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What is Judo?
Judo is one of two martial arts included in the Olympics, and it is easy to try it, with all clubs registered with the British Judo Association offering free starter sessions and 'judo gi' (uniforms) to borrow.
Judo is an unarmed Olympic combat sport that demands both physical prowess and great mental discipline. It was founded by Jigoro Kano in Japan in the 1880s and has grown in popularity to become one of the most popular individual sports across the globe. Judo translates into English as "the gentle way".
Judo is the only martial art currently a part of the Paralympics. Visually Impaired or 'VI' Judo is a specially adapted form of judo for individuals with visual and other impairments.
Two players (called judoka) compete against each other on an 8m x 8m matted area for up to 5 minutes with the player scoring the most points winning the contest. Scores of varying degrees are awarded for throws, holds and more, with the coveted "ippon" score ending the contest. If the scores are level at the end of the 5 minute period the contest goes to 'golden score' with the first person to score any point winning the contest.
Judo serves as a great cardiovascular workout, which improves stamina, general health and overall fitness. Physical strength is also improved as a direct result of trying to control and dictate the movement of the opponent and as well as enhanced power.
All you need to try judo is baggy/loose old clothing (something you don't mind stretching) or basic gym kit – a t-shirt and jogging bottoms. Most judo clubs have a judo jacket they can loan to you for your first session, after which you may choose to purchase a basic judo kit called a judge. As you progress you will be required to wear a 'Gi' which is the Japanese name for the traditional uniform used for Judo practice and competition.