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Frequently Asked Questions

"“Before and after practicing Judo or engaging in a match, opponents bow to each other. Bowing is an expression of gratitude and respect. In effect, you are thanking your opponent for giving you the opportunity to improve your technique.” 

-Jigoro Kano

What is the English translation or meaning of the word Judo?

Judo translates to "the gentle way". While this may seem self-contradictory given the aspects of judo, it can be translated more loosely to explain the true purpose of judo, which is to use an opponent's strength and power against them using minimal effort, rather than trying to battle them strength for strength. In this sense, a smaller person can defeat a larger opponent. 

What is the "Seiryoku Zenyo-Jita Kyoei"?

This is the "way" of judo as created by founder Jigoro Kano, which translates to "Maximum efficiency with mutual welfare and benefit." ​Seiryoku Zenyo (maximum efficiency) is to fully utilize one's spiritual and physical energies to realize an intended purpose. Jita Kyoei (mutual welfare and benefit) is for mutual prosperity, harmony, and respect for self and others.

Do I need experience?

No, we welcome students of all levels and will work with you to build a solid foundation and understanding of judo at your own pace.

How old does my child need to be to join?

We accept students ages 6 and older for our First and Second classes. 

A new class has been created, Junior Judo, which accepts students ages 4-6 years old.

Can I come and watch/observe?

Judo is great for girls and women too!

Observing a class in person is the best way to determine if a judo club is right for you. Any black belt is more than willing to answer any questions you might have. Please also talk to parents, as some have been a part of the club for many years. 

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What will my first day of practice be like?

Your first day of practice will be determined by your prior experience and skill level. For beginners, we start off with basic etiquette of the dojo. We will also teach you the proper method of falling in order to ensure safety when being thrown.  

Will I get to spar?

The instructors will observe and determine if you are ready for "randori" or sparring. They will make sure you are proficient in "ukemi" or taking falls correctly to protect yourself when getting thrown before allowing you to spar.

Do I have to compete?

Competition is a great way to test the skills and knowledge you learned during practice. There are many opportunities to compete, including monthly tournaments as well as tournaments held on the mainland and internationally. However, Manoa Judo Club understands that not everyone joins a martial art or sport for competition, rather for recreation. Therefore we do not require students to compete, and it does not affect belt promotion.

Is judo similar to karate, jiu-jitsu or wrestling?

Judo differs from karate in that there is no punching or kicking. It was derived from jiu-jitsu by Professor Jigoro Kano in 1882. It features many aspects of jiu-jitsu, which includes mat work (armbars and chokes for older/advanced students), but also includes throwing and take downs, similar to wrestling. Jiu-jitsu athletes and wrestlers will find they will be able to incorporate many aspects of their sport into judo. Some judoka (person who practices judo) like to concentrate solely on throwing, while others enjoy more mat work, and others like a good combination of both.

What do I need to wear?

At your first practice, wear comfortable covered athletic clothing (t-shirt & shorts) with no plastic or hard components. Rash guards, spats and compression shorts/shirts are also welcomed. Please do not to wear tank tops, halter tops, etc. or only sports bras under the judo gi. Remove all jewelry prior to practice. Hair ties should be free of any hard/plastic objects. Please keep fingernails and toenails short to prevent injuries. A judo gi is not required for your first day of practice.

COVID: As of 1/1/2022, all judoka practicing in the dojo are required to wear a mask. Please do not come to practice if you are showing any symptoms.

I just joined, where can I buy a judo gi?

A judo gi can be purchased from anywhere, including online. For our students' convenience and to ensure the right fit, gis may be purchased through the club, who will be able to measure you and determine the right size to order. The gi includes a jacket, pants, and a belt.

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