Training Order In Judo - A Suggestion To Try...

In most dojos I’ve trained at, the normal protocol is something like this:

  • Warmup Exercises
  • Ukemi Practice
  • Uchikomi
  • Randori
  • Newaza

And although specific times naturally vary from club to club, it’s randori that will get 70% of the class time, and newaza often gets just 10-30%.

Is there a way to get more practice, and better practice, in the same amount of time?  I’d like to suggest a slightly different routine…

Instead of a heavy warmup routine - why not replace it with a light warmup that concentrates on flexibility … practice ukemi, and then go right into newaza?

This allows you to maximize your actual Judo training, for your newaza will take the place of a more rigorous warmup, and prepare you far better for tachiwaza.

By doing newaza during the first part of the class, you accomplish two things - a better warmup (and thus, less possibility of injury), and better tachiwaza.

The major problem with tachiwaza, as I think most Judoka will agree, is the overuse of strength at the expense of technique.  But by doing newaza drills and randori first - when it’s time to work on standup - everyone will be at least slightly exhausted, and won’t have the excessive strength to throw around (so to speak…)

Another advantage is that beginners - even first-time visitors, can practice newaza with just a few words of instruction - something that isn’t easy with tachiwaza.  So beginners can immediately start learning things that they can do easily - which isn’t quite as true with throws.  The possibilities for injuries are also far less with newaza, no fear that beginning students haven’t learned good enough ukemi!

By structuring the class beginning with the relatively easier newaza - and only then moving into the more difficult tachiwaza, you enforce a natural progression of easy to difficult.  But far more importantly - the strength factor makes this particular order work really well.. For it isn’t in newaza that we have to fear using too much strength - and doing newaza only at the end of a long class of standup randori doesn’t give the same benefits as reversing the order.

Most sensei are pretty set in their ways, tradition, after all, is an important part of the martial arts…  but if you’d like to ‘mix it up’ once in a while, give this a try, you might like it.