The British Judo Association is an Olympic sport and the main recognised governing body approved by the International Judo Federation, European Judo Union and British Olympic Association. In Judo participants initially learn to safely fall, hold and throw each other. Once they are older (approx. 14 years and over – grade dependent) and more experienced they will then be introduced to arm-locks and strangles.

Club Coach

Safety is a priority for British Judo, therefore all coaches are required to be qualified and maintain the following to keep revalidated to practice:

    • DBS
    • Safeguarding and Protection Certificate
    • First Aid Certificate
    • Valid British Judo Membership*

For more information on our Child Protection policies and ‘Safe Landings’ document use the following links:

*Judo Kids is a British Judo award scheme and we encourage all parents to check that their coach is a valid BJA Coach with the above criteria in place. Their coach award is linked to our insurance that covers them to coach your child.

Child Sessions

Judo for Under 8’s mainly focuses on fun packed activities to develop the child’s fundamental skills (balance, co-ordination and agility), judo specific technique, breakfalls and social skills. Sessions will vary club to club, however, they are generally 45 – 60 minutes and include warm-up, skill development and cool-down activities.
Based on Professor Jigaro Kano, the Japanese’ founder of judo’s philosophy, the coach should work with the child to develop the following life values:

        • Fair Play
        • Respect
        • Friendship
        • Responsibility
        • Knowledge
        • Discipline

Some clubs have judo suits that they will hand out, especially on the first few sessions. Once your child is ready to buy their judo suit it can be purchased through the coach or the following British Judo link where there a guides to help you get the correct sized judo suit and tie a judo belt:

Once your child has decided to take their first award they are required to by an Under 8’s judo membership that insures them to practice and participate in the Sho Award scheme.
You can apply for a membership on-line through British Judo’s website:

or download a membership application form using the following link:

Sho Development Scheme

This ‘JudoKids’ award scheme designed to reward each child for their physical and judo specific development and learning about the sports terminology and rules.
This is an award scheme used to measure young people against specific targets, however, it is not a complete guide to what the coach should be doing with their players. Coaches would be expected to expand and develop young players above and beyond this where possible. Young people in the 5-7 year age group, are at a stage in their development where they should be exposed to as many movement situations as possible to prepare for more advanced technique later.


In this age group formal competition is not encouraged, however, there is opportunities for children to challenge themselves through locally organised children’s events. These are governed by guidelines that encourage coaches to match children fairly to protect them physically and psychologically, ensuring they have a positive experience. Judo is a combat sport where occasionally minor injuries may occur.

Once children reach 8 years of age they can enter the first stages of our competitive pathway that is mainly grade, weight and experience led. Competition will normally be run by a voluntary workforce of competition controllers (organisers), table officials and referees. At National level event a voluntary workforce will also be supported by British Judo staff and occasionally International representatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Use the following link to gets answers to some of the frequently asked questions:

Competition Pathway

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