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Forming a Judo Club

Feb 25, 2008
You may be interested in forming a judo club, particularly as it will help your own studies to have a variety of opponents to practice with. The three things needed for a Judo Club are: members, premises and equipment. I shall say something about each.

(a) Members

If you wish to extend your numbers, advertise. A few shillings spent on advertisements in your local paper, or in postcard advertisements in shop windows, will almost certainly bring replies. Again, youth leaders, teachers, or clergymen may know of others interested, or the national Judo associations may have had inquiries from people in your district with whom they could put you in touch. Use discretion, however, about who you admit to membership of your club.

When you are established, your local newspaper might be willing to print news of your activities, or to do a feature article on your club, and this would be an excellent way of attracting new members.

(b) Premises

The hall in which Judo is practiced is called by the Japanese name, "Dojo". Professor Kano's original Dojo was a Buddhist temple, and the hall of practice has always been a near-sacred place to Judo students. "Dojo" to Buddhists meant a place of meditation and study. People who entered it were expected to be quiet, clean, and reverent.

However humble your own Dojo may be, it is a good thing to bear this in mind, and to encourage members before entering to see that they are not only physically clean, but that they cleanse their minds of prejudice and emotion. If they come tensed up with dislike of other individuals there, or with an over-eager desire to win all the time, they will be unable to achieve the calm, relaxed state needed for true progress, and they will disturb the atmosphere for others.

You will probably have to take whatever hall you can get, but it can be brought as near these ideals as possible, with a little thought and work.

If you can form your Judo Club within the framework of an existing organization, such as your Youth Club, or a Church, the problem of premises may be solved for you. If, however, you are an independent group, advertising may again be the answer to your problem. Quite humble premises can be made suitable with a little soap and water, paint, and distemper, given the enthusiasm of members. I have seen lofts and cellars transformed into excellent Dojos, and such places can often be rented quite cheaply. Another possibility is to get the use of school premises from the local authority. This is sometimes granted, if need can be shown to exist.

(c) Equipment

The main item of equipment needed for Judo is the mat. This should be as large as space will allow. The real Judo mats are made of rice straw, but they are unobtainable in this country. It is possible to buy mats of U.S. straw, or of rubber, size about six feet by three feet, and to build up your own area, by placing them side by side. A wooden surround is needed to keep them from sliding apart, which would be dangerous, as gaps would appear in which your foot might be caught. The mat should be covered with a sheet of canvas, stretched tight, and secured by roping, or by attaching to the floor or surround. Straw or rubber mats are expensive, and an area fifteen feet square would cost you about $90.

Proper Judo suits can be purchased from: Honda Associates, Inc., 66 West 47th Street, New York 36, N.Y., or Castello Fencing Equipment Co., Inc., 30 East 10th Street, New York 3, N.Y., amongst other firms. They will send price lists and catalogues on application. Canvas mats and mat covers are also obtainable from the latter firm.

Now you have member, premises and equipment, you have the start of a Judo club. Have fun!
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