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First Judo Lesson; Looking for Encouragement


OK. Those who have a low opinion of me already do not need to respond. It's fine.

Anyway, I had my first judo class a night ago and am pretty sore now. The tempo was fairly rapid and we had to do a lot of gymnastics, some of it somewhat bizarre.

Lots of falling. Again, it was quick and it was pretty tough to get a hang of it all, especially as people were improvising. I jarred my neck a little taking a fall and ultimately got a slight, but not serious headache.

Worked a pin on the ground. Was so-so.

And ultimately did a short randori with somebody much more experienced and older. It seems as if I could have perhaps kept him at bay with pure strength but did not feel very good about it and held back a little, getting pinned and stuck a few times over. I was put off a litte by the fact that he apparently saw it fit to press into my throat and face with the forearm, the legality of which I questioned. I ended up asking someone who's into BJJ and he claimed it's within the rules.

I'm still not sure whether to continue. I last tried martial arts as a teen and ended it due to social anxiety of the time. I'm not like that anymore though I'm self-concious about any mistakes I may do.

The decision regarding continuing is up to me of course but I would like to hear from people with a solid background in judo or related grappling arts. Did you feel like it got more interesting over time and did you have to force yourself at all? As opposed to being sure from the get-go. I do have some hobbies so it's not as if it's 'necessary' for me, and would likely pose challenges I do not care for, but perhaps there are reasons why it's worth the cost. I'm no longer a boy and fear the remainder of youth passing without any athletic achievement other than weights. As an adult, options are somewhat limited.


Judo isn't for everybody. Every practice, you run the risk of injury... whether it's taking a bad fall, getting choked too hard, a hard joint lock, etc. If you're afraid of getting hurt, it's probably not the martial art for you.

That said, I fucking love judo. There are only a few TMAs that you get to do that are full contact every practice. This not only teaches you to be physically tough, but mentally tough as well. If you do it and stick with it, you will learn more about yourself than you'd ever thought.

Since you're new, you really need to focus on the basics. The first thing to learn is the proper way to take a break-fall. This would probably be the 'gymnastics' they had you doing... rolling breakfalls. This will teach you how to land when you get thrown. Keeping your chin tucked is probably the most important part of the breakfall. Not tucking your chin will lead to your head bouncing off the mat - get thrown hard enough without a good break-fall and you can get knocked out.

Also important is getting your grips. Your grip will set your opponent up to be thrown, and it will also block your opponent from throwing you. Getting a good kuzushi is just as important. Kuzushi is breaking your opponents balance... either by pushing, pulling, or turning them.

Next time you practice, instead of doing rondori, seek out one of the higher belted students and ask if he'll work with you on these basic principles. Once you are compitent in the basics, then you can jump back in and do some rondori. Like I said, injuries happen... I don't want to scare you off by listing all of mine out, but if you're mindful of the basics you can minimize the liklihood of serious injury.

And that choke with the forearm across your throat is totally legal.


Nice post Steve-O

I love Judo.
Judo is awesome.
It is also a fantastic base for other grappling arts should you decide
to switch it up.

Its arguably one of the worlds most popular sports

played as a little kid
then HS & College wrestling then post college club wrestling

all the while still playing judo
Played very seriously til my early 30's
much less later on, and not much now in my late 30's

Judo is allot more physical then people think.
Far far more physical then BJJ Im never sure where people would think its not.
Its a sport based on picking people up and dropping them hard.
why wouldn't the training reflect that?

that being said you can come to Judo at any age, and from any or lack of athletic background
and still excel and have fun.

I rate the grappling arts this way in terms of their physicality

Greco Roman wrestling
freestyle wrestling

the tumbling to me always feels good its just a good way to get warm
and keep developing some decent motor skills and its an easy way to
get in a rhythm for falls, and being thrown, which is like half of what
Judo is.

Ukemi really is essential- particularly for beginners it will keep you safe.
its not fun in the beginning but you do need to do the work.

Steve gave some solid tips there too.
asking for some one to properly show you drills you can do,
or helping set up your grips is a great idea, and would be time well spent.

Really when you get to start throwing people it will feel great.
maybe you will even like being thrown- its kind of fun to defeat gravity,
even if its only for a second.

Judo will reap lots of benefits in your other training

You will always have good balance
your grip strength will be fantastic relative to lifting
if you try other grappling after judo you will find you have superior posture

Judo can kick your ass but its fun as fuck.


What both these guys said!

Judo is a great sport, but very taxing on the body (especially at the start).
I'd say go with judo, stick it out and you'll get the hang of it :wink:

And that choke is, as said before, legal.
In BJJ you are even allowed to choke someone out using your fist as a pressure point (e.g. a triangle choke that needs more pressure) or your forearm.


I don't get how you came up with this metric? Are you just talking about potential to get hurt?

That said, I'm one of those who leans towards "grappling", rather than a specific style, while more of my training is BJJ (I hate the gi), I am, and have always (just the way I was taught) incorporated wrestling and Judo techniques.


Not KMC, but pretty sure he is referring to the "roughness"/physicality of the above sports.

In Greco participants are actually encouraged to slam each other (slams and high flying throws score more points). Judo also scores high flying throws higher I believe (but am admittedly less familiar with Judo's rules), but I don't know that they score slams higher.

Freestyle on the other hand (and folkstyle) does not permit slamming the opponent. In fact, in some cases it's an immediate disqualification. It is still however a very physical sport and the simple fact that one can lose a match simply by being put to ones back makes it more physical than BJJ.

BJJ is the least physical of the bunch, as things like the "butt scoot" position and the guard positions mean that the participants may be very close to the ground (thus minimizing the liklihood of hard throws/falls) right from the get go. The rules are also very different from wrestling (freestyle, folkstyle, or Greco) which changes things.

BJJ does however highly prioritize joint locks and chokes, so it's not like it's a completely nonphysical discipline. Just, in comparison to the above arts, it's less physically demanding.

That's my understanding anyhow.


You have to ask yourself why you are doing martial arts in the first place. Is it just another form of exercise for you? Are you looking to improve your combative skills? Are you looking to compete in a combative sport?

If it's just another form of exercise and you feel like the level of physicality is too demanding for you, then maybe you might be better off looking into another art. BJJ was already mentioned as another grappling art which is less "rough" but will still teach you many of the same techniques as Judo. Aikido would also be another viable option (even less physical than BJJ, in fact probably the least physical of the grappling arts IMO).

If you are looking to improve your combative skills, then realize that combat is a very physically demanding activity. In this case I'd just suggest sucking it up and continuing to practice. Maybe leave the ego out of practice a little more and work with the more experienced guys whenever you can to try to pick up on what they are doing rather than trying to "win" all the time.

If you are looking to compete in a combative sport, the again you might want to just suck it up, or possibly look for a slightly less physical combat sport (keep in mind that they're all pretty physical though) like BJJ, or olympic TKD.


Learn how to fall properly. It will save you a whole lot of "discomfort." Especially if tori doesn't give you any support. When I first started I practiced falling religiously, and it paid off.
At the very beginning after an hour or so of being thrown, the constant jarring of my head just made me want to stop, no actual pain involved. After I got much better at falling, I could go for three hours or so.
The way our sensei teaches beginners starts with falling, off-balancing, and throwing techniques, and then transitions into grappling, chokes, holds, locks, etc... I love the ground work, so it definitely got more interesting over time.
As for scoring of throws, ippon is awarded for a throw that puts uke on his/her back with force, speed, and control. Height does not affect the score (you could pick up your opponent and drop them from overhead, but if they manage to land on their side rather than completely on their back then you likely won't, and shouldn't get ippon).


Sento - where did you get the idea from that freestyle wrestling does not permit slamming?

All Greco throws such as suplexes are permissable in freestyle but any number of slams arise from pick ups at any freestyle tournament.

What you say may be true of folkstyle wrestling.


Sento - thanks for getting my Back!
pretty much how I see it from expirience

not knocking BJJ or freestyle at all - just how they rank as far as physicality

Bjj however as Sento mentioned - has a strong ephasis on joint locks chokes,
and lots of ways to make someone uncomfortable...

I posted these like forever ago here is a Sambo Vid I found showing how they warm up
some of this is pretty typical to me from one of the judo gyms I went to
and some of it was a little different overall its pretty typical


Real Judo is a fucking rough sport no matter how you slice it. Some of the videos from Japan of training injuries that occur on a weekly basis just make me cringe. Usually it's not even really debilitating stuff, but just injuries that look incredibly painful/annoying and a bitch to take care of when you have to train all week.

I tried to get into a Judo club locally, but it was really watered down shit and they were catering to housewives and 10 year old kids, no thanks.


there's some great advice here....i wish i was able to take judo growing up. i firmly believe it's one of the most applicable forms of martial arts for self defense as well as being a great workout.

with that being said, if you're not into the rules, and then you might wanna go elsewhere. i roll occasionally with our local BJJ club, and while they're great guys and it's great instruction, i get annoyed when i have to hold back in certain areas. i would train with the MMA guys, but they're more or less a bunch of thugs, and not worried about technique. regardless, i still occasionally train in BJJ, but i needed to change MY mindset, about when i was getting from it.

good luck!