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A Journey Through Judo: part 1

A journey through JUDO. Part 1.

Thoughts, ideas, tips, tricks.

There is a lot of information out there about judo:- history, philosophy, techniques, training methods etc. so my aim here is to give a personal insight, answer any common questions and focus on things that are somewhat overlooked.

  1. Why judo?

Movement, power, strength, flexibility, speed, fitness, skill, timing, focus, control: judo as a martial art and a sport has it all, more than any other I think. And it can be APPLIED as well, especially if it taught in a realistic manner. There’s always something new to learn in judo. It can be very complex and technical. It can also be very simple. A good coach, some decent training partners and some enthusiasm will see you progress. The ‘feel’ for judo can take time, but when it feels right it feels good!

  1. Why not judo?

On the flip side:- personally I think judo can be for everyone, from every age, background, size, shape, literally everyone, but so much can depend on how it is taught. Obviously, with some people it’s going to be very different to others, and teachers/coaches have to have the time, patience and facilities to be able to deliver in an effective way. It can be dangerous; there’s a lot of contact. It’s complicated. But hey, that’s life! Quite often the better Judokas are not necessarily the ones who can perform a technique with clinical perfection, but those who can adapt and ‘feel’ the best way to win or use their techniques to their advantage.

  1. Learning Judo

The underlying principle of Judo is “maximum efficient use of power”. This takes time to develop and technique has a major part to play, but just having an awareness of body and mind can increase a persons chance of success. One reason why judo has popularised into a world-wide sport is it’s emphasis on ‘randori’ or free practice, as opposed to strict kata form. Some clubs/coaches prefer kata based training, others prefer randori based training. I’ve been lucky enough to experience both although because of my competitive career it’s been heavily randori and competitive judo training that I’ve done. If you look at the way the Japanese learn, 99% percent of their technique training is done through school and by the time they reach 16 it is 99% randori training with nagewaza (throwing practice). When I’m teaching to younger children I mix and match as most children here in Britain do not have the patience, discipline or concentration span for hours and hours of technique training.

  1. Tips and tricks

If you’re just starting out: watch a class or two. Speak to the coach and other players. And remember, it’s not as scary as it looks! Be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them. Even doing a breakfall can be a little tricky at first, but patience pays off.

If you’re already doing it: where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve? Every class should be a mini ‘journey’ in itself, and all part of the bigger picture. Work on old techniques, new techniques, help others, push your fitness limits, and try to achieve ‘flow’ when doing it. Work on your weaknesses especially. If you’re big and strong, work on timing and technique. Once you master a technique, work on power and speed. And if you’re small like me play to your strengths!

Any questions please feel free to post. Keep it relevant though!

All views are my own.

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