Getting Started in Judo

Judo means "The Gentle Way."

At North Star Judo, we strive to treat all visitors and beginners with the utmost respect for their well-being. Judo is a rough and tumble throwing and grappling sport, and we realize that it can take considerable time to become fully conditioned for regular Judo practice. Even people who are athletic in other endeavors need to re-tune their bodies for judo.

"Do I have to get in shape before I start judo?" is a frequent question. No, is the answer. We are aware of what you bring to judo, and we make certain that each individual trains at a safe and productive level.

That's why our beginner's program emphasizes conditioning building exercises and essential falling skills that will enable you to practice judo without injury. For many with an active life style (or just who live in a part of the country where there is snow and ice, the falling skills have turned out to be worth the price of admission alone.) Strict safety rules are followed, and dangerous or disrespectful behavior is not tolerated.

We are proud of our safety record. More students come to us with injuries they received playing outside of the school, doing normal, active life-style things like volleyball, rollerblading, or Frisbee (really, Frisbee).

Beginners attend any of our regular scheduled practice times (see the Schedule and Fees section for more information ). This gives them the advantage of being able to both see and be assisted by higher ranking students.

You do not need to call ahead, simply show up! There are no contracts, however for insurance purposes we ask that all visitors sign a waiver. There is almost always a very affordable (sometimes FREE) special going on.

Of course, call if you want to chat. 952-888-6020.

Visitors are always welcome to stop by and watch as well.

What can I expect from a typical Judo class?

After changing into our practice uniform (judogi, which you can purchase from us, and we may have "loaners" available for short term use), we bow-in together and announce any club news or events. Then we usually spend several minutes warming up, which likely will include falling practice, conditioning exercises, ground fighting grappling drills. We also use judo-specific exercises originated by North Star's Sensei Emeritus, Tom Crone, 7th degree black belt.

Next we demonstrate one or two techniques for that night. These will be practiced through drills with different partners under supervision. The drills often consist of using the techniques as a counter to another technique, or in combination with another technique. This practice constitutes the bulk of a regular class period.

Near the end of a class we will often practice randori (free grappling) or fast-paced throwing drills using a crash-pad for safety. Also included in our regular classes are aspects of the various judo kata, essential to basic and advanced judo understanding.

"When am I no longer a beginner?" After anywhere from 3 to 6 months, new beginners coming to class will look at you with envy. You might not feel that far advanced, but you will have made significant progress. In judo, a belt ranking system is used, and your first degree black belt is six levels away from the white belt level you where you began. Different people advance at different rates. Some have achieved 1st degree black belt in three years or even a little less. Others have taken longer. Remember, achieving 1st degree black belt is a place where the teachers will tell you, "Congratulations. You are black belt now. Now you are ready to begin to learn." Judo offers a lifetime opportunity for new learning and challenges. In that way, you are always a beginner, on the threshold of new and exciting learning and personal advancement. After three months or so, you are no longer a beginning beginner.

We look forward to helping you with your new judo accomplishments.

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