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Unlocking the World of Judo: A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started

Updated: Jan 15

Judo, a Japanese martial art and Olympic sport, offers a unique blend of physical fitness, mental discipline, and self-defense techniques. If you're intrigued by the idea of stepping onto the judo mat but unsure where to begin, this guide is here to help you take your first steps into the world of judo.

  1. Understanding the Basics: Judo, which translates to "the gentle way," focuses on using an opponent's force against them. It involves throws, pins, joint locks, and strangles. Before diving into training, familiarize yourself though YouTube videos or books with these basic concepts to gain a foundational understanding of the sport.

  2. Finding a Judo Dojo: To start your judo journey, you'll need to find a local judo club or dojo (we're in Redhill, Surrey). Search online at the British Judo Association for your nearest club to you. Choosing the right dojo is crucial for a positive learning experience, so consider factors like location, class schedule, and the instructor's credentials.

  3. Essential Judo Gear: Before your first class, make sure you have the necessary judo gear. This typically includes a judogi (uniform), a belt, and flip-flops or sandals for walking on and off the mat. Some dojos, like ours at may lend judogis for beginners.

  4. Warm-Up and Stretching: Like any physical activity, judo requires a proper warm-up and stretching routine to prevent injuries. Arrive early to class to participate in the warm-up session and ensure your body is prepared for the upcoming training.

  5. Learning the Judo Etiquette: Judo places a strong emphasis on respect and etiquette. Familiarize yourself with the customary bowing rituals, how to address your instructor, and the rules of conduct on and off the mat. Embracing these traditions will enhance your overall experience in the dojo.

  6. Basic Judo Techniques: In the initial stages, focus on mastering fundamental judo techniques. Throws like Osoto-gari, Seoi-nage, and Tai-otoshi are essential building blocks for your skill set. Take the time to understand the mechanics and practice them consistently.

  7. Safety First: Judo is a contact sport, and safety is paramount. Learn how to break your fall (ukemi) properly to minimize the risk of injury. Listen attentively to your instructor's guidance on safe practice and always communicate any concerns or discomfort.

  8. Consistent Practice and Patience: Progress in judo comes with consistent practice and patience. Set realistic goals, track your improvement, and celebrate small victories along the way. Judo is not just about physical prowess but also about mental resilience and perseverance.

  9. Participate in Judo Events: As you become more comfortable with the art, consider participating in local judo events or competitions. These experiences can boost your confidence, provide valuable learning opportunities, and connect you with the broader judo community.

  10. Continued Learning: Judo is a lifelong journey of learning and improvement. Stay curious, attend workshops, and seek guidance from experienced practitioners. Whether you aim to achieve higher belt ranks or simply enjoy the art, the key is to keep learning and growing.


Embarking on your judo journey is an exciting venture that promises physical fitness, mental discipline, and a supportive community. By understanding the basics, finding the right dojo, and embracing the principles of judo, you'll not only gain valuable skills but also experience personal growth on and off the mat. So, tie your belt, step onto the tatami, and let the gentle way of judo guide you towards a fulfilling martial arts adventure.

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