Combat Sports Project Est.2012
Combat Sports Project Est.2012

Training Judo in Mexico, Bulgaria, China and Japan

Judo is awesome sport, available in pretty much every country on the planet.

Relatively cheap, mostly in good facilities, great for working out and making new friends…

One of the most popular combat sports worldwide, judo has been one of my favorite activities for quite a long time now. I have trained in Varna, Tokyo, Osaka, Shanghai, Mexico City and a few other places around the world.

Each country has its own way and methodology of training. Some are common everywhere you go and some practices are unique for the local gyms.

The frame of a judo training session is always based around the japanese etiquette greetings, sitting in seiza, bowing and showing respect to fellow practitioners and coaches.

The structure though, varies greatly between clubs and countries.

In Japan, clubs are runned by long time practitioners and occasionally, some new face would enter through the door and start from zero. That makes for very simple and productive approach. Since everyone is already somehow experienced, there are almost no theoretical parts or technical demonstrations. People just stretch around, while chatting and once the main coach is on the mat, pairs are formed and then everyone works on their preferred technics with uchikomi. 

After that, everyone can join randori in its both versions tachiwaza or newaza.

In the end of the session, the main coach might demonstrate a simple variation of a technic (something he noticed people have been struggling during randori, for example) and everyone would practice it for a few minutes, before the end of the class. Then greetings, more bowing and most of the times, beers after class…





Usually, Japanese utilize very small, but extremely refined arsenal of throws and pins, sometimes adding their own modifications. What makes them really good at it is the constant sharpening of that single throw, on daily basis, for decades, until its perfected to the point, that violence looks beautiful.

My judo club in Shanghai, China was found by japanese expats and the majority of the practitioners were also japanese. The classes were structured exactly the same, as in any judo club in Japan- bow, enter on the mat, stretch, warm up drills and sparring, then bow again and leave.

Training in Bulgaria is following the style and etiquette of the japanese culture, but it has its own educational structure- sessions start with serious warm up exercises, including partner carrying, a lot of break falls, hand stands, neck springs and then the uchikomi drills, supervised by the coach, who would be working closely with every athlete, advising on his technic.

Main emphasize is on technical training, followed by randori. Then bow and leave… Sometimes beers…

My judo classes in Mexico City were structured similarly there was a lot of stretching, followed by a good 1 hour of technical drills of the same technic, executed from different angles and scenarios.

Half of the week we were doing at least 30 min of conditioning before the technical part and in the end, we would do randori…

Then beers…



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