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    Judo FAQ/Primer

    BULLSHIDO.NET'S JUDO FAQ - Short Version

    This FAQ is intended to as a primer for Bullies and visitors interested in judo. There will be more extensive information in following posts in the thread. I would love this FAQ to start discussion, but would prefer that you start new threads to do so.

    Read the threads linked from here before starting a new thread on an old topic. Often your question has been asked before, thoroughly. And with that, on to JUDO!

    Why Judo?
    You should do judo because it's effective, cheap, widely available, and fun for kids and adults. One can do judo for recreation, competition, or self-defense in most judo dojo. As an added bonus, judo is consistent: most schools train and compete similarly, the quality control is high, and the likelihood of finding a judo McDojo or fraudulent teacher is very low.
    For the cross-training competitor, judo adds excellent clinch work, particularly with the gi.
    Does Judo have value? - No BS MMA and Martial Arts

    Dave Camarillo also has some words on what judo develops for the jujitsuka:

    Judo For Self-Defense
    Judo is a great art to learn for self-defense since it addresses both the clinch and ground ranges of combat, consistently spars and trains alive, and teaches the practitioner how to use throws and grappling instead of strikes, which is effective as well as legally preferable (striking is generally seen as inherently more violent or aggressive than throws or holds). While judo does not teach striking, it provides the student an effective solution to an attacker who uses striking (namely: achieve a clinch, throw them, and control them).
    how effective is judo in a street fight? - No BS MMA and Martial Arts

    What will my first class be like?
    Aside from tying your belt and bowing properly, Judo noobs just need to sit down and shut the fuck up. Different clubs follow different logic paths and different skill progressions. Some places put a lot of emphasis on break falling at the beginning, some clubs on learning throws, others on newaza (groundwork). It depends on the club and the instructor. Bottom line: get your ass to class.

    Cheap and Widely Available - How to Find a Judo Dojo
    Judo is often nearby, and is often the least expensive martial art in the area. First, try the ever-useful, which happens to have a Dojo Locator at
    If that fails, check Google Maps/Local, Yahoo, and the local Yellow Pages, in addition to any universities or YMCAs around.

    Cheap and Widely Available - How to Find a Judo Dojo (UK version)
    In the UK at least, finding clubs is relatively easy.
    The BJA, while not the only governing body, is the largest. They maintain a clubs database and also a dan grade register, which makes it easy to find clubs and check up on credentials.
    The BJA acts as kind of an umbrella body for the national organisations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
    Welsh Judo
    Northern Ireland Judo

    The other major governing body in the UK is the British Judo Council who take a more traditional view of Judo than the BJA.

    What should I look for in a Judo training gym (dojo)?
    This is directed at the physical aspects of the gym. Mainly it should be clean and well kept. The mats (tatami) should be clean and put together so there are few cracks or spaces in the mats. Since many Judo clubs are located in YMCAs or other public parks and recreation centers, expect to have to pick up and put down mats on a regular basis.

    Look around and see if there are crash pads. These are 4-6 inch mats roughly 4’x8’ that are used to do repetitive throwing drills. In clubs that do not have permanent floors and the mats rest on concrete a crash pad is an essential tool. If the club has a “spring loaded” floor then they are very serious about their Judo and crash pads are not really needed.

    Don’t be shocked if there is not a bunch of trophies and medals hanging up on the wall. Many clubs don’t put much stock in amassing these trophies and just love the idea of doing Judo. It’s not surprising to have guys pull a medal out of there gym bag from months ago and just toss it in the trash. Judo players (Judoka) generally don’t have much interest in medal collecting even the ones who compete every weekend. The other thing is that many clubs are in public centers or they are renting space from another gym.

    Speaking on the intangibles like the attitude or atmosphere of the club. Judo dojos run the gamut when it comes to the style of club. They generally fall into two categories, recreational and competitive.

    Recreational clubs are generally strict on protocol and formalities. They don’t do many tournaments and spend a lot of time talking about when they used to compete. They will spend more time on self defense, drills, kata and little time on sparring (randori). Quite frankly you will learn more about Judo and become technically proficient in a wider variety of throws.

    Competitive clubs are generally lax when it comes to formality and protocol. They spend more time on sparring and drilling. Asking about kata in this club usually gets you a sideways look and a chuckle. Expect a fast pace and heavy focus on competition based techniques. While you will not learn a large amount of throws you will be very proficient at the ones you do.

    There are clubs that are a combination of the two but they are few and far between. Judo clubs are not as anal as Karate clubs when it comes to bowing and formalities. You will find a good environment with down to earth people and a desire to teach you all that they know when it comes to Judo.

    Where do I go to learn more?
    The hands-down authority on judo on the WWW is, run by 6th Dan Neil Ohlenkamp. It has a wealth of material both simple and in-depth and can keep you busy for quite some time. If you have a simple technical question, it can probably be solved there.

    You can also lurk, browse and post on Bullshido, particularly in the Basic Technique Forum (Basic and Misc. Fighting Technique Discussion - No BS MMA and Martial Arts) and the Japanese Martial Arts Forum (Karate, Judo, and Jujitsu - Japanese Martial Arts Forum - No BS MMA and Martial Arts).

    A quick intro to judo:

    There's a lot of good and a lot of awful on Youtube. For in-depth technique, see the french "perfectionnement" series, each one dealing with a specific technique (uchi-mata, seoi-nage, osotogari, etc). YouTube - JUDO Le perfectionnement d'uchi mata 1 For good examples of Judo, start by looking for Koga:

    YouTube - Yasuhiro Yamashita Judo
    YouTube - kosei inoue
    Won Hon Lee
    YouTube - Won Hee Lee's Tai Otoshi
    And judo in MMA, including Karo Parisyan
    YouTube - Judo in MMA

    This is similar to the also-awesome Judo Masterclass books--see or start with [url=" or search Amazon for "Judo Masterclass."

    But usually, the answer is to ask your sensei/teacher/coach.
    Attached Files

    JUDO F.A.Q. - Longer Version

    Why do judo v2:
    So you can do this:
    YouTube - Judo

    Hygiene and the GiWhat will my first class be like?YouTube - Judo For Kids : How to Tie a Belt in Judo for Children

    Judo + Striking = Awesome
    When combined with a striking art, judo becomes a potent all-around fighting system. This has been done to great effect with Ashihara (Sabaki) karate as well as Daido Juku and many other similar systems. Karo Parisyan and others have also used judo as a base art for MMA, to great effect. You can take advantage of this by cross-training judo with a striking art; any hard-sparring karate, kung fu, tae kwon do, Muay Thai or boxing school would be fine.
    Judo Atemi - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
    practical to combine judo and striking art? - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
    Judo in MMA:

    Judo Newaza / Comparisons to BJJ
    The differences, similarities, history, worthiness of cross-training, and relationships between BJJ and judo has been done to death. Here's a tiny sample, and please--let's try to transcend these petty and shallow arguments. For the children.
    Isao Okano on the Importance of Ne-waza - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
    Why do judoka give up their back? - No BS MMA and Martial Arts

    How should I pick a tokui-waza (favorite technique)?
    This is really a personal choice but sometimes you are stuck in a club that does a certain technique and you just do it because everyone else is doing it.

    If you have a good coach, though, you will be placed into one of two groups, the seoinage goup or the uchimata group. The seoinage group is usually the shorter stockier guys with good hips and grips from hell. They focus on seois and hip tosses. The uchimata group will lean toward the taller lanky guys with good footwork. They do a lot of uchimatas harais and footsweeps.
    Just listen to your coach when he says try stuff and if you like it or can make it work then master it. Yes you can still learn all the throws but you will lean to a certain throw more than others.
    (thanks Coach Josh!)

    What should I look for in a Judo training gym (dojo)?What should I look for in a Judo instructor (sensei)?
    He or she should be a black belt in Judo. Avoid brown belt run clubs if you can, generally there is another club close by with a black belt that more than likely instructed that brown belt. I say this not as a knock to any brown belt out there teaching classes. There are very knowledgeable brown belts out there who just never tested or got feed up with the club they was attending or just moved to an area with no Judo. The point being that they may not be as knowledgeable about Judo in the long run. They will be great coaches for awhile then when you reach a certain skill level they may have very little to offer you in the form of advanced training.

    Look for an instructor who is a member of the US Judo Association, US Judo Federation or US Judo Inc./USA Judo and holds certifications as a black belt and at least a coaching certificate from the organization. For people outside the United States look at the International Judo Federations website to see if the club you are looking at is part of an organization backed by the IJF. This is very important. I feel that without being part of a major organization Judo clubs and instructors can not grow and expand.

    Inquire if the instructor was or is an active competitor. This is very important. Quite simply this means that they competed at a higher level and love to play Judo. If he/she is not an active competitor find out if the students compete regularly. Did the coach have someone compete or place in the higher level events such as Senior Nationals or the Ladder tournament? Look around the gym and if you see several people with a big USA patch on the back of their uniform (judogi) you are in a good competitive gym with a competent coach.

    How do I act properly for the first few weeks/months?
    Personally I do not like to be addressed as sensei. I reserve that term for older well respected instructors. This is not the case in many recreational clubs that believe that a black belt entitles them to being called sensei. To place this in perspective for many people who will disagree with the statement, I have addressed several former Olympians and Olympic team coaches by sensei and been told to call them by their first name. So be respectful first then wait for them to lower the formality. Always address Gene Lebell as mister though.

    Which National Governing Body (NGB) should I join?
    This will depend on your club. Many clubs are very loyal to a particular NGB. This will depend on the area you are in as well as the level of competition you are willing to participate. In the beginning its fine to be USJA, USJI or USJF it will not affect you one way or another. Only when you get to compete at the really big tournaments will you need to be a USJI member.
    I do not know about foreign countries NGB.


      Thanks to Coach Josh, Northwest, IIF, mentex, and of course my sempai and sensei at Ulster Budokai. Mistakes or omissions are all mine.

      Sticky please?


        All good. Maybe you should point out that there`s no neck cranks(for the high school/collegiate wrestling crowd).

        By the way, why is that?


          Judo, as one of the most practiced sports in the world, wants to make itself very safe. To that end, it places very high importance on protecting the spinal column. Though they don't frequently cause injuries, the rules of judo have to take into consideration millions of people playing judo competitively every year, and so is very, very, very careful with things like neck cranks that could cause spine injuries. That's how it was explained to me.


            I understand that, but in high school wrestling we neckcranked eachother all the time without problems. I understand the safety concern, but I think it`s a little extreme to exclude them all together.


              Just thought I might help with finding an Australian dojo.

              First place to look would be the Judo Federation of Australia website. You'll need to go to the link page and click on the link of your state affiliation.

              Judo Federation of Australia official site.
              JFA links page.

              Some states don't appear to have a website though. Next up would be the Yellowpages.


              I've noticed that most of the Judo dojo that I'm aware of are part of the local Police and Community Youth Club. (PCYC). Just go to your state's PCYC website and see if they have a Judo class there in your local area.

              Finally there's the longshot, the Australian Kodokan Judo Association. I'm not entirely sure what their story is, but they have some classes around so it's worth a try.

              Australian Kodokan Judo Association.


                An introduction to Judo. They go over the ways to win a match, the basics of throws (including evolution and variation of technique), and the basics of what judo is.

                YouTube - Introduction to Kodokan Judo

                I thought tani-otoshi was an interesting choice that worked well. The very light randori was nice too; reminded me of the free play on the SBGi Functional JKD tapes.


                  When it comes to nails how short is short enough? I thought my finger nails were pretty short, but I still managed to make a little piece flake off one.
                  Last edited by Lindz; 11/10/2009 1:18am, .


                    Ok i have a better question. When should you start competing? I asked a similar question on judoforum and got lots of obtuse answers.


                      Originally posted by bitchslapper View Post
                      When it comes to nails how short is short enough? I thought my finger nails were pretty short, but I still managed to make a little piece flake off one.
                      Don't let them extend beyond the finger. Make a T between your fingertip and your palm (like a "time out" sign) and if you feel nails, cut em. Make sure the edges are smooth too--use a nail file in one direction only.

                      Originally posted by bitchslapper View Post
                      Ok i have a better question. When should you start competing? I asked a similar question on judoforum and got lots of obtuse answers.
                      I say, as soon as it's safe--ie, you can breakfall and generally know the rules. The real answer is "your coach/sensei knows; ask them." Holding off doesn't really help you in any measurable way: it's silly to think "I'll get good first, then I'll compete. You get good by competing.


                        Originally posted by Lindz View Post
                        Ok i have a better question. When should you start competing? I asked a similar question on judoforum and got lots of obtuse answers.

                        .....thread bump.....


                          Dave Camarillo also has some words on what judo develops for the jujitsuka:
                          he appears to be talking about what judo develops for the jiu-jiteiro (bjjer), not jujitsuka (jjjer).


                            Here are some good videos of Judo techniques, explained and demonstrated in exquisite detail. Copyright reserved by respective claimants.

                            For each technique, the video introduces the basics with demonstrations, followed by close-ups, different angles, and slow-motion playback. Variations are shown also. Then examples are shown from high-level competitions (world champs, Olympics, continentals, and the All-Japan). Narrations are given in surprisingly clear English.

                            These videos have personally helped me understand the techniques much better, and hope they will assist others to do the same. They can also be downloaded directly (see the "download video" link on each page) from Google Video, or can be converted and downloaded using or (I haven't tested them).

                            Nage-waza part 1: Part1: Nagewaza (standup grappling) techniques in Judo

                            Nage-waza part 2: Part2: Nagewaza (standup grappling) techniques in Judo

                            Ne-waza part 1: Part1: Newaza (ground grappling) techniques in Judo

                            Ne-waza part 2: Part2: Newaza (ground grappling) techniques in Judo
                            Last edited by 2Many; 3/09/2010 8:12am, .


                              In my experience, "sensei" is going too far even in a recreational club. I've never had any judo teacher ask me to call them "sensei". "Sir/Madam" is enough until you are on first-name basis. I personally would be a little turned off if an instructor ordered me to call him "sensei".

                              I'd like to mention that "attack and don't stiff arm" is equally valid in newaza as it is in tachiwaza. Don't turtle up and do nothing and don't attempt to camp in your partner's guard either.

                              One last thing. Don't do stuff you haven't being taught properly first. This goes hand in hand with "work stuff you've being taught during the day". The risk of injury to your partner is enormous considering that you're fucking dumping him on his back with little to no clue as to what you're doing. When taught and practiced properly, judo is very safe, even if it does not look like it. It's when people start aiming higher than they should shoot that injuries occur.



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