What is Judo

In appearance, judo is wrestling in jackets.   It is the educational values and philosophy which make judo different.

At the start, the techniques of judo are studied.   Both children and adults learn how to fall safely, how to throw, how to pin down and for adults only how to strangle and armlock.  Some of the theory behind the moves, to ensure safety, is also taught to the student.  Safety is considered paramount.   All students learn the Japanese name for each technique, and they practise in a relaxed and non-competitive way (randori).

At this stage, judo is just play where the students, wearing the well-known white jackets and trousers strive to safely apply their knowledge against an opponent who is doing the same, and generally have fun.

As study continues, fitness becomes important and competition (shiai) is introduced, training the body and the mind to react to unexpected situations in accordance with the principles of judo and so enjoyment becomes more intellectual.   Here is where the practice becomes serious.   The students will to improve; to have the discipline to train hard; to have the strength to accept being beaten and get up to train harder  and to overcome any skill or fitness gap.   Some knowledge of the complex rules, designed to make judo the safest combat sport, needs to be acquired   The peak of this level is competing in a world championship or Olympics.

Practice of the pre-arranged sets (kata), whereby skills are improved and moves which cannot be used in randori or shiai, ie the classical ju-jutsu techniques, can be learnt is also developed.   Learning and perfecting the kata requires great attention to detail, concentration and co-operation with your kata partner.   The aim is to develop emotional maturity.   Competing in Kata tournaments, develops and tests these qualities.

Finally, the philosophy of judo: to make use of the fitness (mental, physical and emotional) and knowledge attained through your practice by putting it to use to contribute to the community.  There is also the study of the history, aims, purposes and moral code of judo, including the nine values.   All of this adds to your life experience to make you a stronger person who can be of real help to others.

Along the way there are opportunities to:
Get fit
Be involved
Learn about other cultures
And generally, have a great deal of fun.



Starting Judo

All JudoSA clubs follow the Judo Federation of Australia (JFA) guidelines, however, all clubs are different, reflecting the interests of the instructor and members.

Use the “Find a Club” tab to search out a club near you and then ask questions as to whether they are social, competition, Kata or self-defence oriented.

As a beginner you will learn etiquette, break-falls and some basic throws and pins (hold-downs).   You do not need to have a judo suit to start playing Judo.   Your club will assist you to purchase one when you are ready.

With training, you will find your fitness improving, and you will start to use a variety of throws and groundwork and get to know the Judo vocabulary.

Soon you will want to try to achieve a coloured belt.   As a member of JudoSA, your club sensei (Head coach with JFA registered Black belt) can arrange for you to undertake a grading.   You will need to be a JudoSA member to be graded.   Your club can help you become a member and for your new grade, you will receive a National grading certificate.

You may also want to try out your skills against others in a competition (Shiai).   Competitions are great fun and a major way of improving your Judo.   As a JudoSA member you can use your membership card to enter all JFA competitions.   Competitions are organised with safety in mind and officiated by referees who have undergone extensive JFA training.   As you gain experience in shiai and get more gradings, you can also enter Kata competitions, and soon you will be ready for the “black-belt”.

You are now on the road to Judo excellence, and have a lifetime of enjoyment and improvement ahead of you.


Judo Competition Explained


Jigoro Kano (the founder of Judo):

Judo was started by a Japanese educationalist, Jigoro Kano, in 1882.   Although only 22 years old, Kano saw how the skills of ju-jitsu (a Japanese martial art) could be adapted to become a safe system of physical education, with a philosophy designed to bring people together as healthy individuals both physically and psychologically.

 “Judo is the way of the highest or most efficient use of both physical and mental energy.   Through training in the attack and defence techniques of judo, the practitioner nurtures their physical and mental strength, and gradually embodies the essence of the Way of Judo.   Thus, the ultimate objective of Judo discipline is to be utilized as a means to self-perfection, and thenceforth to make a positive contribution to society.”


JudoSA wishes to acknowledge Rodney Cox, Go dan, Judo Vic Inc., who collated the information above.
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