I am thinking of taking up Judo what should I do?
Have a good look at the pages of this website and in particular the membership page. The intake for new beginners is always taken into consideration at the start of a class in order to form a class suitable for beginners and take them through the basics as a group with a high coach to student ratio. This provides the best learning environment for beginners. If you are apprehensive about starting then be assured that ours is a friendly club where you will be made welcome. If you want to find out more about judo try our Judo links page where you can learn more about Judo.
How fit do you need to be to do Judo?
To start to learn judo as a beginner you just need to be of average fitness for your age. You will soon get fitter as your judo career develops. If you have any serious health issues which may be a concern or are not in good health then please discuss starting judo with your doctor before trying Judo. In general Judo will improve your fitness level, balance and flexibility.
Is Judo an expensive sport to take up?
Not at all, all you need is a Judo uniform which aren't expensive, on top of that you have club fees which are payable by Direct Debit or cash on a per class basis. You will also require a British Judo Membership before training Judo. The total cost is less than £5 per week (when paid via Direct Debit) which is very reasonable compared to other sports.
What to expect at your first Judo lesson?
Assuming you have been in contact with the senior club coach and have agreed a start date, this is what to expect on your first night:
Try and arrive a little early as we will need to find some judo clothes to fit you.
Wear jogging bottoms and a tee shirt. Make sure hand and toe nails are short, and you're not wearing anything metal-like jewelery, metal hair clasps or a watch.
At the start of the lesson the class the coach will initiate a light warm up to get your ready for the class ahead. Warm up and stretching are very important in preventing injury so get into the habit of doing it properly.
Then the class is split up into groups or pairs to learn Judo techniques. You will probably be put in a small class of other beginners of a similar size and build with a coach to lead you.
If this is your first night you will probably learn how to fall and roll without hurting yourself and maybe a simple hold down or throw. Judo does involve close physical contact with other judo students which might feel a bit strange at first but you soon get used to it.
At the end we kneel in belt order facing the coach (Sensei) and he passes on any important information prior to the class ending. The class will end with Students bowing to each other.
After a few weeks learning the basics and when you are ready you will join in with the main class and learn and practice more Judo techniques. We hope you enjoy your first night at Judo and that it's the first of many.
Does it hurt to get thrown?
Not if you fall properly and absorb the force of the throw with a "breakfall". At WGC Judo & BJJ we regularly practice breakfalling and the coaches emphasise the safety aspects of each technique. If you get thrown and forget to breakfall then it can hurt, therefore we practice falling most weeks so that breakfalls become instinctive.
In Judo the "thrower" is taught to take care of their partner by protecting their head and neck. In Judo you must both throw and be thrown in order to learn both sides of the technique. If the techniques are done as instructed then injury is very uncommon. If "big" throws are being learned we use a crash mat to cushion your landing or perform it more slowly initially.
Judokas who ignore others safety will be excluded.
Note however that Judo is a physical combat sport and the occasional bump is to be expected.
Do Women do Judo?
Yes they certainly do, we have a number of Women at all levels in the club. The only difference is that Women are required to wear a tee shirt or rash guard under their Judo kit and if they have long hair this should be in plaits or tied back. At club level women and men often practice together but in official gradings or competition women will only face other women of similar age, weight and ability.
What is the ethos or etiquette of Judo?
Sportsmanship, politeness, good manners, common decency are all part of Judo. All students of Judo are expected to train themselves in Judo Etiquette and make it part of their Judo. In doing so a student will eventually understand the principle and spirit of Judo.
The following should be observed:
Respect your Coach
Respect higher grades
Keep your body clean
Keep your finger and toe-nails short
Frequently wash your Judogi (Judo Suit)
Be considerate to lower grades
Be courteous to your opponent at all times
On entering a Dojo one should always bow (Rei means bow)
When stepping onto or off a Tatami, one should bow (Tatami means Mat)
Before and after a practice one should bow to their partner
What do the different belt colours mean?
The belt colours signify the judo player's skill and experience in Judo.
The belt grades / colours go as follows:
Promotion is based on demonstrating judo skill and theory up to Brown belt and on skill, theory and competition wins above Brown belt.
How can I progress through the belt system?
Mainly by watching and listening to the Sensei (teacher) and by practiceing the techniques shown and explained to you. More important than the colour of you belt is having a solid foundation of good judo, generally speaking its better to do a few techniques really well than lots of techniques poorly.
When the Coach sees that you are ready you will be tested on the techniques you have learned at the next club club grading. The appropriate techniques for your level are practiced regularly in the run up to a grading and at the grading itself you wont be asked to do anything you have not already practiced in your lessons.