I’m thinking of taking up Judo what should I do?
How fit do you need to be to do Judo?
Is Judo an expensive sport to take up?
What to expect at your first Judo lesson?
Does it hurt to get thrown?
Do girls do Judo?
What is the ethos or etiquette of Judo?
What are the club’s ‘ground rules’?
Is Judo part of a religion or does it promote any religion?
How to look after Judo Kit?
Where can I get a Judo uniform?
What do the different belt colours mean?
How can I progress through the belt system?
What are the coloured badges worn on the Judo suit for?
How often are gradings?











I’m thinking of taking up Judo what should I do?
Have a good look at the pages of this website and in particular the membership page.

The intake for new beginners is at the start of each school term in order to form a ‘class’ of beginners and take them through the basics as a group with a high coach to student ratio. This provides the best learning environment for beginners. If you are apprehensive about starting then be assured that ours is a friendly family club where you will be made welcome. If you want to find out more about judo try our Judo links page where you can learn more about Judo.


How fit do you need to be to do Judo?
To start to learn judo as a beginner you just need to be of average fitness for your age. You will soon get fitter as your judo career develops.

If you have any serious health issues which may be a concern or are not in good health then please discuss starting judo with your doctor before trying Judo.

In general Judo will improve your fitness level, balance and flexibility.


Is Judo an expensive sport to take up?
Not at all, all you need is a Judo uniform which aren’t expensive, on top of that you have club fees which are payable by school term and a Judo Scotland Membership of £19 per year which allows you to enter gradings and gives you insurance cover. The total cost is less than £2.50 per week which is very reasonable compared to other sports.


What to expect at your first Judo lesson?
Assuming you have been in contact with the senior club coach and have agreed a start date, this is what to expect on your first night….

Try and arrive a little early as we will need to find some judo clothes to fit you.
Wear jogging bottoms and a tee shirt. Make sure hand and toe nails are short,
and you’re not wearing anything metal-like jewelery, metal hair clasps or a watch.

At the start of the lesson the class kneels facing the teacher (Sensei) and he takes the register and passes on any important information. Then the senior judo student (judoka) says the Japanese phrase “Judoka Sensei Rei” which means roughly: We Judo players respect the teacher – (Mutual respect is an important part of Judo). Then the teachers and class bow to each other.

Then one of the coaches leads the class in a warm up and stretching, the warm up is very important in preventing injury so get into the habit of doing it properly.

Then the class is split up into groups or pairs to learn Judo techniques. You will probably be put in a small class of other beginners of a similar age and size with a coach to lead you.

If this is your first night you will probably learn how to fall and roll without hurting yourself and maybe a simple hold down or throw. Judo does involve close physical contact with other judo students which might feel a bit strange at first but you soon get used to it.

At the end we kneel in belt order and bow to each other again.

After a few weeks learning the basics and when you are ready you will join in with the main class and learn and practice more Judo techniques.

We hope you enjoy your first night at Judo and that it’s the first of many.


Does it hurt to get thrown?
Not if you fall properly and absorb the force of the throw with a ‘breakfall’. At PJC we regularly practice breakfalling and the coaches emphasise the safety aspects of each technique. If you get thrown and forget to breakfall then it can hurt, therefore we practice falling most weeks so that breakfalls become instinctive.

In Judo the ‘thrower’ is taught to take care of their partner by protecting their head and neck. In Judo you must both throw and be thrown in order to learn both sides of the technique. If the techniques are done as instructed then injury is very uncommon. If ‘big’ throws are being learned we use a crash mat to cushion your landing or perform it more slowly initially.

Judokas who ignore others safety will be excluded.

Note however that Judo is a physical combat sport and the occasional bump is to be expected.


Do girls do Judo?
Yes they certainly do, we have a number of girls at all levels in the club. The only difference is that girls must wear a tee shirt or leotard under their Judo kit and if they have long hair this should be in plaits or tied back. At club level girls and boys often practice together but in official gradings girls will only face other girls of similar age, weight and ability.


What is the ethos or etiquette of Judo?
Sportsmanship, politeness, good manners, common decency are all part of Judo. All students of Judo are expected to train themselves in Judo Etiquette and make it part of their Judo. In doing so a student will eventually understand the principle and spirit of Judo.

The following should be observed:

1. Respect your Sensei (Teacher)
2. Respect higher grades
3. Be quiet in the Dojo (Judo Hall)- before, during and after your lesson.
4. Do not indulge in “horseplay” in the Dojo- especially running about and being noisy while another class is on the mat.
5. Keep your body clean
6. Keep your finger and toe-nails short
7. Frequently wash your Judogi (Judo Suit)
8. Be considerate to lower grades
9. Never use Judo techniques outside of the Dojo
10. Be courteous to your opponent at all times
11. On entering a Dojo one should always bow (Rei means bow)
12. When stepping onto or off a Tatami, one should bow (Tatami means Mat)
13. Before and after a practice one should bow to their partner


What are the club’s ‘ground rules’?
At Focus Judo Club we believe that observing proper Judo etiquette and discipline allows for the best and safest teaching environment for learning Judo. The lessons are planned to be both fun and safe. To enhance the safety aspect we have 10 ‘ground rules’ which are there to make judo a more enjoyable experience.

Breaking these rules may mean you will have to miss part of the class, repeated breaking of the rules will lead to permanent expulsion from the class.

1. Observe proper Judo etiquette.
2. Never walk on the mats in shoes, never walk about off the mat in bare feet.
3. No food or drink is allowed on the mats.
4. Pay attention to the coach- a lot of what is taught is for your own safety.
5. Be properly dressed- Wear your Judo jacket and belt all the time when doing judo.
6. No fooling about: before, during or after your lesson.
7. No swearing or name calling.
8. No hitting, shoving, tripping etc. Bullies will NOT be tolerated.
9. Ask permission to leave the mat (Sensei needs to know where you are).
10. Look after your possessions and dont leave shoes, coats and water bottles lying about for people to trip over.


Is Judo part of a religion or does it promote any religion?
No, although Judo originates from the ‘East’ there is no religion involved or promoted. People of many different faiths enjoy Judo.

Judo is an Olympic sport similar to wresting but as it originated from Japan its terminology is in Japanese and it maintains a Japanese ethos based on sportmanship, politeness and mutual respect.

Because Japanese traditions are retained in Judo there is a bow taken before and after class, this is merely to show mutual respect between teacher and student and not for any religious reason.

Many people enjoy the polite Japanese traditions of Judo as a pleasant change from the norm.


How to look after Judo Kit?
A clean dry Judo kit is important, to stop it getting messed up either:
change at the sports centre or cover with a tracksuit.
After your lesson please neatly fold and return any borrowed kit, or if the kit is your own
please pack it away in a bag rather than leaving it lying on the floor.

Wash at 30 degrees cotton wash and dry outside or on a radiator.
If stained use vanish or similar in the wash.
Don’t use a hot wash unless you deliberatetly want to shrink it.
Dont tumble dry unless you deliberately want to shrink it.
Iron if badly crushed.

It’s not normally necessary to wash the belt but if you do need to then use
colour soap powder and dont wash it with the white kit.

The proper term for judo ‘kit’ is Judo Gi (pronounced Gee)


Where can I get a Judo uniform?
Judo uniforms (Judogi) are available from the club at lower cost than you can get on the internet. If buying one yourself please make sure it meets IJF standards, fits correctly and is White.

See our Judo Kit webpage for further information.

Note: We prefer if Judo students wear white Judogis and reserve the use of coloured Judogis for coaches and adult helpers to make them more visible to parents, visitors as well as more identifiable to the students themselves.


What do the different belt colours mean?
The belt colours signify the judo player’s skill and experience in Judo.

The colours go:

Promotion is based on demonstrating judo skill and theory up to orange belt
and on skill, theory and competition wins above orange belt.

A set syllabus is followed, examples are available for download from this site
in both the junior and senior judo pages.


How can I progress through the belt system?
Mainly by watching and listening to the Sensei (teacher) and by practiceing the techniques shown and explained to you. More important than the colour of you belt is having a solid foundation of good judo, generally speaking its better to do a few techniques really well than lots of techniques poorly.

When the Sensei sees that you are ready you will be tested on the techniques you have learned at the next club club grading. The appropriate techniques for your level are practiced regularly in the run up to a grading and at the grading itself you wont be asked to do anything you have not already practiced in your lessons.


What are the coloured badges worn on the Judo suit for?
These are ‘Mon’ badges, the Judo syllabus is divided in to 18 mons (steps) for junior players and Mon badges are awarded following gradings. There are three mon steps per belt colour.
See the Junior judo webpage for further details.

Senior Judo players (16+) do not use the mon badge system but progress from belt to belt on the Kyu system, see the senior Judo webpage for futher details.


How often are gradings?
Club gradings are held twice a year. The fee for this is included in the membership fees. For the higher belts gradings are held at the national Judo Centre in Ratho every few months.
See the events list for upcoming gradings and point scoring competitions. Competition points from wins count towards gradings.