A typical Judo session

A typical Judo session will consist of seven parts:

  • Registration

Names will be taken and money collected, some clubs are very strict on the process, some not. It is important to ensure that you are aware of the correct “Protocols” in the class your child attends. Often clubs will want parents to fulfil certain tasks such as staying till the class starts or helping to lay Judo mats. Others will happy to see your child without you even being seen. Judo clubs are notoriously bad at making all this clear, so you will need to seek out those who look to be running things and/or speak with other parents.

  • Bows

Most, but not all clubs will have a formal bow to begin the session. This will normally consist of lining up all the children on one side of the Judo mat in order of their Judo grade. The instructor will be on the other side of the mat facing them. Many clubs will now sit in the traditional kneeling position before proceeding. Depending on the club, the class will bow first to a picture of Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo or to the picture of a similarly important figure in the clubs history. After this the class will bow towards the instructor. Many parents worry about the significance of the bows and are concerned about religious issues. Judo bows are not religious. Judo bows are an extension of the culture of the founding nation Japan. Bows are used to show respect in the first instance to the memory and works of Jigoro Kano without that there would be no Judo. The second bow towards the instructor shows respect to the instructor and their bow in turn is a way of showing respect to the students.

  • Warm up

Before launching into the vigorous sport of Judo it is important to ensure that the body (and mind) are suitably prepared. After the initial bows the club will have warm up exercises to increase blood flow to the muscles, to gently stretch the muscle fibres and especially in the case of children, to get their minds into the right attitude to learn or practise judo. The warm up will typically consist of some gentle running and/or physical exercises followed by some basic stretches of the main muscle groups. During or after the warm up, there is often a period where the important break fall techniques are practised to ensure all the students know how to protect themselves when thrown. Gymnastic movements such as cartwheels and handstands are often practised as well. These movements have some practical application in Judo but are also important tools in developing an awareness and control of the body when it is in movement and often upside down.

  • Instruction

Once the class has warmed up, the instructor will begin teaching the class. This teaching will normally consist of one if not several of the following common methods.

1. Technique demonstration. The instructor will show a particular throw, hold or other technique to the class, showing key elements. Students will then practise these techniques while the instructor observes and assists

2. Exercises To build core elements the class may practise exercises that build the elements. This may be technique drills, physical strength, speed or endurance exercises.

3. Games Especially in the case of children, games are played that teach the students things required for Judo. Instructors to give fun breaks before continuing with activities that need more attention also often use games.

4. Randori (Free practise) In Randori, students will attempt to throw one another. It is up too the individuals to decide what to try and their opponent normally will be trying to avoid our counter their techniques. These are “play fights”, where students get the opportunity to try what they have learnt. Normally, it is up t each couple to decide how hard to fight, often the intensity being first high, then low, then high again as the partnerships are changed during the session. The learning that takes place during Randori is considerable, students are learning by doing. Each failed attempt helps sharpen the skills, each time someone is thrown both people learn. Parents and instructors should try to ensure that children appreciate that it is important to both throw and be thrown in equal amounts.

  • Cool Down

Near the end of the class, the instructor will stop the class and together everyone will do exercises and stretches to cool the body down. This process helps prevent injuries and also improves flexibility and the ability of the body to recover from the exercise.

  • Bows

The bows from the start of the class are repeated at the end of the class, in reverse order. The Bows at the start and end of the class help to punctuate the training. It makes it very clear when the class begins and ends, so that the students know when they should be in “Judo mode”. Photo from: kimicon

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This entry was posted by lancew on Friday, March 28th, 2008 at 1:23 am 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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