Judo experience is popular among foreigners! Reasons for its popularity and where you can experience it!



Motenas Representative
Motenas Representative

Why don’t you try Judo experience, which is popular among foreigners, to entertain your guests?

From a Japanese point of view, it may seem surprising that “Judo experience is so popular among foreigners?” However, judo is a well-known and popular martial art even in foreign countries.

However, there are many Japanese who have no experience in judo, and many of them say, “I don’t know much about judo, and I am not confident that I can entertain them.

In this article, we will introduce you to places where foreigners can experience judo, provide basic knowledge of judo, and explain the reasons why judo is so popular among foreigners.

Please take a look at it as a reference for entertaining foreign guests.

Is the Judo experience popular among foreigners?

Is the Judo experience popular among foreigners?

When you are planning to entertain a foreign guest at a judo experience, your first concern is whether or not the guest will enjoy the experience.

Judo is a popular martial art among foreigners, so it is recommended as a form of hospitality!

Let’s take a closer look at why the Judo experience is so popular with foreigners.

Enthusiasts in more than 200 countries and regions around the world

The International Judo Federation has more than 200 member countries and regions.

This means that there are judo enthusiasts in more than 200 countries and regions outside of Japan.

Although the numbers alone may not give you a good idea of the number of members, this is equivalent to the number of members of the “International Federation of Football Associations” and the “International Tennis Federation”. *As of 2024

You can see how well known it is, since there are as many judo competitors in as many countries and regions as there are well-known sports such as soccer and tennis.

Judo has such a large number of competitors worldwide that there is even a “World Judo Championships” almost every year.

Judo is a martial art favored by people from many countries, so it seems likely that foreign guests will enjoy the judo experience.

The number of competitors is larger among foreigners than among Japanese.

In fact, do you know that the percentage of the population competing in judo is more foreigners than in Japan?

Judo is particularly popular in Europe, with countries such as France and Germany having large populations of competitors.

For example, while the population of judo competitors in Japan is approximately 140,000, the population of judo competitors in France is more than 500,000, and the population of judo competitors in Germany is approximately 150,000, exceeding the population of Japan.

Judo is also popular in Brazil, with about 2 million people competing, about 14 times the number in Japan.

It is a surprising fact that despite being a Japanese-born martial art, the number of people competing is greater among foreigners.

So why is judo so popular among foreigners?

The reasons for this will also be explained.

Judo spirit is another reason for its popularity.

The reason why judo is so popular among foreigners is because of the “judo spirit.

Judo is considered to be about courtesy and respect for one’s opponent, and this is what makes it so popular with foreigners.

For example, judo training is characterized by “beginning and ending with rei.

In particular, as judo becomes more and more powerful and stronger, it is considered important to respect propriety.

Judo is also taught to respect the opponent, as it is a sport that can only be practiced with an opponent.

The same is true when cheering for the players; do not be too eager to win to the point of cursing or yelling at your opponents.

This kind of competition that also emphasizes the mental aspect of the game is not common overseas, which makes it attractive to foreigners and is the reason for its popularity.

Judo Basics

Judo Basics

Here is some basic knowledge of Judo.

It is not easy to learn about the history of judo and its positioning overseas.

By knowing what kind of martial arts judo is, you will be able to treat foreigners with confidence when you offer them a judo experience.

Please study it in advance before entertaining guests.

Born in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), with a history of about 140 years

Judo dates back to the Meiji era (1868-1912) and was founded in 1882 by a man named Jigoro Kano.

In other words, judo is a martial art with a long history of more than 140 years.

Judo originated from jujutsu, an ancient Japanese martial art.

The purpose of this jujutsu is to control the opponent by throwing and tightening techniques.

Master Jigoro Kano, the creator of judo, came to believe that “one can become a respectable person by improving not only the technique of jujutsu but also the mental aspect through practice” while studying this art.

Then, to the techniques of jujutsu, an element that emphasizes the [mental] aspect is added, and judo, which aims to build character, is born.

Became an official Olympic sport in the Showa Era.

Judo became known worldwide largely because it was adopted as an official sport for men’s competition at the 1964 Olympics.

Furthermore, foreign athletes won gold medals here, and judo became a globally known martial art.

The fact that foreign athletes won the championship despite the fact that it is a Japanese-born sport is proof that foreign athletes were so attracted by the appeal of judo that they trained hard.

Furthermore, in 1992, it was adopted as an official Olympic sport for women, leading to an increase in the number of female competitors.

Japan is the birthplace of judo, but France, Korea, China, and other countries also have strong judo players, and many medals have been won in the Olympics.

Attracting international attention for children’s education purposes as well.

Judo has spread not only domestically but also internationally, thanks to the Olympics and other events.

So how is judo positioned overseas?

In fact, Judo is a popular lesson in foreign countries for children’s educational purposes.

In France, judo is particularly popular as a boys’ sport, and many parents take the initiative in having their children learn judo.

The reason for this is that judo is a martial art that emphasizes courtesy and respect for the opponent, and many parents send their children to this school for educational purposes.

As already explained, you can see that the spirit of judo is popular among foreigners.

Judo thus has a long history that has been handed down for more than 140 years, and is now one of Japan’s proudest martial arts, supported overseas as well.

Let foreign guests enjoy and feel the good traditions of Japan through the Judo experience.

Places where foreigners can experience Judo

Places where foreigners can experience Judo

So where can foreigners experience judo?

Judo experiences may be available at local dojos, but the following two locations are also recommended for foreign guests.

  1. Shidokan [English interpretation available].
  2. Kodokan [the headquarter of Judo].

Shidokan [English interpretation available].

Shidokan, a judo school in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, offers a judo experience course for foreign visitors to Japan, with English interpretation provided.

Therefore, it is safe to say that the language of foreign customers is English.

There is also a trial plan for inexperienced judo practitioners, who will be carefully taught in English, from explaining the history of judo to experiencing techniques and ukemi (ukemi).

Judogi are also available for rent, giving foreign guests a more Japanese experience.

This Shidokan is accustomed to providing judo experiences for foreigners, so it is a particularly good place for foreign guests who have no previous judo experience.

Address: 1-3 Wakaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Contact for reservations: judo.shidokan.tokyo@gmail.com
Official website: https://www.bunbuichido.net/20190628news-judo-experience-program/

Kodokan [the headquarter of Judo].

Kodokan is a judo hall founded by Master Jigoro Kano, the creator of judo, and has an instructional program for people from overseas.

Since you can learn Judo at the headquarter of Judo, it is especially recommended for foreign guests who have Judo experience.

Kodokan is a “sacred place for Judo,” and with exhibits of materials and photographs related to the history of Judo, as well as Judo goods for sale, it is a valuable experience for those with a strong interest in Judo.

However, in the past, the headquarter of judo has held trial training sessions for those with no experience, so if the timing is right, you can participate regardless of your ability in judo.

At that time, about 80 people participated in the hands-on training, experiencing techniques and kata on tatami mats, and it was a great success.

Please check the official website frequently as these trial training sessions are held on an irregular basis.

Address: 1-16-30 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Phone number (International Department): 03-3818-4172
Official website: http://kodokanjudoinstitute.org/


Motenas Japan can also organize authentic judo experiences in which participants wear judo uniforms.

In addition to experiencing the techniques, students can also learn etiquette and other skills from active judo coaches.

In addition, we can propose special projects such as judo experiences to strengthen the company’s team power.

Example of Judo Experience Flow

Example of Judo Experience Flow

Finally, here is an example of the flow of the Judo experience.

The experience may vary slightly from dojo to dojo, but the general flow of the experience will be as follows.

  1. change into judo uniform
  2. Receive an explanation of the history of judo
  3. Experience the art of Judo

change into judo uniform

First, when you arrive at the judo hall, change into your judo uniform.

If your foreign guest has no previous judo experience, please remember to check if rental judo wear is available at the experience site.

If foreign guests have their own judo wear, they are welcome to participate in their own judo wear.

There are rules on how to put on Judo-gi, so please follow the steps below.

  1. Put on judo pants and tie the string at the waist with a bow.
  2. Wrap the knot of 1 inside the pants and hide it
  3. Wear the upper garment of the judo gi on top of the upper garment with the left collar facing up.
  4. Place the middle of the obi slightly below the navel of the upper garment and turn the two ends toward the back.
  5. Cross the obi behind the waist and turn it to the front, overlapping the right side of the obi with the one below the navel.
  6. Tie the left side of the obi together with the 5
    Reference source “Aoba Judokai Taneya Dojo”: http://aoba-judokai.jp/taneyajudotext_judogi.pdf

If you do not know how to tie an obi, ask the person in charge to help you.

After changing, students enter the judo hall, greet each other, and begin their experience.

Receive an explanation of the history of judo

The experience begins with an explanation of the history of judo.

At this time, it is important to note that you may have to sit on your hands when receiving explanations.

Sitting on the floor for long periods of time can be burdensome even for Japanese, but foreign residents may have no experience sitting on the floor.

Check with your coach beforehand to make sure that it is safe for you to break a leg.

It is also recommended that you confirm in advance the availability of interpreters.

If an interpreter is available, the explanation will be given in the language of the foreigner, but if not, the explanation will be given only in Japanese.

In such cases, a separate interpreter should be arranged.

The explanation of the trajectory and spirit of judo will enhance the practical experience that follows.

Experience the art of Judo

After the explanation, it is time to actually experience judo techniques.

The techniques to be experienced vary from dojo to dojo, but by informing us in advance of the foreign guest’s judo experience, we can have the guest choose techniques that are appropriate for his/her level.

At this time, there are many cases where the techniques are actually practiced with the teacher or with other people who are undergoing the experience together.

After practicing the techniques, the experience ends with a greeting.

Since you are wearing judo uniforms, it would be a good souvenir if you also take a picture before changing.

Also, if your dojo sells judo goods, ask your foreign customers if they would like to purchase them.

Obi (belt) and judo uniforms are popular among foreigners as souvenirs, and some judo halls sell unique products such as [judo T-shirts].

It is highly likely that foreign guests will enjoy the event even if they have no experience in judo, so we recommend that you check with the judo hall in advance to see if merchandise is available for sale.



Entertaining foreign guests can be a daunting task due to cultural and language differences.

Judo experience is a great way to introduce foreign guests to good Japanese culture while having fun.

Some judo centers offer judo experience plans for foreigners, and many judo coaches are accustomed to teaching non-Japanese, so please consult with them in advance about any concerns you may have.

Motenas Japan can also offer a special Judo experience tailored to your needs.

We can arrange for active judo coaches, as well as interpreters and other services in its entirety, so please feel free to contact us for more information.