What Is Judo?

Judo is a popular Olympic and Paralympic sport and martial art, practiced by over 40 million people worldwide. Accessible to all ages, genders and abilities, judo is inclusive, and is enjoyed for fun as well as competition.

Judo is a full contact sport, practiced in a free-form with partners rather than rigid routines. improving coordination, flexibility, balance, strength and leads to improved mental health. Judo is also a great cardiovascular exercise, helping to improve stamina and endurance.

Judo is an exciting and dynamic sport where players use movement and balance to gain advantage over each other. It includes throwing and grappling techniques, as well as groundwork, hold-downs and, for adults, submissions.

Judo is not just a physical discipline: It’s much more than that!


The Judo Moral Code

Judo has its own moral code – a set of ethics and values designed to guide judoka (judo players) both on and off the mat. Learning this philosophy is as important as learning the throws!

Friendship & respect - Judo Moral Code

Progression & Development


There are many ways to develop and advance within judo.

The most obvious is the ‘belt’ system – where judoka can work their way up through the colours, to earn the coveted black belt.

Judo offers slightly different systems for grading depending on a player’s age. Kai grades are offered to players under 8 years old, where fundamental movement skills are demonstrated along with basic techniques.

Players aged 8-16 may progress through the Mon grade system. Between 14 and 16 players may choose to convert to the adult Kyu grades at their current stage of progress. Mon grades use the same syllabus as Kyu grades, just divided into 1/3 sections making progress more manageable.

Players over 15 and holding the rank of 1st Kyu may test their competitive and technical skills and be assessed for their 1st Dan black belt, and may continue to do so until 5th Dan, and beyond!

Click the belt images to view the grade requirements.

History of Judo

Originating from jujitsu, judo was created in 1882 in Japan by Jigoro Kano. Kano was an educator and from it’s beginning judo became a method for both physical and mental development.

Judo became part of the Japanese School system between 1906 and 1917 and is now one of Japan’s most popular sports.

Judo became an Olympic sport at the Tokyo Games in 1964. The International Judo Federation today brings together more than 200 national federations, and 5 continental unions.

It is because of this history and the Moral Code, that even today it remains a very popular part of school curriculums around the world.

As well as keeping fit, it teaches children self-discipline and encourages them to deal with life in a constructive and positive manner.

After all, the word judo consists of two Japanese characters – ‘ju’ which means ‘gentle’ and ‘do’ which means ‘the way’.

Judo literally means ‘the way of gentleness’.

Judo is more than a sport to us – it’s a philosophy, a family and, for many of us, a way of life. Welcome to Judo!

Founder of Judo - Jigoro Kano