Do you remember the last time you fell on the floor? Well, repeat that several times and you may have an idea how dangerous Judo can be. We’re no masochistic people but there is fun in in being thrown – well at least for me. Judo has several techniques called waza spanning from throwing techniques (Nage Waza), grappling techniques (Katame waza) and Striking techniques (Atemi waza). However Atemi waza is not permitted in competitions nor is it usually taught in many dojos especially to lower ranking judokas. With all these techniques, one has to be prepared to fall and defend one’s self. But for a newbie in the sport, this does not come easily. So it is important that you follow several reminders to keep yourself safe as well as keep other members of the dojo safe.
1. Follow the dojo rules
Although there are specific rules when playing judo, there are still specific rules that each dojo or school implements. These rules are there for a reason – mostly for your own security and protection. This is why following these rules is a must. Plus, if you don’t you might just find yourself booted out of the school.
- Follow rules of conduct
- Respect your fellow judokas
- Observe proper hygiene
2. Master the fundamentals
What’s great about Judo is that anyone can start learning it. My daughter is just 3 and she already knows a few principles and techniques. Of course she needs some work but the point is, anyone can learn this. The key enjoying Judo and other martial arts is to master the fundamentals. It’s always the basics that can give you a better understanding of more advanced techniques.
- Learn to fall properly – Ukemi waza: it’s great to know that one of the first lessons you’ll learn is how to fall properly. This comes in handy when you get thrown several times in a day.
- Learn the kata – the kata is an essential part of learning judo. The movements you learn here will help you master more complicated moves and techniques.
3. Observe proper body mechanics
Another important step in keeping yourself safe during practice or in competition is to observe proper body mechanics. Judo literally means “Gentle way”. As the term suggest, you don’t need to exert a lot of force to throw your opponent. Of course this is easier said than done. However, with the proper body mechanics and timing, you can execute techniques flawlessly. In fact, my wife who is almost half my weight throws me like a rag doll. One moment I am facing her. Not a minute later I am sprawled on the mat.
You can do this in Judo because the techniques are based on efficient body movements, leverage and timing. For example, when lifting a heavy box, you don’t bend down from your waist and lift it up by pulling your torso straight up. You’ll hurt yourself this way. Instead, bend your knees and keep your back straight. To lift, just straighten your legs without putting strain on your back. The principle is the same in Judo. Proper body movements make it easier to lift and throw people even if they are bigger than you.
- Practice the movements without any opponent – this will help create muscle memory
- Practice slowly – When starting out in Judo, it pays to do the techniques slowly. This way you get to observe even the smallest of detail
- Practice with different partners – It helps to practice with different judokas since different built, weight and even body reaction can help you fine tune your techniqiues. Just remember that the more you use the technique the better you can execute it.
4. Learn to relax
I often encounter students in judo where they tense up every time they execute a technique. What happens here is a major blunder in that they can’t comfortably execute the right waza. When our body is tense, we restrict movements. Instead we have to relax our body so that we can move in a more fluid motion. Plus, when we tense ourselves up, we sacrifice speed thus rendering our techniques inefficient and ineffective.
I understand that this can be difficult when you are faced with a bigger opponent or a more skilled judoka. But remember that this part of the learning curve. We have to keep our mind focused on relaxing and enjoying.
- Keep your breathing slow and regular
- Focus on the moment and let your instinct take charge – of course, your instinct should be executing the right waza
5. Be patient
As a new student in Judo, do not expect to learn everything quickly. One might be able to identify the techniques but executing it is a different matter. Moreover, it takes continuous practice and execution to get it perfect.
In addition, when you face off with a more experienced judoka, you can expect that he or she knows the basic and that countering your moves will be a common scenario. Here you have to decipher the movements and learn to make the necessary adjustments.
- Ask a lot of questions
- Spar with different skill levels
- Focus on one technique and master it
- Ask your opponent what you did wrong and how to improve your technique
- Watch other judokas execute the technique to learn how they execute
I have been slammed so many times that I lost count now. The truth is, I get to learn more about my own execution with every fall I make. It takes time to master just one technique.
6. Keep practicing and learning
It is essential to never stop practicing. Moreover, it is when you gain confidence in executing a particular technique that you can better understand how your body works and reacts. By practicing often, you get to hone your skills and instincts. In a competition, most do not have time to think about the moves they will do. Likewise, what you plan on doing on the mat may not be the same as what you actually do. By practicing the wazas, you get to instinctively execute techniques.
For almost 20 years now I have been enjoying Judo. It is both a sport and a self-defense art. I still learn from others when I am on the mat. Moreover, I still feel like a newbie in judo because I know I can learn more.
Other Martial arts tips you may want to read:
- How To Be Safe When You Are New To Judo Training
- What You Need To Know About Martial Arts And Self-Defense For Women
Latest posts by jpcmc (see all)
- Inexpensive Eye Care Tips for Everyone - 10/20/2015
- How To Help A Grieving Friend - 02/02/2015
- Inexpensive Technology To Help You Through Power Interruptions - 01/26/2015
- Where to Place Keywords to Earn More Online Income - 01/26/2015
- Anatomy of Great Tips - 11/27/2014