Simple judo techniques and stretches

Judo is a combat sport, a form of wrestling derived from the Japanese martial art of ju-jitsu. Here are some techniques and stretches to get you started.

Simple judo techniques and stretches

Master some essential judo moves

Your aim is to win by throwing or immobilizing your opponent, while defending yourself from attack.

  • Safe landings: Before you learn to win at judo, you should learn how to lose at judo — that is, you need to know how to fall when you're thrown. This is the first thing that you'll be taught if you join a judo club. The essence of the "breakfall", as it's known, is to roll rather than hit the mat flat.
  • Learning to throw: There are many effective ways of throwing an opponent. But in competitive judo you're aiming not merely to land your opponent on the mat, but to do so with good technique, since this is what wins points. Osoto-gari is one of the basic judo throws.
  • Winning the bout: A controlled throw that lifts an opponent off their feet and onto their back scores an ippon — a full point — and the match is won. There are other ways of scoring an ippon: pinning an opponent on their back for 25 seconds, and applying an arm-lock or a stranglehold that forces the opponent to submit. Arm-locks and strangleholds can be dangerous: they should only be performed by experienced judoka (judo fighters).

Practise basic stretching exercises

An important aspect of judo or any sport is stretching. Stretching can make you feel relaxed and help to keep you limber as well as preventing painful tight muscles after exercise. Stretch slowly, feeling the muscles tense but stopping short of pain. Never "bounce" to extend a stretch, but keep the pressure even as you gradually reach a little further. Alternate sides, repeating five times on each.

  • For chest and shoulders: Stand at right angles to a wall. Reach across to press against the wall. Make sure you're close enough to do this without leaning your body. Keeping your hips facing forwards, twist your torso towards the wall to feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds then swap sides.
  • For calves: Stand arm's length from a wall and brace yourself with your palms flat against it. Step back with your left leg and lean gently in, bending the right leg at the knee, while keeping both heels firmly on the floor and making sure that your back and left leg remain straight. Press against the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf and hold for 15 seconds. Push yourself upright and repeat with the other leg.
  • For a side stretch: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and raise your right arm. Relax your left arm in front of you. Gently lean to the left, curving your right arm over your head, palm down. Stop when you feel a pull from hip to shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds then straighten. Repeat on the other side.

Judo is a great way to practice self-defense and stay in shape. Start your training today with these simple tips!

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