How to help your child learn Judo.


Judo, like most things a child does is learned. And like most things your child learns, be it football/soccer, tennis, reading or tying their shoe laces; it is normally a parent that helps them the most to start with.


Judo is no different, despite what some may thing and even say. You as the parent can help your child learn Judo; even if you’ve never done it (or done very little). Ideally, you will have done some Judo yourself, but not having done Judo definitely does not preclude you helping your child start in Judo.


So… How can you help?


First and foremost, you can help keep by encouraging and supporting your child. Judo can be tough, so a encouraging word here and there from Mum or Dad is worth a thousand lessons.


Other things that you can do to help include:


Helping with vocabulary – Use the web ( is a great site) or buy a book ( amazon link goes here) and help your child learn the basic terms, such as Hajime (start), Matte (stop), Rei (bow) and the numbers up to 10. Learning the names of the throws can help take the pressure of your child when they are in the class.


Help with the techniques – Judo like many things is built on basics. Even the most complicated Judo technique is based on some fundamental principles, you can learn these principles and help ensure that you child is following them.

The three stages of a throw for example are simple to understand and a parent can with very little practice accurately see if they are being applied correctly. The three stages are (and need to be applied in this order):


  1. Balance Breaking – Changes the other persons balance so they are unstable

  2. Body Fitting – Placing your body in a position to act as a lever that makes the other person fall.

  3. Throwing – The actual throwing of the other person.


They need to be executed in that order, or things don’t work. Typically children will not break the opponents balance before trying to throw the other. Sometimes they neither break the balance or fit their body to their opponent. Even without a black belt most parents can see this once they know what to look for and can help their child learn to do it right.


Play with your child – or practice with them. Children learn their baseball skills throwing a ball around in the garden with Mum or Dad (or each other). They learn to read by Mum and Dad first reading to them, then helping them to read. Judo is no different, if you do Judo with them at home, they will learn faster and enjoy it more. You can help them practice hold downs on the living room floor, or let them roll you over with throws on the grass.



These are just a few small ideas on how you can help your child, which do not require you to be a black belt (or even a yellow belt). Hopefully they show you how you can help your child get started.




We would absolutely recommend that parents take at least a beginners course in Judo themselves. You don’t need to reach the upper levels of Judo, but having some experience of Judo will make a huge difference.


You may also consider attending a beginners coaching course in Judo, this will also help ensure that you understand what is relevant and important in Judo. As always, the best person to talk to about helping your child is the club instructor and the national bodies.


Talk to the instructor about joining (or starting) and “for parents” beginners class. There are too few of them out there at the moment, so starting one may be the option you must go for.


Catch the Judo “bug” from your child, and help them keep it by being involved yourself.


(The photo is of my friends at the Kokoro Judo Club in Scotland) 


This entry was posted by lancew on Monday, June 11th, 2007 at 11:40 pm and is filed under Judo . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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