Starting out as a Judoka

So, you’ve read through the First Visit page and attended your first session. You really enjoyed it and decided to take up Judo. First of all, congratulations on your choice! The hardest part is deciding to wear that white belt! Just remember, a Black belt is a White belt who didn’t give up. When starting out as a Judoka, there are a few things you will need and some information you should take a look at. The aim of this page will be to guide a new person through starting out in Judo. This guide will include some Japanese terms that you should be familiar with. If you’re not, check the First Visit page where they are listed.

Equipment and purchases


In order to be fully insured to practice Judo you will need membership to a governing body. Barnet Judo Club is a member of the British Judo Council (BJC) which in turn is affiliated to the British Judo Association (BJA). At Barnet Judo Club, we can sign you up to the BJC as part of joining the club. There is a fee attached to this process which is currently £72 for your first year with a £68 per year renewal fee.

Mat Fees

As well as membership to the governing body, you will need to pay mat fees. These cover the cost of putting on each session


Judo is practiced wearing a Judogi. This is a special suit designed and manufactured to withstand the trials and tribulations of Judo. We can size and supply you with a Judogi at very competitive prices. It’s important to look after your Judogi, wash it after every use and ALWAYS use your machines lowest temperature setting to prevent a large amount of shrinking. It is usual for it to shrink after the first wash and we will usually accomodate this in the sizing process. Never put your Judogi in the tumble drier, always air dry it. Again to prevent shrinking.

As well as the Judogi you wlil also need a pair of Zori. Zori are footwear that are worn around the dojo. You can choose either traditional Japanese Zori which have a straw or rice sole, or more common is purchasing flip flops.

To keep your Judogi clean, you shouldn’t wear it outside of the dojo, as a result you will want a bag big enough to carry your Judogi and zori as a minimum.

Water Bottle

Judo, like any other sport, is exercise. As a result, you will sweat when you are training. It’s important that you stay hydrated. So make sure you bring a filled water bottle with you. There is drinking water available if you need to refill.


We have a few methods of communicating with our members, make sure you are aware of the following.

Facebook and Instagram

If you haven’t already, make sure you like our Facebook and instagram page. Link can be found on the homepage and at the top of every page.


We have two WhatsApp groups, one for Under 18’s, and one for the Over 18’s. Make sure you are a member of the relevant group. We use the groups to remind people of sessions, notify you of special events, competitions etc and make arrangements.


We will use email to communicate news to members, this will be sent to the email address you gave at registration.

Practicing Judo

Now we have more of the administration out of the way, the following should help you when it comes to practicing the art of Judo. You should be aware of the history of Judo, there is plenty of information out there on the internet without us repeating it all.

Teaching of Judo under the guidance of the BJC is done following a Fundamental Principals of Judo method. This means there will be a large focus on things like creating movement, posture, and breakfalls.


Respect is a large part of Judo. You will notice a lot of bowing takes place (as you enter and leave the dojo, as you enter and leave the mat, start and finish of sessions, to your partners). As a new Judoka, pleas make sure you show your respect.

Tie Your Belt

Picture showing how to tie a Judo Belt

The image above demonstrates the basic way to tie a belt. This is something you can practice at home quite easily. There is an alternative, more advanced way to tie your belt which is generally used within higher levels of competition as it tends to come loose less.


As you practice judo, you start to become good at it. In Judo a measure of success is the use of different coloured belts to denote a grade. The grading process is like taking an exam or test. Gradings are performed at both a club level (up to 3rd Kyu) and at a BJC level. You can find details on the grading requirements on our Grades page. Here we will outline each grade and you can then click to find what is required to reach that grade.


Judo is a contact martial art. Despite our best efforts, injuries can and do occur. Don’t be put off if you do get injured. If you are injured either on or off the mat, please make the Sensei aware. Mat burn is a common injury but as you practice, your skin will harden and it will be less common.


When you are performing a move on someone, you are responsible for their safety. As part of your introduction lesson, you will have been shown how to fall properly with a breakfall. You need to be comfortable with being thrown. It will happen, whether its someone practicing a move as part of the lesson or as part of a competition, it will happen. Practice breakfalls until you are comfortable being thrown, and make sure you allow your partner to perform a breakfall.