About Judo

Judo (meaning "gentle way",柔道) is a modern martial art and Olympic sport. It was created in Japan in 1882 by Dr Jigoro Kano (嘉納治五郎). A judo practitioner is called a judoka and at the beginner levels the emphasis is on ukemi (break-falls, 受け身) to teach the judoka how to fall correctly without risk of injury.

Junior judoka learn how to throw an opponent to the ground and hold them on their back. In competition (shiai, 試合) this is how a judoka wins a bout. Each training session will involve the practising of break-falls, throwing techniques (nage-waza, 投げ技) and hold-downs (osaekomi-waza, 押込技). Each training session ends with free practice (randori, 乱取り) that simulates the competition environment.

As judoka's learn they have the opportunity to be graded. Each successful grade completion results in the award of a new coloured belt that is worn at each training session and at competitions. Beginner students wear a white belt, progressing through the ranks until they are deemed to have achieved a level of competence sufficient to be a dan grade, at which point they wear the kuro obi (black belt, 黒帯).

Senior judoka train with the same structure but the added element of forcing their opponent to submit either by an arm lock (Kansetsu-waza, 関節技) or a choke technique (Shime-waza, 絞技). For seniors this is also a way for them to win a bout in competition. There are no strikes or thrusts by hands and feet apart from the pre-arranged forms of Judo (kata, 形) and kata forms part of the higher levels of grading.


About Hawthorn Judo

Hawthorn Judo first opened its doors in 1946 and over the past 65+ years we have welcomed great deal of people, both young and old, boys and girls and beginners through to Black Belts. We are a community based not for profit club run out of the Hawthorn Citizens Youth Club.

Our head coach is Michelle Matthews who holds a 5th Dan and has represented both Victoria and Australia through her career. She is ably supported by Rodney Cox (5th Dan) who also is the head coach at Balywn Judo Club and Kiyoshi Sakurai (1st Dan) who came through the ranks at Hawthorn Judo and specialises in preparing our juniors for upcoming competitions.

We currently have several members representing Victoria all across the country and have a current National Junior champion.

At Hawthorn Judo we teach not only the physical aspects of judo but also the elements of the "Moral Code' that Dr Kano outlined. These are:

Respect - This means respect to your coaches, other students and yourself
Self Control - In Judo you need to be in control at all times
Honour - You know the rules of judo so always follow them
Patience & Perseverance - Never give up
Honesty - Always tell the truth
Courage - Overcome your fears and learn that fear is a friend reminding you what you are doing is important to you
Friendship - In judo you always help other students
Courtesy - In judo you bow to our founder, coach and other students
Humility - In judo you need to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat

So all of our members benefit from not just the physical elements of judo which will increase strength, balance, flexibility and overall fitness, but by following these guidelines they improve their confidence, discipline and self control. Our senior members can choose between the competitive or knowledge streams to their achieve gradings.


Our Coaches

Michelle Matthews

Head Coach
"Sportsmanship for me is when a judoka walks off the mat and you really can't tell whether they won or lost by the way they carry themself with pride, either way."

Rodney Cox

Assistant Coach
“To me, respect is the highest value in judo. Both for yourself and others. Compete to learn, not just to win, and always respect your opponent.”

Kiyoshi Sakurai - On Leave

Assistant Coach
"You can only fight the way you practice"