Visually Impaired judo is an adaptation of the Japanese martial art of judo for visually impaired competitors. It is also the only martial arts in the Paralympics, being introduced for men in Seoul 1988 and women in Athens 2004.
There are many benefits of Judo, beginning with self-defence. Although the creator of Judo Jigaro Kano intended this martial art to be more of a sport, it has morphed into an effective way of self-defence. When participating in Judo, you will learn a variety of fundamental skills involving balance, coordination and effective motion. You will also learn how to fall safely so that you do not injure yourself. In fact, what you learn in Judo about safe falls can be transferred to other activities. This will lower your risk of sustaining serious injury while competing in other sports.
Judo not only works out the body, but it also works out the mind. When participating in Judo, you will build self-confidence, trust, self-discipline and respect for yourself and others.
The rules are the same as non-disabled judo, with one exception. Visually impaired participants start competing gripped together, as opposed to the off-grip technique for non-disabled competitors.
To participate in Judo you need a Gi uniform. However, beginners are not expected to turn up with one of these. If it’s your first time, just wear comfortable loose fitted clothing that doesn’t have any sharp or hard parts.
A judoka (a judo participant) can win a contest by using a technique, such as a throw or hold, and by submission with an arm-lock or a strangle. A technique that achieves Ippon (the highest score a competitor can achieve) wins the contest. However, if neither opponent achieves this score, it will be the player who has accumulated the most points during the contest. If there is no score or both participants have the same points, the match reaches the golden score phase, where the first player to score, wins the match.
Getting involved in visually impaired judo is easy. British Judo has over 100 clubs that are accessible to blind and partially sighted people. To find your nearest club, use the link to the British Judo Club Finder below. Find a club in your local area: If you add your postcode it will bring up the most local clubs in your area then just email the club and go alone and enjoy the session.
Further information about the sport judo is available on the British judo council website.