judo training in tokyo?

after some advice/info if thats ok? (first time to post on this forum)

im presently living in tokyo and have been thinking of taking up judo. i have a boxing background and am in pretty good shape at present but ive never trained judo before. im also in my mid 30s now and am a tall moderately slim chap.

any advice? places to train?

ive heard that many/most judo guys injure their knees at some point. should i be concerned due to my age and body structure? how is the training and technical style different here, compared to other countries. ive heard that japanese judo relies more on power. would you agree?

thanks for any help

"ive heard that japanese judo relies more on power. would you agree?"

You have been, somewhat, misinformed, though not grossly so. Judo CAN be extremely powerful, but usually, that power comes from incredible leverage, speed and timing. Very beautiful. You should probably get some very sage advice in the next while. Follow through, and you should have an awesome experience.

Click on some threads to see some video.

Cheers mate,

Oh! btw....Don't forget to go limp. You'll know when it happens. lol

yeah ive looked at the website. seems they hand out 1st dans pretty quickly. whats the average time to make first dan?

however it may be a good option as im a total novice. i heard the best judo is found at universities. is that correct?

dude, you should search the judo forum for the thread about training experiencies in japan. The japanese universities are not for newbies. They are for top athletes that are training for the olympics or worlds. You don't go to universities to learn judo you go to receive a beating. I'm mean you fight for you life in every randori. It would be like saying, hey I wanna learn how to shoot some hoops with any NCAA College basketball team. They're pratically pros at what they're doing.

The old kung fu movies have made westerners believe that if you take some that is clueless and you train him with an asian master you will become a deadly fighting machine in a short period of time something that is totally false. The athletes that go there are usually at least top in their game in their country.

So, I suggest you stick with the kodokan if you wan't to learn judo. The japanese are extremely technical.
From what I've heard judo training starts from grade school thru high school.Once they graduate, they 're usually third degree black belts when they go to college. The japanese belt system is like this white, brown and black. That means that they don't give their black belts away you earn them in shiai(competition).

but, still you will be learning in the kodokan which is something to envy.Sorry, for telling the hard truth but you need to understand how things work over there.

Lots of Luck and keep us informed.


yea.. you flat out do not belong at a university team. they will hurt you,
and not give a good damn about doing it. even the weakest universities
would look at you with either pity or irrelevence.. some wouldnt even let
you in the door.

"i want to learn to wrestle. Im going to go work out with the Iowa
Hawkeyes" is how that would turn out, only judo's throws are harder, the
submissions are real, and they dont speak english.

go to the Kodokan. it is the original house of judo. they are nice to
foreigneers and beginners.

but, youd better be as humble and polite as youve ever been in your
whole life and NEVER wear a blue gi.


Great advice. I want to try judo now too. lol

"only judo's throws are harder, the submissions are real, and they dont speak english."

Scary! True! Exciting!

That'll save ole' mel some heart-ache.


I've been doing for seven years and been lucky enough to have never had suffered any serious injuries . So I don't think age is an issue here because I met a six degree red belt who was in his mid fifties and was in better shape than the rest of us who were in our early twenties. The reason some people have serious injuries mainly because they know they are injured but they still keep on training. I think you shouldn?t have to worry tooo much about your knees unless you've already had a injury there.If you're doing judo for recreation.

Judo is a fascinating thing so pay attention to the small details when doing throws. They make the difference. Remember, your first lesson will usually be in ukemi (falling).

Once you've mastered the art of falling you don't have to worry about injuries.

 Just my humble opinion,



thanks for the advice


no problem with being direct. appreciated.
the reason i mentioned the universities was because i read a guys recent post saying at his uni there was a novice(?) room downstairs and the top guys all trained upstairs. so i thought that maybe some places had beginner programs.


you wrote ... "they will hurt you, and not give a good damn about doing it."

haha so true. ive been living here for nearly 3 years so im fully aware of the level of arsehole-ness among some japanese males. i experienced this a lot when i was visiting kickboxing clubs. some funny stories there. even at the mma club that i sometimes train at now (standup class only) theres a bunch of guys there that really try to kill me, and each other.

one thing i should point out, in case it was misinterpreted, was my comment about the time to make first dan at the kokokan. i meant that as a negative thing. im not interested in places that just cater to foreigners and hand out belts too early. to be honest im not interested in belts just good training and improving.

thanks again

Don't worry Mel,

Someone catering to you and giving you a black belt is not really doing you any favors anyway, as you know. You cannot fake being good a judo. You are a good judoka, or you are something other.

And, as a matter of fact, if you are a bb, people will make a run at you even harder. Which, if you are good, doesn't matter. In my trad. dojo (run by Japanese sensi) if you were a bb, you could not refuse randori. If a lower rank came up to you and needed a partner, you had to go. (unless injured, of course)

good luck

if there is one thing in the world we can be very sure of it is that the Kodokan is the place that sets the standard for what a BB should be. i mean, thats where judo began (it was Kano's dojo).

What we call a BB in the USA is a bastardization of what a BB should be according to the Kodokan. But, we do it that way becuase people in our society see a BB as being something akin to a "master" degree (like in BJJ).

which, in Japan/at the Kodokan, getting a shodan (BB) actually just means you can take a really good fall and a decent asswhipping.

"really good fall and a DECENT asswhipping."


You make some very funny statements by, taking an existing misperception, honestly turning it around, and then...you hit the misperceiver/audience on the head with it.

You do the audience a service, and you make me laugh.

Touche, my good man. KUDOS, LOL and a few ttts thrown in for good measure.

like Joshua wrote, goto the Kodokan.

the first thing to do is get into regular classes and learn judo. belts don't mean jack, its whether you have skills or not. yes you might find it "easier" to get a BB there, but then again, once you get it, a whole new world will be open to you for tougher training.

seriously, if you feel the regular Kodokan classes are too easy (since its mostly technical judo vs. fighting), then when your class finishes, just go across the mat to the randori free training area and pick on one of the visiting foreigners to train with. I'm sure they'll be happy to oblige, especially if they're on a national squad or something.

i was a brown belt from Canada when I went to live in Japan for a few months while on an MBA exchange program. first I trained at a high school (and still got my ass kicked), then went to train at one of the universities (lower tiered judo, not a top school), and got my ass kicked even harder. in the years since, I've been back to Tokyo several times on business and since the Kodokan was closer, went there. Much easier, but still challenging enough if you pick the right people to randori with. e.g. junior national team from Columbia, independent Italian BB there to train in Japan for a few months, the Thai team (1 national team member, 2 city team members). Those are the sorts of people you can find regularly at the Kodokan.

i've since earned my BB here in Canada but haven't had a chance to go back again. However, I wouldn't hesitate to drop by the Kodokan again. BTW: I'm now 36, but when I went to Japan was 31. I didn't care that most of the guys I trained with were from 1/2 my age to their early twenties and in top shape & had been doing judo for years. I was just determined to learn and toughed it out. Thats the only way to earn their respect. Suck it up and fight.


What kind of technical training did you receive at the Kodokan? Did they teach you competitive judo moves or just gokyo techniques? I remember a japanese instructor that taught at my dojo for a few months that was until her father got sick and had to leave. She knew a lot of competitive moves.

when you visit the Kodokan, you can only join the regular (instuctional) class if you're going to be there for awhile. if you're only visiting for a few days or 1-2 weeks, then you have to goto the randori free class (anytime between 5 - 8pm, every night except Sunday), which is what I did. So I can't speak from first hand experience on what they get taught in the Kodokan classes, though from what i saw several times, the people in the classes seemed to spend alot of time on breakfalls and gokyo -- NOT competition techniques.

in the free class (which is actually the mat on the near right) there's no one "teaching" and you just ask people to practice with you: uchikomi, newaza, randori, etc. FYI: the instruction class is either on the far left or right, depends on what else is going on.

in any case, most of the people you run across don't speak english, so unless you speak Japanese, most of what's learned by training there (as a visitor) is from observation and trying out what you see others do. however, in the spirit of judo, and if you're respectful, some people will stop and try to explain things to you. actually, some of the stuff i still use today are things that ironicially 2 Canadians who've lived in Japan for a long time showed me. one was a 6th dan and had been there 19 years; he showed me some stuff on taiotoshi. the other Canadian (who was from Hamilton) showed me stuff with uchimata.

anyways, the bulk of my technical training in Japan happened when I trained at the high school and university that i was at. specifically how to get certain grips, kuzushi, and throws that work better together in combination, how to fight people of ALL sizes and what to do vs. guys much bigger than me. But i think more than anything "technical", what i learned the most about was having a fighting spirit and the mentality of judoka in Japan. its nuts! :)

BTW: my first time to Japan was in 2001, when I was an orange belt, I called the Kodokan and asked if I could train in the randori free class, they said no. why? brown and black belts only. In 2002 I was a brown and that's when I went for my study exchange. However, getting to the Kodokan was close to an hour away, and being on a student budget again, it wasn't my priority to get to since I was already getting pounded on campus regularly. afterwards, from 2003-2005 I went back to Tokyo every 3 months on business and thats when i mostly trained at the Kodokan. I even left one of my gis chained up in the foreginers change room for most of 2004-2005, before bringing it back to Canada. and yes i washed my gi! My hotel was 5 mins from the kodokan and they were familair with laundering judogis (Tokyo Dome Hotel). I left my gi in Japan since I didn't want the hassle of packing one every 3 months.

Great Stuff! I hope I ever make it there one day. I heard that a dojo mate went as an exchange student and dropped about fifty pounds. He was in the -90 kg and dropped to -73 because of his intense training over there. He learned also learned japanese culture, and kendo as well over there.

yeah, training can be pretty brutal. during my exchange term, in the first few weeks I went from around 73kg to about 66-67 kg, which for me is alot!

looking back, i know part of my weight loss was due to walking around so much every day (since you pretty much need to walk everywhere) + the Japanese diet (alot healthier and fewer calories). But no doubt, a big part was also due to the significantly increased training volume.

i.e. regular classes for judo were 2-3 hours at a time, with usually 2 hrs being randori. I could only manage to train 3-4 times a week (because of the punishment I took). On top of that I also ran 2-3 times/wk + weights 1-2 times a week, but even then, my overall training volume was about 1/2 what the rest of the team did!

What else did i learn while in Japan? Theres a reason the team keeps a communal box of tape in the corner of the dojo + lots of ice packs + spray-freeze stuff (aerosol). When I started there, all that stuff weren't things I was used to using, but by the time I left -- same as everyone else. Tape like crazy before class, and spray freeze parts of the body that get banged up during class so that you can make it to the end of class. Then go home and soak in a Japanese mini-bathtub full of hot water & SLEEP. BTW: theres a reason alot the judo team guys don't do so hot in their school classes. They're friggin tired!

all closer,

Dude, Do you train at yoshida's dojo? Yoshida seems to train fighters for judo and pride as well. I wouldn't think it as a place for newbies.