Ready to step onto the mat

By Laurie

O.k. so now you’re ready to step onto the Judo mat, so you’ll leave the changing rooms and go to the Judo mat and take off your flip flops and step onto the mat. It’s customary at this stage to turn and face the mat and bow. At the start of the class the instructor will normally call everyone together and the instructor will stand at the front of the class with a line of players, ready for instruction, in front of them. The highest grade will be on the left and the lowest grade on the right of the instructor facing them. This bow would normally be a kneeling bow, so the class will kneel down and they will perform a kneeling bow. This bow is usually quite a bit slower than the bows that people would do at the door or at the edge of the mat. Over time this bow will become quite important in the practice of Judo, this is the point at which the outside world ceases to exist and your thoughts are complete and 100% on the practice and the study of Judo. This is important because as people get older and perhaps go to work they need to leave the day behind them – they need to have clear head as when they’re on the mat practising they’re not thinking about problems at work, what a difficult journey they had to get there, and other such issues. So this bow over time becomes very important because this is the point at which people switch off the outside world and switch on the Dojo – the Judo world.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataFebruary 7th, 2017
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More on Judo

By Laurie

So that’s the general introduction to Judo and it’s been very quick and has covered only one small aspect of Judo which is the competition and it’s origins. The important thing about Judo is that there are immense amounts of other bits of Judo that we’ve not discussed yet and we’ll come on to talk about those now.

In the U.K. there are a number of Judo organisations, the two largest being the British Judo Association and the British Judo Council. The British Judo Council are now affiliated to the British Judo Association. There are a number of other Judo organisations within the U.K., there are also a number of Judo clubs which train under the banner of Budo or Martial Arts. Although Judo’s a minority sport in the U.K. when compared with say football or rugby, there’s still a lot of choice if you know what it is you want to get out of Judo then it’s possible to find a club that can deliver that.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataFebruary 3rd, 2017
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More on Judo

By Laurie

In Judo competitions there are a number of ways of winning the competition, the first and most spectacular is with the throwing techniques, you can score points by throwing your opponent cleanly onto their back, or you can earn lesser points for a less accurate, or less controlled technique. Once the throw is completed we go to ground work, or Ne Waza. In the Ne Waza section of Judo it is possible to win a competition by holding or immobilising your opponent. It’s also possible to win by strangulation or an armlock – in both cases the opponent would submit. In some Japanese Dojo’s it’s common for people not to submit for strangulations, but this is quite dangerous and here in the West we tend to submit to a superior player.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataFebruary 1st, 2017
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Judo is for everyone

By Laurie

The next group of children are those from over 10 years of age and under 16 years of age. Children in this age group are taught armlocks and strangulations, some organisations permit these to be used in competition and others don’t, so it’s important for the children to learn these techniques because once they reach the age of 16 all organisations permit the use of armlocks and strangulations as children enter the senior group. As mentioned with the younger group of children, children within the 11 to 16 year age group will be expected to compete for grades at gradings. Some of the children may go to competitions in addition to gradings. The basic difference in a grading is there tends to be an element of theory, testing and examination followed by some competition. In a competition this is purely about taking the players and then competing against each other to see who’s the best. Some children in the age group are likely to be quite competitive and you might find that those children will be at competitions every other week, or once a month, and so on. Some children will choose not to enter competitions other than perhaps once or twice a year. All said and done the choice is down to the child, or the child and the parents.
So, if you’re looking for a judo club for a child in this age group it’s important to understand what the club can offer the child and what sort of arrangements there are for competitions and gradings.

The last group of people that can practice Judo are split into two, this is the seniors The seniors are anyone who’s over the age of 16. In some tournaments they may distinguish between 16 and 17 year olds and 18 and above, but once you get to 16 you’re considered to be a senior. The other distinction that’s made is that the other end of the age group, at about 35 for most organisations, you’re considered to be a veteran. Many organisations will arrange categories for competitions which include veterans, seniors, sometimes the 16 to 18 year olds are referred to as Espoires. The idea is to break these main categories down to give the younger players a good chance of being successful with competitions. Although a 16 year old and a 25 year old could be the same sort of grade, the 25 year old will have had maybe 9 years more judo experience and the 16 year old is really just coming along to join the seniors and to take part in the senior event. This is why the categories are sometimes divided into different sub categories.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataJanuary 30th, 2017
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Judo for children

By Laurie

In the case of children, many parents send their children to a Judo class because there is still a degree of discipline, which has to be maintained, because some of the techniques can cause injury if not followed correctly. Of course in any good Dojo the hardest thing that a child is likely to encounter is somebody else’s elbow! The mats are quite soft and there should be a safety area around the mat. The most common competition that a child is likely to encounter between the ages of 5 and 10 are the gradings. They will be expected to take part in some form of combat for that grading. Different organisations have different criteria, but generally the criteria for children aged 5 to 10 is still towards fun and demonstration of good technique.

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataJanuary 29th, 2017
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Different Clubs

By Laurie

Whatever your reason for wanting to study Judo or for your children studying Judo it’s most important that you visit the club. Go to the club on a night when the club’s training so you can see how the class is run, and also go to the club at the start and the finish of the session so you can talk to the instructors. It’s very important that you communicate with the club instructors as some clubs operate a policy of no spectators with the very young children, the 5 years olds and upwards, as they’re very easily distracted, and if there’s any noise behind them whilst their practising they’re very easily distracted and they’re looking over their shoulders and they don’t pay attention.
So it’s quite important to establish if you can actually sit in and watch. This should be possible by prior arrangement and if it’s not you can’t make a judgement on whether or not your child should go to that club. Many senior players actually start Judo because their children go to Judo. They bring their children along to start Judo and rather than sit and watch all night they decide they too will join in on the mat, and this is sometimes possible. Judo clubs vary quite a bit from the purpose built Judo club where the mat stays down and is never removed, to the sports centre or even the church hall or local community hall, where the mats have to be laid prior to each session and lifted at the end of each session.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataJanuary 27th, 2017
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Judo Training and Cool Down

By Laurie

Back to the normal session. Once we’ve been through some throwing techniques and we’ve done some free practice we would move to some ground work. We would show some techniques on the ground and then we would demonstrate the technique and then we would demonstrate an escape from that technique, and once again we may combine certain techniques on the ground and put them together. It would probably be usual to do some practice on the ground as well, in the same way that we did the Randori for standing. We may also do the Randori on the ground to practice the techniques again.

The last thing you’re likely to see when you train for the night, is there may be a degree of throwing techniques with the groundwork. Once again this would depend upon the aptitude of the class. But it makes sense to combine and arrange the training such that players get the opportunity to do the throw from standing position and then to go straight into the groundwork. At the very end of the lesson there should be a period of stretching and of cooling down. This should involve the whole class and be a integral part of the class so at the end of the session when everyone’s worked up a bit of a sweat everyone should do a bit of stretching – being careful not to overstretch as this is always a danger when bodies are warm. Players may overstretch because their body is warm and the tendons are soft. This should lead on to a period of almost inactivity perhaps, even with the players laying flat on their back and just concentrating on their breathing, and this cool down should take as long as the warm up. At this point the class should be finished and we line up at the end of the class exactly as we did at the start of the class. The whole class should then bow again and that’s it the class is finished.

If you go to a child’s class you’ll also find that a game is introduced at the end, sometimes it’s desirable to introduce a game at the end of the class and this is pretty much a carrot for the children, obviously some of them will have problems concentrating for such a long time, so it’s a bit of a carrot and a stick this one in that we offer the game at the end of the class if they’ve worked hard, so you may also see that in some clubs.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataJanuary 23rd, 2017
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About Judo Practice

By Laurie

So what can you expect when you join a Judo club? Well the first thing is you will be exposed to a degree of Japanese culture, for example when you enter the Judo club as you enter the main door it’s customary to stop and bow. Depending upon the layout of the club you may have to go to the changing rooms to get changed into your Judo suit, otherwise know as a Judo Gi. The Judo Gi is a white cotton garment – the top part, the jacket, is very strong as are the trousers. It’s possible to pick a fully grown adult up by the lapels of the jacket of the Judo suit. To be properly dressed for the Judo mat one should be wearing a Judo suit, this is white trousers and the white gi and a Judo belt. The Judo belt is the only thing that will distinguish the difference between the ability of each player. (You may see or have seen blue judo suits. These are intended for competition and televised judo to assist referees and spectators.)

You should also be wearing some Zori’s on the feet. In the U.K. we usually wear flip flops. In addition to this it’s normal, in fact it’s compulsory, for female players to wear a white t-shirt under the jacket and to make sure that anyone with long hair has it tied back appropriately. This is not only for hygiene purposes but it’s also for safety in that it’s highly likely the hair will get pulled. Whilst on the subject of hygiene it’s important that Judoka, or people that practice Judo, have clean feet, clean hands, short clean nails on both the feet and the hands, and that they’ve brushed their teeth recently! In the UK and Europe, it is common for all people practicing judo to be referred to as Judoka. In Japan, this title is reserved for people who have attained the rank of 4th Dan Black belt.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataJanuary 19th, 2017
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Judo Training

By Laurie

Once the class has been through a few techniques, they should be warm. The next thing that we might do is combine the techniques we’ve been taught, so we might put two techniques together to be done in conjunction with each other, we may get one of the partners to perform a technique and then get the other partner to perform a counter to that technique. The amount of counters and combinations that we can do will be dependant on the level of aptitude of the class present.

There should always be a session of free practice. Free practice or as it is known in Japanese, Randori. Randori is not a competition, the idea of the Randori is to allow the club students to practice the techniques that they have already done in a more static position. They should now move on and practice those techniques on the move. It’s quite important that people understand that this is not a competition and there is still a degree of co-operation at this point in time. So, whilst it might be easily possible to resist all techniques that are attempted, each student should not just resist they should be co-operating to a certain extent. Now it is possible that you may go to a club or even to a class where they’re just having a Randori session, so if you turn up at one of these sessions it’s important to understand that you must do your own warm up, that the mat is being made available for people to have a bit of a hard training session. So, this would not be so co-operative as the Randori session that we might put on the back of some learning – this is really about where the players go to try their own techniques out.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataJanuary 16th, 2017
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Warming up for Judo

By Laurie

After the bow there will be a period of warm up, during this warm up there will be some movement around the mat, usually quite slow building up a little bit of speed. Once the body is ‘warmed up’ there might be a little bit of light stretching, not a lot at this stage but just a little bit of movement of the joints and the arms, the back and the neck. There will also be some preparation for the type of practice that will be taking place, so for the standing work if we are going to do some shoulder throws we might do some extra warm up on the shoulders, or on the body movements that will make up the shoulder throw.

Once the class is warmed up and is ready to go there will also be some break falls. The break falls are most important in Judo because if you can’t break fall then you’re going to be concerned about being thrown. If you’re concerned about being thrown you can’t practice Judo freely because of your concern. The break falls should take the form of break falls on the mat, laying on the mat, from the standing position falling to the mat, and rolling break falls where people will step forwards and do a break fall. They will appear to dive into the air, roll over, strike the mat with a loud bang. Once the break falls are complete we then go on to the sorts of practice that you’re likely to see in the Judo club. The first one know as Uchikomi this is called standing practice, in this position the players will partner another player and they will come in for a technique and withdraw from that technique and they may do this 15 times each – generally 5 would be for the movement, 5 would be to get some rhythm and then 5 would be for speed. Then once each player has done that technique, we would move on to the next technique.

Aylwin Judo Club South East London SE16

categoriaInterests, Judo Clubs commentoNo Comments dataJanuary 15th, 2017
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