Frequently Asked Questions


Gi Sizing Charts (,Fuji/Mizuno)

General Judo Questions:

Question: What is Judo?
Answer:   Judo is considered a modern martial art, although founded over 100 years ago in 1882 by Jigoro Kano.  Modern martial arts can be broken down into two main categories: striking arts, like Karate, and grappling arts, like Judo.   As a grappling art, Judo emphasizes training in throwing, pinning, strangulation and arm locking techniques.  Striking in Judo is reserved for kata, or prearranged and controlled form work.  
Judo is considered a modern martial art because it was developed after the Mejii restoration (1868), a time when the Samurai class in Japan lost its ruling power.  Jigoro Kano being a professor in education and a jujutsu practitioner, sought to preserve the Samurai art of hand-to-hand combat (jujutsu) by transforming jujutsu into Judo.  For the emerging modern era, Kano emphasized not only training the physical body through Judo, but using the principle of “ju” or “gentleness” to also deepen one’s moral character and understanding of each person’s role in maintaining a peaceful and civilized society.  Judo became an official Olympic sport in 1964.

Question: I’m concerned about my son or daughter participating in a contact sport. How safe is Judo?
Answer:  There are inherent risks in all contact sports but according to the American College of Sport Medicine, Judo is the safest contact sport for children under 13 years of age.   

Question:  Why should I do Judo and not another martial art?
Answer: All martial arts have their benefits and we’d like not to get into a discussion about which art is best, but do consider this: Judo is practiced worldwide and is second only to soccer in popularity and participation.  Also, Judo in the USA is predominantly run through non-profit clubs and therefore fees are relatively inexpensive when compared to other martial arts.  This means that wherever life takes you, you will likely find a place to continue your Judo training at an affordable cost.

Question: Is Judo good for self-defense?
Answer: While modern Judo is mainly practiced as a sport, the body management mechanics (i.e. balance, lowering your center of gravity; the use of fast twitch muscles) gained through Judo practice is inherently beneficial in a self-defense situation.  You get both a cardiovascular workout and muscle strengthening workout from Judo.  Self-defense training starts with being in shape.  At least twice a year we cross-train with DBT Akido and Jaidoshin Jujutsu to broaden our marital arts horizon. For more on Judo and its relation to self-defense please refer to the article written by Sensei Sakata: http://judoinfo.com/Why_Sport_Judo_is_Effective.htm

Specific DBT Judo Questions:

Question: What will it cost me to take Judo classes at DBT Judo?
Answer: There are four general costs associated with Judo classes at BDT Judo: dues, uniform; a yearly Temple contribution and USA Judo membership.
  • Monthly dues = please refer to the dues and donations page
  • Gi (uniform) =   we will help with sizing and sourcing but expect students to purchase their own gi by the time regular class starts
  • You must join USA Judo which is the National Governing Body for Judo in the USA and through which National, State and local tournaments are sanctioned. USA Judo membership includes excess accident medical insurance for any injury occurring at a sanctioned event or scheduled training session.  You sign up for membership directly through USA Judo, not through DBT Judo.  Please ensure you select DBT judo as your dojo during sign up https://www.teamusa.org/usa-judo/membership
  • Non Denver Buddhist Temple members also pay a $25 yearly fee, collected each January or automatically included in your monthly subscription fee.   We are fortunate to have such a wonderful facility to train and do so rent free from the Temple.  Your yearly fee helps the club make a generous donation to the Temple to help keep the gym lights on and heat flowing during the winter months.

Question: Do I need to be Buddhist or a member of the Denver Buddhist Temple to join the club?
Answer:  No.  There is no requirement or obligation to be Buddhist or become a member of the Temple.

Question:  Dues are relatively low, what’s the catch?
Answer:  There is no catch.  DBT Judo is a not-for-profit organization and as an affiliate of the Denver Buddhist Temple and Japanese Community, our aim is to promote Japanese culture and teach Judo to anyone who has a desire to learn.  The instructors at DBT Judo are volunteers and receive no compensation.  If there is any “catch” we do ask our members to treat the Dojo as a community and not as just a gym.  This means that we expect members to lend a hand during the Temple’s Cherry Blossom Festival (cultural and non-religious), Dragon Boat Festival Judo performance, at our annual Judo tournament honoring the late Sensei Albert Tagawa, and Temple spring cleaning (we take care of cleaning the gym).  

Question: I don’t have a Judo gi (uniform), can I still practice?
Answer: Yes, if you don’t have a gi just yet, for the first few practice sessions, please wear sweat pants and a t-shirt or nothing with zippers, buttons, a collar or pockets.

Question:  How old does my son or daughter need to be to join DBT Judo?
Answer:  We teach boys and girls who are 6 years old or older.

Question:  Is there a beginner’s class and when are those classes held?
Answer:  Yes.  Please refer to the “Join” tab of the website for the new student class schedule.

Question: How important is it to join a USA Judo certified club?
Answer:  A USA Judo certified club means that the club has met the requirements of the National Governing Body for Judo, to include having one or more USA Judo Certified Coach(es).  A USA Judo Certified Coach has passed the USA Judo coach’s certification course; passed a criminal and sex abuse/molestation background check; passed a sexual and physical abuse awareness course and is certified in CPR and First Aid.

Question: I do MMA, and am looking to pick up some Judo.  Can I practice Judo at your club?
Answer: Yes, just come with the mindset that you are here to learn Judo, not MMA.

Question:  Do you guys do anything else besides Judo, Judo, Judo?
Answer: Yes!  Throwing and falling is fun, but we like to have fun in other ways as well.  In the past, we’ve treated our members to Rockies games and met in the park for summer cookouts.  Each year in July we honor of our elders by serving ice cream to the tenants of Tamai Tower and watching the 4th of July fireworks from the penthouse overlooking Coors Field.  In December we get together for a holiday potluck party to socialize and close out the year.

Promotions and Tournament Questions:

Question:  What is the ranking order in Judo?
Answer:  Youth 17 and under are as follows: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple.  Ranking for adults are: white, yellow, orange, green, 3 grades of brown, 1st degree black belt.

Question: How long does it take to get a black belt at DBT Judo?
Answer: That’s up to you.  In Judo you do not sign a contract with a guarantee of a black belt at the end of the term. The old adage, “You get out of it, what you put into it” and “Nothing worth doing is easy” certainly apply in Judo.  We at DBT Judo view Judo like yoga and tai-chi – body and mind training that is done diligently and continually with no end goal in mind.  In Japan, shodan or first degree black belt is considered the start of one’s serious Judo training, not the culmination of training.  If you must know a timeframe, consider that USA Judo does not recognize black belt ranks for anyone under age 15, so a student who starts Judo at age 6 has 10 years minimum training time to go before even being considered for shodan rank.

Question: Do I need to enter tournaments to be promoted?
Answer:  No.  DBT Judo instructors understand that people participate in Judo for various reasons, not just to compete, and as such promotions are not based solely on tournament participation or performance.  However, tournament participation and performance does factor into promotion considerations, with tournament players typically advancing in rank faster than non-tournament players.  As an incentive to enter tournaments, the club waives monthly dues for students who participate in a tournament in the same month.  

Question: Does it costs money to be promoted?
Answer:  There is no “testing fee” associated with promotions.  There is a fee associated with testing for 1st degree black belt or higher, but it is an application fee paid to USA Judo, not to the club.

Question:  How many tournaments are there a year and what months comprise the Judo season?
Answer:  There is no Judo season and tournaments run throughout the year. There are about 8-9 local tournaments each year.

Question:  What are the rules in Judo?
Answer:  The basic rules are as follows:  Matches are 4 minutes for adults and 3 minutes for juveniles.  There are four ways to win in Judo: by a throw, armlock submission, strangulation submission or a pin.  Armlocks are permitted typically for advanced Judoka (brown belt and above).  Strangulation techniques are typically permitted for 13 year olds and above.  Pins must be held for 20 seconds.  Leg and foot locks are prohibited.  As of 2012 touching/grabbing of the trousers below the belt line is prohibited.  A contest in which regulation time expires in a tie or no score for either opponent goes into “golden score”, meaning the first score or penalty in overtime ends the match.