two men training in Judo

Many people have heard of Judo, but you may not know very much about it. Judo means “gentle way” and is a highly competitive modern martial art. Is Judo good for self-defense in real-life situations? Yes, knowing Judo can help you stop an attacker and get away.

Rhonda Rousey was the UFC women’s champion for years and one of the reasons is her world-class Judo skills.

When you learn more about Judo, you can determine whether it is the right martial art for you.

While Judo may not be as popular or as common as other martial arts like Tae Kwon Do. Judo is still a great martial art and offers several benefits that extend beyond helping users learn self-defense.

Judo is great for:

  • Gaining confidence
  • Learning how to protect yourself
  • Understanding how to use your body in a way that benefits you
  • Health
  • Help to keep you and your loved ones safe

What Is Judo?

Judo is a tremendously difficult and dynamic combat sport that is physically demanding.

It is practiced from a standing position, where participants lift and throw opponents. The goal is to get the opponent on their backs on the floor.

It can also be practiced on the ground, where opponents use techniques to try to pin their opponents down. You can use chokeholds and various submission joint locks.

Even though Judo looks like it is a mostly physical activity, there is a lot more to it, as well.

Students who practice and learn Judo learn about controlling their body impulses, emotions and feelings.

Originally used by Japanese feudal class warriors and the samurai for hundreds of years.

Judo has since been adopted to make it useful for modern-day students to use these techniques in real-life situations.

Is Judo good for self-defense? Why?

Many people start to study Judo because they want to be able to defend themselves in a fight.

Students who train in Judo learn how to subdue their opponents both from their feet and while on the ground.

Any Judo student who takes the time to learn throws, groundwork, and conditioning is going to have an obvious advantage over most attackers.

Especially since most attackers do not know how to grapple or do ground fighting.

Since Judo relies heavily on throws, it is a great way for a person who is being attacked to quickly get their attacker on the ground.

Once on the ground, you should then be able to escape.

As a grappling martial art, Judo provides people with the skills that they need to survive in close-range combat.

A majority of people simply do not have these skills and will not be able to fight back effectively.

Is Judo good in a street fight?

Judo is different than some other types of martial arts since it does not allow kicks, strikes, and hits. Make no mistake Judo can still be used for self-defense in a street fight.

If you get into a fight the other person will not be following the tournament rules of Judo.

You have to realize that in a street fight, anything goes. This means you need to expect punches and kicks from the attacker. You also can punch and kick anytime it is advantageous in the fight.

Judo relies more on chokes, flips, and armbars, which can give someone the edge in a street fight. Once the judo practitioner can get the attacker on the ground, then they will have the advantage.

Just because judo does not teach strikes does not mean you can’t use them in a self-defense situation. You get the attacker on the ground and then you should be punching and hitting them. Once they are subdued then you need to get away.

There is one issue with ground fighting and that is if there are multiple attackers. The ground would be tough to win if you go to the ground.

You can do judo throws as each attacker comes in to attack you. Hopefully, when you flip them on the ground they get hurt and cannot get back up. This gives you some time to take out each attacker.

Fighting multiple attackers is tough no matter how good you are as a fighter.

What are the best moves in Judo?

Most people who are going to study Judo want to know what the best moves are so that they can learn them.

Every person has to consider not only their skill level but also their body, their speed, strength, and flexibility. Your belt level will also determine what a judo school will teach you.

However, there are a few Judo moves that are more popular than others.

  • One is Uki Goshi, the floating hip – This hip throw requires a person to grab their opponent’s belt and slide them over the hip to throw them to the ground.
  • Another great move is Tsuri Goshi or lifting hip throw – It’s a little different than Uki Goshi and requires a person to lift the other person. Once they are lifted you throw them to the ground, which gives them a smaller chance to counter.
  • Finally, Ippon Seoi Nage, or single back throw, is popular. In this throw, users grab their opponent’s armpit and rotate their shoulders. It makes it easy to lift the opponent up and throw them over the back onto the floor.

Is there punching or kicking in Judo?

One thing that surprises a lot of people is that there isn’t any striking, punching, or kicking that is taught in Judo.

Judo does not use striking techniques to subdue an opponent. Judo practitioners learn how to throw, grapple and subdue opponents on the ground.

In fact, Judo rules state that kicking, punching, and using other strikes against an opponent simply aren’t allowed. This means that in competition, Judo practitioners can get disqualified for doing strikes.

Other things that aren’t allowed in Judo include:

  • Touching the face of an opponent
  • Head dives
  • Attacking any elbow other than the joint
  • Intentionally trying to injure an opponent

Additionally, during tournaments, Judo practitioners aren’t allowed to wear:

  • Anything metallic
  • Hard objects
  • Watches
  • Earrings
  • Wedding rings
  • Protective gear

In a self-defense situation if you know how to punch, kick, elbow, or knee then, by all means, protect yourself. Just make sure you have been trained on how to strike properly.

We have free training that does teach striking.

Is Judo a sport or martial art?

Judo is technically a martial art and it is also a sport. Judo is a sport in the Olympic games.

The sport aspect of Judo has become more and more popular.

However, Judo is still loved for its discipline and its ability to help people gain control of their bodies.

Many people prefer to call Judo a “martial sport,” as it does seem to be a mix of the two.

Learning the sport aspect also teaches you self-defense. If someone attacks you with your training you can get them on the ground. Once there you can use a multitude of chokes and locks to subdue them.

This means that Judo training can work for self-defense.

If you can take Judo and add another martial art with striking then you will be that much better prepared.

If you want to know why you should do judo check out these top judo practitioner’s videos.


As you can see, there is a lot to know about Judo. This martial art can help you protect yourself if you have the proper training.

Judo has been practiced for more than 100 years and is still a popular martial art today. Give judo a try you just may fall in love with it. If you are good enough maybe you can go to the Olympics.

Check out our post on self-defense techniques for beginners.

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