Sat. Jun 10th, 2023

Summary: British Judo events are renowned across the world for their high standard and competitive atmosphere. From grassroots competitions to international events, there is always something for every level of competitor to enjoy. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of British Judo events, including their history, tournament structure, rules and regulations, training programs, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sport.

1. History of British Judo events

Judo was first introduced to Britain in 1899 by Yokohama’s Tokio Hirano during a visit where he also showed Jujitsu to Royal Navy officers. The formation of the British Judo Association (BJA) in 1948 marked the development of judo in Great Britain. One of the most significant milestones in British judo history was the hosting of the 2012 Olympics, where the team won medals, creating demand and popularity for the sport.

The BJA organizes competitions for all age groups and abilities, from local club-level events to international tournaments, including the British Open Championship, Junior National Championship, Special Needs Judo Championships, and more.

British Judo understands it is important to gain multiple values in players through Judo such as respect, politeness, friendship, and what it means to work with friends to achieve success together. That means, irrespective of whether you’re a beginner or an advanced judoka, they aim to create an environment where all participants feel comfortable and get the opportunity to compete in safe and organized events.

2. Tournament Structure

The tournament structure of British Judo competitions is based on knock-out. This means, a competitor who loses in a match is eliminated and another who manage to progress to the next round. It generally comprises weight categories, age groups differentiating female, and male participants. Competitors who win the match will move ahead in their weight category. The final match determines the ultimate winner.

The duration of the matches varies depending on the age and skill level of the competitors. For example, a younger or beginner may have a shorter match than an older or advanced-ranked competitor. There are set of rules and regulations that competitors need to comply with. Judo is more of a technical and precise sport, requiring strong grips and throwing techniques. Within training, players must be taught accordingly to new changes, as it adds excitement in competitions when participants try new throws and techniques.

Fighting spirit is the fundamental concept in Judo, which motivates the athlete to constantly learn from wins and losses and then apply them in their next competition. It strengthens athletes mentally and physically, and these skills they will carry throughout their entire life.

3. Rules & Regulations

The rules and regulations for judo events are established by the International Judo Federation (IJF). British Judo follows the policies and guidance developed by IJF, which includes regulations on safety, apparel, weight categories, guidance material if compulsory, etc. At international events competitors from different countries participate. As a result, British Judo has listed some considerations so that trouble and discontinuity do not occur during the event.

For a safe competition, a specified tournament area and mats should be installed. Also, referee must ensure protection for the athletes which includes protective gear and equipment. For a fair match, a recorded scorecard of each fighter’s score must execute. Spectators that come and watch the event are expected to appreciate the performer’s hard work and never to be hostile or abusive in any situation.

The British Judo tournament referee makes sure no deviations take place during the match. The match should end in a moment when the contestant is thrown only after falling completely on his/her back or scores a combined score against his opponent.

4. Training Programs

British Judo provides different programs for training purposes that are customized to meet the age and skill level of participants. The purpose is to promote fitness, physical health, and social relationships through martial arts. Kids get to learn how to fall correctly without getting injured, keeping their balance, and learning fundamental throws. Therefore, they learn how to attack and defend using their body weight against an opponent and gain a sense of discipline in the process.

For advanced participants the training programs are structured encouragement for regular participation in organized tournaments. Participants at this level must follow specific routines to obtain additional enhancements to their strength, endurance, and techniques. Regular training also involves extra ploys that enhance competitors’ concentration, speed, stability, and other mental abilities.

Whether it’s an amateur or professional, Judo is a competitive sport that challenges the athlete’s mental and physical aptitude. British Judo recognizes the importance of having a training session where every participant is acknowledged, feels safe, and capable of learning new skills.

5. Impact of COVID-19 on British Judo events

The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on all sports, and British Judo is no exception. When the country was under lockdown, all Judo clubs were closed, and the entire event schedule had to be postponed or canceled. However, the BJA and affiliated clubs took immediate actions by organizing online events such as video technical training sessions or webinars with recognized referees, to keep members connected and engaged.

The British Judo Association created ‘Return to Judo’ guidelines which outlines steps for a safe return to Judo competition amid the current pandemic. BJA has listed guidelines to protect the athletes including non-contact and contact training, increased cleaning and disinfection regulations, minimizing unnecessary group activities before the competitions.

Additionally, BJA modified its fighing space, reducing the combat area, requirements regarding protective equipment, and used electronic bracket sheets to lessen contact of competitors and minimized shared use of materials in the process.


Despite Judo’s unique challenges and situations, British Judo has continued to develop its sport to be safe and enjoyable for everyone. It has become a highly competitive sport throughout Britain and worldwide. The organizing teams are working hard to organize regular events across different regions of Britain and a wide range of age groups so that everyone has equal opportunities to participate in such a beautiful martial art. Even with the pandemic outbreak, the authorities have taken great measures to ensure continuity in the actions plan. These measures also aid in ensuring that participants return to practice without apprehensions about their safety.

Lastly, British Judo events convey essential lessons to participants such as respect for others, honour, sincerity, self-disclosure, and modesty which exudes every aspect of the competition. These principles have molded the standard of Judo throughout the world and have provided a guiding light for various other sporting activities in today’s society.

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