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A Beginner’s Guide to Judo


Judo means the ‘gentle way’ and adheres to the cornerstones of politeness, courage, self-control, purity and respect. However, don’t be fooled. When it comes to this martial art, gentleness goes hand-in-hand with powerful skill and agility.

What’s It All About?

In the late Nineteenth Century, Dr. Jigoro Kano (The Father of Judo) began studying ancient Japanese self-defence forms, eventually creating a new sport that integrated the best of these forms – judo.

The objective of judo is to control your opponent’s movements and score points by throwing them to the ground or immobilising them with armlocks, holds or strangles.

The best score is called ippon and instantly wins the contest. Ippon can be achieved by throwing an opponent onto the flat of their back, immobilising an opponent on the floor for 20 seconds or forcing an opponent to submit through an armlock or stranglehold. A score of a yuko or waza-ari can also be awarded but these scores do not instantly win the contest.

As a martial art, judo can suit children and those with a lighter body weight as participants are taught to use their opponent’s greater momentum to unbalance them.

Why You’ll Love It

Judo is a compelling sport to watch as athletes display both physical and mental agility as they battle for dominance of the contest. And with an emphasis on skill, rather than brute force, the smaller athlete is not always the underdog…

Judo Jargon

  • Hajime – the referee’s command to begin the contest.
  • Ippon – maximum score. 
  • Judogi – Judo uniform. 
  • Judoka – competitor.
  • Passivity – avoiding action by not making enough attacks.
  • Rei – a bow.
  • Soremade – the referee’s command to end the contest.
  • Tatami – mat.

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