Judo as a form of Self Defence
Although ability in a judo man to throw, strangle or put an arm lock on an adversary
makes him somebody to fear in a brawl, judo itself is not a complete system of self-defence. The
judoman, although practising some form of kicking or striking in kata, is not thereby made
All the combat arts are deficient in one way or another. A boxer is vulnerable to attacks
at a low level or in close quarters. The karate man is weak on the ground or perhaps due to the
continuous pulling of his opponents’ punches and kicks is not able to take punishment in the way
a boxer does. A judoman is vulnerable to kicks and punches. It takes a combination of all the
combat arts to acquire a complete defence.
The ideal would be a judoman who boxes and does karate for the kicking techniques.
However, a practitioner of any one of these combat arts will be fit, will have good reflexes, will
be strong and without dithering will be able to attack instantly with his particular techniques. This
puts such men at a huge advantage over the average untrained man.
The best way to learn judo is at a reputable club. If you have difficulty in finding a local
club the British Judo Association will advise of your nearest one. It is also advisable to check
with the BJA about your instructor. There are many charlatans professing to be judo experts who
will tell you they are such and such a black belt.
Grades in judo are awarded for ability and progress through various coloured belts and
then through Dan grades. They are:
6th Kyu white 3rd Dan black
5th Kyu white 4th Dan black
4th Kyu white 5th Dan black
3rd Kyu white 6th Dan red and white
2nd Kyu white 7th Dan red and white
1st Kyu white 8th Dan red and white
1st Dan white 9th Dan red
2nd Dan white 10th Dan red
Sixth Dans and above may wear black belts if they wish and generally do so except for
formal demonstrations. The top international competition men are usually 4th Dan and they
acquire higher grades as they grow older through knowledge and service to the sport. The club
you join should have a proper judo mat and will provide a judo kit. If these are not available
some surface soft enough to absorb a heavy throw is necessary with some loose strong clothing
tough enough to take a lot of pulling. You will then be ready for your first lessons in Judo.