What to Expect On Your First Visit

Everyone at Barnet Judo Club was new at one stage or another. Here, we will try and explain what to expect on your first visit.


Dojo – This is the hall that we practice Judo in.

Judogi (Gi) – This is the special suit that is worn to practice Judo.

Judoka – This is what people who practice Judo are called.

Rei – This is the command to bow, bowing is a sign of respect in Japan where Judo originated.

Matte – Stop! Immediately

Dojo Rules

Below are rules that you should be aware of before you come to visit:

  • NO FOOTWEAR ON THE MAT. Judo is performed bare foot. Judogis are kept clean. At no point should anyone walk on the mat in any shoes.
  • NO BARE FEET OFF THE MAT. If you have to leave the mat, you must not walk on the floor in bare feet. Ideally you’ll have a pair of flip flops (Zori) to wear as you leave the mat area.
  • NO JEWELLERY ON THE MAT. Jewellery can cause injury to yourself and others. All jewellery should be removed before starting Judo.
  • BE QUIET IN THE DOJO. Each session is a lesson, as such it’s important for everyone to be quiet so that the coaches can be heard and the Judoka can concentrate.

What to wear

We have a range of Judogis that you can borrow for your first couple of lessons, however, you should make sure you’re wearing tracksuit bottoms which do not have zip, buttons or anything hard that could injure yourself or another Judoka. Girls are permitted to wear a white t-sihrt under their Gi jacket. Be aware that this can get pulled about so make sure it’s disposable!


When you first visit the club, you will need to fill in a registration form. This form records basic information that is also required for applying for a license should you join. You will also need to pay your fee for the session.

Personal Hygiene

Judo is a contact sport, you spend a lot of time up close and personal with other Judoka.

  • Finger and Toenails should be short, long nails can cause injury.
  • Ensure long hair is tied back (NO METAL CLIPS!).
  • Ensure you’re clean, your feet are not covered in sock fluff, your clothing (Judogi) is clean, your dinner isn’t all round your mouth.

The Session

All sessions start with everyone lining up on the mat, Senseis and coaches on one side of the mat and the class on the other side of the mat. The lineup is in grade order so as a newcomer you will be at the end of the line. Once everyone is lined up, the call will be made to kneel down and then Rei where you bow to the instructors. Once the Rei is complete, the class will stand in grade order (as a newcomer you will be last to stand) and the lesson will begin. Like with any exercise, it’s important to warm up so several warm up exercises will be performed.

With the warm up complete, the teaching begins. Beginners will normally be taken off to the side to learn how to fall properly. The technique for falling properly is called a breakfall. This is an important skill to learn so that when you’re thrown, you don’t get hurt. There are 6 breakfalls which you will be taught.

With the teaching completed, you will perform cool down & stretching excersies, for the younger Judoka this might be in the form of a game or two. Once the cool down is complete, you will again line up like the start and perform another Rei before leaving the mat.

After the Session

If after your first session, you love it and decide you want to take it up, speak to any of the coaches and they can assist. Have a read through our page Starting out as a Judoka so you know what to expect.