.

Judo can be practiced as a competitive sport, for self defense or simply as a means to stay in good shape. Modern judo concentrates on throwing an opponent onto the ground and then finishing them off by arm-lock, strangle, or holding them on their back.

The techniques of judo are effective because they use an opponent’s strength and momentum against him. This allows a fighter to beat larger and stronger opponents by using skill and technique rather than relying on strength.

How is judo different to other martial arts?

Judo differs from many martial arts in its techniques and approach to training. The techniques of judo were chosen and developed to make the most efficient use of mental and physical energy. These techniques are very effective and can potentially be harmful, however when performed on mats they can be practiced safely.

A key element of training is randori, meaning “free exercise”. Randori is unique to judo because it is practiced under full contest conditions and fighters can use any methods they like provided they obey the rules of judo concerning etiquette and do not hurt each other. This allows techniques to be practiced in the form that they will eventually be used, be that in competition or as self defense.

Who can do judo?

Judo is suitable for everyone, regardless of age or physique. It is a great way to become fit and learn self defense. The training sessions are structured so that they are suitable for all levels of fitness and ability and no one is ever asked to do anything beyond their level of competence.

What equipment do you need for judo?

As a beginner, you are welcome to train wearing just an old t-shirt and shorts/tracksuit bottoms. But after a while you will want to buy a judo uniform, properly called a ‘gi‘. The gi consists of a tough cotton jacket, lighter trousers, and a belt to denote your rank.

More information

For more information about judo, its techniques and history check out the following links:

  • Judoinfo.com – This site contains information about everything to do with judo. It has particulary good pictures and videos of every recognised judo technique!
  • British Judo Association – This is the site of the national governing body. You can also find information about judo events and grading resources there.