|Judo is a great sport for everyone,
from school age to any age, from fully able to special needs.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the sport.
WHAT IS JUDO? Judo has its roots in ju-jitsu,
which goes back many centuries in Japanese history when
it was a brutal and often lethal method of self-defence
and unarmed combat. Judo was established as a modern physical
activity when in 1883; Professor Jigoro Kano founded his
Kodokan Judo. Responsible for education he was aware that
physical education in his country at that time was sadly
lacking. Jealous ju-jitsu masters began to question this
system and the matter could only be settled by arranging
a tournament between the various schools. This was done
in 1886 and the outcome was a totally victorious Kodokan.
Japanese police officials had been watching the proceedings
closely; they were looking for an acceptable method of apprehending
and controlling aggressive law-breakers without resorting
to weapons. To them Judo was the answer and it is used in
Japanese police training to this day. From that time, Judo
schools were established in many countries and the first
Judo club to open in Europe, the Budokwai which still operates
today, was founded in 1918 by Gunji Koizumi who became known
later as "The Father of British Judo". There are
now nearly 1,000 Judo clubs registered with the British
Judo Association in the United Kingdom.
Since the inclusion of Judo in the 1964 Olympic Games it
has been regarded as a modern Olympic combat sport although
some followers still consider it very much an "art
form". Kano said that Judo is a teaching for life itself
and with it we learn to overcome the pitfalls and obstacles
of everyday living.
HOW DO I JOIN THE JUDO CLUB? Come along to the appropriate class as listed on the home page dressed in appropriate gear(for beginners tracksuit bottoms and t-shirt). Have a chat to the Coach and they can talk to you and your child (ren) about what is going to happen on the mat and then usually you will either watch or the child (ren) join in the class. Cost of classes is £3.50 for the earlier class and £4.00 for other classes.
HOW CAN I BE SURE I’M GETTING QUALITY COACHING? The
BJA Coach award structure is designed to ensure that qualified
Coaches deliver safe, quality Judo instruction. The Coach
award system is widely regarded as being one of the best
in the world. All BJA member Clubs are required to have
at least one qualified BJA Coach, who you can be assured
has had to meet the strict standards laid down. In the past
potential Coaches were required to pass a First Aid exam,
however since First Aid practice evolves continually, Coaches
must now obtain an external First Aid Certificate. The Association
has a strict child protection policy and ensures all Coaches
complete personal disclosure documents prior to granting
a Club licence .
WHERE DO I OBTAIN A JUDO SUIT, ETC? Most sports
shops can supply them but as a club we can supply Judogi (Judo
suits) at reasonable rates and some second-hand kits are
available. The Judogi is reinforced in all the
right places and consists of a jacket, trousers and belt.
The only other personal equipment required would poosibly be a pair
of zori, which are Japanese style slippers and are needed
for walking to and from the training or contest mat (a lot
of people use flip-flops for this purpose).
WHAT ARE MON, KYU AND DAN GRADES? For players
aged from 8 to 18 years, there are 18 levels of skill grades
known as Mon (Junior) grades, which are denoted by coloured
and banded belts. Gradings are conducted at the players club
by their coach - all BJA
qualified Coaches are allowed to examine their players up to a grade below theirs.
From 14 years, Kyu (senior) skill grades apply and are
again denoted by belts of different colours. Everyone has
to work through the grading system to reach the 1st Dan
Grade when the player is entitled to wear the famous black
belt. Even then there are higher levels for the very dedicated.
HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO DO JUDO? Judo training
can start at any age. BJA members ranged from five to 85.
As for starting Judo later in life, whilst one might not
expect to reach Olympic standard there are still goals to
be achieved. The BJA Dan Grade Register has on record a
man who started Judo aged 54 and in eight years achieved
his 1st Dan black belt.
WHAT ABOUT UNDER EIGHT YEAR OLDS?
The club is in the process of having its own under eights judo grading system which is using a judo figurine called the obiman. The children learn techniques and referees words in order to earn coloured belts for their obiman. More on this to follow:
WHY DO I NEED A LICENCE? Although the
accident rate is far lower than in some other sports it
has to be said that Judo is a tough combat sport. It is
therefore wise to have a licence, which gives insurance
cover. Gradings and competitions take place all over the
country and throughout the year under BJA rules and at which
anyone taking part must have a licence.
DOES JUDO GET YOU FIT? Judo is an ideal form
of physical education. The beginner concentrates on getting
the technique right, and during this process inevitably
improves general fitness. The bonus is stamina improvement,
which equips on better for the rigors of day-to-day life.
When asked about the extraordinary fitness he displayed
on winning the British and European "Superstars"
titles Brian Jacks attributed it all to his former Judo
IS JUDO THE COMPLETE SELF-DEFENCE? There is
no complete self-defence and it is foolish to make such
claims. However, because of its close contact Judo helps
to develop a keen awareness of danger. It offers the best
self-defence training at close quarters than any other sport.
The British Judo Association has specially trained self-defence
instructors, (known as BJA Personal Safety Advisors), who
run registered courses. For more details of self-defence
in your area contact the BJA head office.
DO WOMEN DO JUDO? They most certainly do. At
the present time we have Kate Howey the Sydney Olympic Silver
medallist, (Kate also won an Olympic Bronze in Barcelona)
and Karina Bryant: London 2012 Bronze medalist and Gemma Gibbons: London 2012 Silver Medalist
DO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITES DO JUDO? The British
Judo Association Inclusion Commission has adopted the motto
Judo for All and they work tirelessly to ensure that the
Sport is open and accessible to players with a wide variety
of disabilities. Because of the close contact involved in
Judo it is the ideal Sport for blind or visually impaired
players. Simon Jackson MBE is the Association’s most decorated
Athlete with Three Paralympic Gold medals, Three World titles
and Seven European Championship wins under his belt.
WHY DO JUDO PLAYERS BOW?
When two Japanese meet they don't shake hands but bow to each other instead. This is why in Judo, we bow.
Jigaro Kano, the founder of Judo, decided it was very important that judoka should be polite to each other at all times. When two people are competing it is very easy for one or both to lose their temper. To ensure 'real' fights don't break out on the mat, Kano insisted that everyone had to bow, and this tradition is observed throughout the world.
The word for bow in Japanese is 'Rei'. There are two types of bow, the standing bow 'tachi rei' and the kneeling bow 'za rei'.
For the tachi rei, stand with your feet together and hands at the side. Bow by bending at the hips, not the waist.
For the za rei, kneel with your feet flat, but your body upright and hands on your thighs. Bend forward, putting your hands flat on the ground in front of you. You don't have to bend so far down that your head touches the ground. Halfway down is enough, but try not to let your bottom stick up in the air !
Most judo session begin with a za rei between the teacher and the pupils. This is a mark of respect, with the pupils thanking the teacher for the lesson, the teacher thanking the pupils for coming to the class.
Everytime you have a new practice partner you should perform at the start and finish either a za rei if you are doing ground work, or a tachi rei for standing work.
Judo is about fighting, but Jigoro Kano wanted people to be able to develope their fighting skills without hurting others. That is why judo is a polite combat sport, and why etiquette is very impotant.
As well as bowing to your partner in randori, or at the beginning and end of judo sessions, you should also bow on entering and leaving the dojo. Another sign of respect, this time for the dojo !