How To Get Started in Judo In Five Easy Steps

How to get started in judo

Arguably, getting started can be the most challenging part of getting into a competitive sport. Judo is no exception — this ancient martial art requires plenty of strength, speed, and agility. Don’t be intimidated, though; with the proper instruction and some hard work, you can become a successful judoka. 

Here’s how to get started in judo in 5 easy steps:

  • Find a qualified dojo.
  • Try a trial class or two.
  • Decide if it is right for you.
  • Get all the gear you need.
  • Start learning.

The rest of this guide will detail each of these five steps. Read on to learn more about them and get started on your Judo journey today.

1. Find a Qualified Judo DoJo To Get Started In 

The first step in getting started with Judo is finding a qualified dojo. This is a training school for various martial arts like judo and karate.

Training with a certified judo instructor or Sensei will give you the best foundation for your judo journey and help prevent any potential injuries. But with so many different martial arts styles and dojos to choose from, how can you find the right one for you?

Here are a few guidelines on finding the best judo dojo for you:

  • Ask your friends and family for referrals. They may have had some good experiences with a particular dojo in your area. Besides, they may know someone who can give you sound advice on which dojo to choose.
  • Search online directories or review websites. There are many online resources where you can find detailed information about different dojos in your area, such as Google Maps and Yelp. Reading reviews from other students can help you decide if a particular dojo is right for you.
  • Attend martial arts demonstrations or events. Local martial arts studios will often hold open houses or demonstrations to introduce the public to their program. This is an excellent opportunity to meet the instructors and ask questions about their program.
  • Interview the instructor and other students. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, take some time to visit the dojos and speak to the instructors and other students. That’ll give you a better idea of what the dojo is like and whether it’s a good fit for you.
  • Tour the dojo and observe a class in session. Once you’ve decided, be sure to tour the dojo and watch a class in session. That’ll help you get a better idea of the atmosphere and how the classes are run.

2. Try a Trial Class or Two

Once you’ve located a qualified dojo, the next step is to try a trial class or two. Many studios offer free trial classes so that you can see if the program is right for you. Be sure to ask the instructor about the trial class policies before you attend.

Here are some tips on taking your first trial judo class:

  • Be respectful to fellow students and instructors. Remember, you’re a guest in the dojo and should behave accordingly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you’re having trouble following along or don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The instructors are there to help you learn.
  • Take notes or journal. It’s helpful to take notes during the trial class to help you remember what you learn. Of course, these might have to be mental notes seeing as how you will be on the mats. That said, make sure to write down in a journal a few things you learned as soon as class is over. 
  • Try different clubs and instructors. Not all judo classes are the same. Try a few different clubs and instructors to see which one fits you best.

3. Decide if Judo is Right for You

Are you looking for a new hobby? Or perhaps you’re thinking about joining a competitive sport? Judo might be the perfect activity for you.

Still, before you sign up for classes, it’s essential to decide if Judo is right for you. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Do you enjoy physical activity? Judo is a highly demanding sport, physically. You’ll need to be in good shape to participate.
  • Are you willing to commit time to practice? Judo requires dedication and regular practice to improve.
  • Do you like to compete? If you’re interested in competitive sports, keep in mind that Judo can be pretty competitive.
  • Are you prepared to invest in equipment? You’ll need a judogi (judo uniform), a belt, and other protective gear to participate in Judo.

4. Get All the Gear You Need

Once you’ve decided to get started in judo, the next step is to get all the gear you need. Getting the right equipment is crucial for your safety and that of others. This can be a little daunting, but don’t worry; I’m here to help.

Here are the essential pieces of equipment you’ll need when getting started in judo:

Judo Uniform (Judo Gi)

A judogi is a specially-designed uniform worn by judo practitioners. It’s made of heavy cotton or linen fabric and has a tight fit, so you can use it for throwing and grappling.

Here are a few things to look for when purchasing a judogi:

  • The fabric should be durable but lightweight for easy movement.
  • The jacket (top part of the uniform) should be well-fitted and not too baggy.
  • The pants (trousers) should be snug but not too tight.
  • The sleeves and pant legs should be hemmed, so they don’t fray.

A good example is this FUJI Judo Uniform available on It’s an excellent quality gi, quite affordable, comfortable, and built to last, thanks to its cotton blend and quality stitching.

Judo Belt

A belt is worn around the waist to secure the judogi. It’s also used to indicate the wearer’s rank. There are a variety of belts available, so it’s crucial to find one that fits you properly.

Here are a few things to look for when choosing a belt:

  • The belt should be made of a sturdy fabric and have a tight fit.
  • It should be long enough to fit your waist with plenty of overlap.
  • The belt should be color-coded according to rank.

Protective Gear

To participate in Judo, you’ll need to wear protective gear. This includes a mouthguard and for some people headgear. Proper headgear can help prevent common issues such as cauliflower ear

Not all of this gear is required for every class, but it’s essential to have it available when you need it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing protective gear:

  • The gear should be comfortable to wear and fit properly.
  • It should be made of a durable material that can withstand impact.
  • It should be easy to clean and maintain.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a closer look at each piece of equipment:

  • Mouthguard. A mouthguard is an essential piece of protective gear. It helps protect your teeth and jaw from injury. There are a variety of mouthguards available, so it’s crucial to find one that fits you properly.
  • Headgear. Headgear is another piece of protective gear sometimes worn in judo. It helps protect your ears from injury. When selecting headgear, look for one made of a durable material that fits comfortably.

Compression Gloves

Compression gloves are a great way to improve your grip strength and dexterity. They’re also helpful in preventing hand injuries. Constantly making grips in judo can wear out your fingers and hands. 

When choosing compression gloves, be sure to choose a pair that fits your hand size correctly and is made of durable material.

If you need compression gloves, get these Grappz gloves available on They’re made of a durable cotton blend and feature a snug fit for superior compression.

For more on what gear you need to get started in judo check out my article: What Kind Of Gear Do You Need For Judo! 

5. Start Learning Judo!

After choosing the dojo you want to join and purchasing the proper gear, you’re ready to start learning Judo. Remember, this is a highly physical and intense sport, so you must be prepared to work hard and sweat a lot.

However, that shouldn’t discourage you, since the rewards are well worth the effort. Here are some tips to make the learning process more manageable:

Focus on the Basics First

Judo is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes speed and leverage over strength. It can be an extremely effective self-defense system, but only if it’s learned correctly.

Once you start your journey to becoming a judoka, you need to focus on the basics first. While it may be tempting to learn more complex techniques, it’s crucial to master the basic throws and takedowns before moving on. Once you’ve learned these foundation skills, you can confidently move on to more advanced techniques.

In addition, you should focus on Judo’s core principles. By keeping these things in mind, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Train Hard and Stay Focused

To improve your judo skills, you must be willing to work hard. This means practicing regularly and training with a partner who’s better than you. It also means staying focused during training and not letting your guard down.

Additionally, always try to learn from your mistakes. When you make a blunder, analyze what you did wrong and try not to do it again. If you can do these things, you’ll see dramatic improvements in your judo game.

Compete in Judo Tournaments

One of the best ways to improve your judo skills is to compete in judo tournaments. This allows you to test your skills against other judoka of varying levels.

Not only will you learn what it takes to win a judo tournament, but you’ll also develop the mental toughness needed to succeed. Also, competing in tournaments is a great way to make new friends and learn from other judoka.

Be Patient and Stay Dedicated

It takes time and dedication to become a good judoka. In fact, it takes most people 4-6 years to get their black belt in judo. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Instead, stay patient and continue to work hard.

If you follow this advice, you’ll eventually reach your goals. And, when that happens, you‘ll be able to call yourself a judoka.

Stay Positive and Have Fun

As with any sport, it’s crucial to stay positive and have fun. Judo can be a challenging sport, but you’ll enjoy it more and progress faster if you approach it with the right attitude.

Remember to always train safely and respect your training partners. Above all, have fun and enjoy your journey to becoming a judoka.

Watch Videos of Top Judoka Or Purchase An Online Course

One of the best ways to improve your judo skills is to watch videos of top judoka. That’ll give you a better understanding of how the best players in the world play the game.

Not only will this help you improve your skills, but it’ll also motivate you to reach their level. You can do this by watching free videos online or purchasing a program online that covers the basics of judo. A good one to get started with would be Judo Basics by Shintaro Higashi

Follow These Five Simple Steps To Get Started In Judo

Judo is a challenging sport, but it can also be fun. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can become a good judoka. Remember to focus on the basics, train hard, stay positive, and have fun.

In addition, be sure to get all the gear you need before starting your journey. Also, don’t forget to ask questions if you have any — Judo is a complex sport, and there’s always something to learn. Good luck on your journey to becoming a judoka!


Joshua Paul

Joshua Paul is a BJJ purple belt who lives in Austin, Texas. Joshua loves all forms of grappling and when he is off the mats he is likely spending time with his wife and son.

Recent Posts