Judo For Juniors

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Author: Nicolas Soames
Pub: 1997 by Leopard Books
Pages: 96
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This is an excellent beginners book. Covers all the stuff I wish I'd known when I started Judo. Aimed at the pre-teen to teenage market. One interesting thing I found was the step by step procedure for writing the kanji for Judo.  People often ask me what book to get for their children - this is it!

 Acknowledgements              4
 Foreword by Neil Adams        5

 1 How judo began              6
 2 The dojo and its etiquette 10
 3 The kit                    14
 4 The grades                 16
 5 Warming-up and breakfalls  19
 6 The throws                 26
 7 Combinations and counters  44
 8 Ground work                54
 9 Practice                   70
10 Rules and scoring          75
11 Competition                79
12 Kata                       87
13 Japan and the Japanese     94



Judo is a very special sport-and that's not just because it is the sport which took over my life, For a start, it is great fun. There are few things more satisfying than catching your partner with a big throw like seoi-nage or tai-otoshi which takes him right up into the air and then flat down to the mat. Or, after a short tussle on the ground, manoeuvering your partner into a hold and keeping him there, no matter how hard he struggles.

These are the most dramatic bits of judo. But what makes them so satisfying is that they haven't happened through sheer luck-but because of all the training that has gone before, Judo is not just about fighting, it is about developing skills which will work whichever club you go to, I was lucky because my father was a black belt and taught me my basic judo. He insisted that I didn't just fight to score points, but tried to develop really good technique, He even stopped me entering too many competitions when I was young because he thought it wouldn't be good for my judo in the long run-and circumstances proved him right.

When I was a junior, I threw most of my opponents in competition with morote-seoi-nage. But when I was around 15 and got my black belt, my opponents learned how to stop it and I started to get injured. My father told me to switch to tai-otoshi, At first it didn't work, and I would slip in a morote-seoi-nage when I thought my father wasn't watching. But little by little the tai-otoshi began to work. Eventually it became one of my strongest techniques-my very last throw in international competition (in the Seoul Olympics) was tai-otoshi. I scored ippon.

So developing good technique is very important. At my judo club in Coventry, all my young students spend as much time practising throws and ground work as they spend on randori, fitness or weight training. Some of the best sessions are technique-only practices!

The emphasis in this book is on good technique from the very start. That also means good breakfalls and good etiquette-all of which help to prevent injuries and make judo more enjoyable, I practised regularly with Nicolas Soames at my club in London, The Budokwai and he visited me when I taught in France and Japan and other countries, He helped me write my first book, and started a special series, Judo Masterclass, written by champions from across the world. So he understands judo well.

And he doesn't just write about it, Whenever he travels abroad for his work as a journalist, he packs his judogi, and visits the local club-he has done judo in almost as many countries as I have. But he has also taught in schools and clubs and he feels as strongly as I do that good technique from the beginning is very important.

The message from both of us is: Enjoy your judo, Develop good technique-and whether you want to stay in your club or whether you dream of being a world champion, you have a sport for life.

6th Dan


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