It is estimated that over 40 million people across several countries, including the United States, practice judo either as a sport, recreational activity, educational or philosophical exercise. Regardless of your reason for wanting to learn or participate in judo, signing up with a good judo club near you can provide you with the proper direction needed to unlock the numerous benefits of this activity. These benefits include physical fitness, self-defense skills, improved confidence, improved self-awareness, and exposure to a social network.
A good judo club near you is typically staffed by a network of trained judo instructors that have the right amount of experience and expertise to give you training that aligns with your judo preferences. However, before joining a judo club or training with a judo instructor, it is crucial to ascertain if they are qualified and whether their area of focus fits your judo preferences. Regarding this, you should make the following inquiries:
Generally, judo clubs and instructors are required to obtain a state-issued license or satisfy specific legal requirements before operating. However, the scope of these licenses or legal requirements varies by state and judo specialty. In most states, judo instructors who specialize in training professional judo practitioners are usually required to obtain a different license from instructors and judo clubs that teach judo for self-defense, recreational purposes, or educational purposes. States that require a separate license for professional judo trainers include California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. While some states like Connecticut issue licenses to judo clubs and instructors who train non-professional judo practitioners, others, such as New York, do not. Instead, they require other legal requirements, such as a Certificate of Deposit or Bond.
Before hiring the services of a judo instructor or club near you, it is crucial to find out whether they have satisfied the licensing or other legal requirements in your state. In finding out, you can contact your state's consumer protection agency for inquiries and assistance. In addition to checking a judo instructor's or club's licensing status, it is best to hire one that is a member of a reputable judo association like the United States Judo Association or the United States Judo Federation. These associations typically conduct continuous on-the-job training and organize programs to help broaden and develop their members' knowledge of judo. Also, they generally have professional codes of conduct that they expect their members to uphold. As a result, hiring the services of a judo instructor or club that belongs to such associations increases your likelihood of receiving proper and satisfactory training or education.
Finally, judo clubs and associations like the United States Judo Association sometimes develop specialized training for judo instructors and award certifications after the program is completed. These certifications indicate that an instructor has gained additional knowledge regarding a judo specialty, ranging from professional to educational judo. Therefore, besides hiring a licensed instructor that belongs to a credible association, it is also a good idea to hire an instructor or club with certifications in your area of judo preference.
The cost for judo training sessions depends on several factors, such as the level of training required, the frequency of the training, and your location. For example, professional judo training sessions are typically more expensive than self-defense or educational judo training sessions. While professional judo training can cost between $100 - $200 per hour, self-defense and educational judo training costs between $50 - $200 per month. Similarly, the frequency of the judo training partly determines its cost. For example, judo training sessions twice a week costs between $50 - $70 per month, while judo training sessions seven days a week costs between $100 - $200 per month. As a result, the exact cost for judo training largely varies.
Nevertheless, when booking judo training with an instructor or judo club, you can take certain steps to help decrease potential costs and keep the training fee within your budget. Such steps include:
- Obtaining a judo club membership or making advance payment: If you intend to learn judo for a long time, likely between three months and a year, it is ideal to obtain a judo club membership or make an advance payment, such as quarterly or yearly payments. Eventually, membership fees and advance payments typically cost less than the total cost of each single training session.
- Checking for discounts: Judo clubs usually offer discounts, although the particular discount varies by club. For example, some judo clubs give free sparring gear to trainees, while some other clubs offer judo uniforms at a discounted rate. Consequently, checking with a judo club on available discounts and utilizing such discounts can help reduce the overall cost of hiring the club's services.
Besides the cost of booking a training session or obtaining a judo club membership, there may be other expenses associated with judo training. Such expenses include:
- The cost of getting judo accessories or equipment: For judo training sessions, trainees are usually required to obtain certain accessories such as a judo uniform, belt, and sparring gear, and these accessories are generally not covered under the training fee. While some judo clubs may offer these accessories to trainees at a discounted rate, some clubs charge the full fee necessary for procurement. Regardless, any amount spent on getting these necessary judo accessories is an additional expense common to judo training.
Administrative fees: Some judo trainees may wish to join nationally recognized judo associations, such as the United States Judo Federation or the United States Judo Association, to take advantage of opportunities to develop their judo knowledge and skills. Accordingly, there are various administrative fees incidental to the membership application and registration process for these associations, and these fees account for additional expenses.
Furthermore, some judo clubs may also offer additional services, such as personal training, which are not included in the membership or basic training fee. As a result, it is essential to inquire about what is included in a judo club's or instructor's membership or training fees before joining the club or booking a training session.
Generally, a judo instructor personally handles the training sessions of trainees. However, if you join a judo club, there might be a rotation of judo instructors. In most cases, judo clubs have multiple judo instructors and assign these instructors in an organized manner. Nevertheless, whether one or more judo instructors will handle your training sessions, it is crucial to ensure any judo instructor assigned to train you has a competent level of experience and expertise. Considering how intricate judo can be, incompetent training can lead to a poor understanding of the martial art and injuries during sparring. You can typically find out about an instructor's level of experience and expertise by asking the judo club, the instructor, or any current member or trainee of the judo club or instructor, as the case may be. Furthermore, before finalizing any agreements with a judo club or instructor, ensure they have satisfied any legal requirements necessary in your state of residence. You can confirm a judo club or instructor's level of compliance for legal requirements by contacting your state's consumer protection agency.
As of 2019, it is estimated that there are 417,100 recreation workers in the United States providing instruction and training in several activities, including judo. Depending on the activity and the level of coaching, the educational qualifications for a recreation worker vary. For judo instructors, the typical educational qualification is a high school diploma or its equivalent. In addition to their educational qualifications, judo instructors typically improve their knowledge of judo by maximizing training programs and events organized by nationally recognized judo associations such as the United States Judo Association. Furthermore, judo instructors develop their expertise and judo knowledge by applying for additional training and obtaining certifications from associations and organizations such as the United States Judo Federation or the United States Judo Association. Finally, other experiences or expertise are typically acquired through personal practice and maximizing any opportunities available in the judo community.
Before joining a judo club or booking the services of a judo instructor near you, it is vital to ascertain the club's or instructor's expertise and professionalism. An effective way of doing this is by asking for references from previous members, visitors, or trainees. Generally, references are reviews of a judo club's or instructor's overall service delivery. References typically shed light on the club's or instructor's level of professionalism, expertise, work ethic, and other training-related information and they help with your decision-making and give you an indirect experience with a judo club or instructor.
Besides asking for references, you can also visit review-dedicated platforms such as Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp. These platforms contain different reviews from individuals who have practiced at a judo club or hired a judo instructor. The information on these platforms can help with your decision-making. They are also a good starting point for finding suitable judo clubs or competent judo instructors.
In addition, you can ask friends and family members to refer a competent judo instructor or judo club to you. Since friends and family members are easily accessible and share a close relationship with you, they are also likely to give detailed information and be more honest regarding a judo club or instructor. However, ensure to ask any referred judo club or instructor for references from members or trainees.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The primary objective of judo as a sport and form of martial arts is to throw, imbalance, and defeat an opponent with a choke, pin, or joint lock. In achieving this, judo practitioners learn some basic skills that include:
- Posture and movement
- Holding and grip
- Throwing and falling
- Choking, pinning, and joint locks
These skills are typically categorized into three techniques which are grappling techniques (katame waza), throwing techniques (nage waza), and vital-point striking techniques (atemi waza).
The purpose of learning judo is to attain physical discipline through the practice of attack and defense, mental discipline through the training of the personality and mind, and ultimately positively contribute to society.
Some of the working principles of judo are:
- Take advantage of your opponent's strengths and weaknesses
- Know when and how to apply momentum and force
- Understand the value of giving way
- Maximize balancing and off-balancing
The length of time for learning judo largely depends on a practitioner's judo aspirations. For example, it may take a couple of months of consistent training to earn a white belt which typically signifies that its holder has passed elementary judo training. In contrast, it can take between three to six years, or more, of dedicated training for a judo practitioner to earn a first-degree black belt. A black belt indicates that its holder has attained a high level of judo understanding and practice.
In the United States, the United States Judo Association and the United States Judo Federation have varying ways through which they rank judo practitioners under their oversight. For example, judo practitioners under the United States Judo Association rank up after they meet certain association-dependent minimum requirements, pass the applicable examinations, get a promotion recommendation from their instructor, and provide the proper amount of documented USJA Activity Points.
The differences between judo and jiu-jitsu are their emphasized techniques and their scoring systems. In judo, practitioners are taught to master their standing or posture technique, with lesser emphasis on their ground techniques. In contrast, jiu-jitsu practitioners are trained to master their ground techniques, with a lesser focus on their standing or posture technique. Also, winning a judo game involves pinning your opponent for at most 20 seconds, throwing your opponent on their back, or forcing your opponent into submission. In jiu-jitsu, winning a game is based on point systems, time limits, and forcing an opponent into submission.
Judo is regarded as the best martial art for several reasons that include that:
- It focuses on training the mind and not only the body
- Its techniques, such as grappling and throwing techniques, are effective in reducing the differences in opponents' strengths and weaknesses
- It applies beyond sports and is applicable in general life affairs
- It teaches its students and participants to contribute to society