Art, Olympic Sport, Self Defence

(Protective Behavior)

Judo Games

Judo lends itself to games after all in its sporting guise it is a game.

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For me and most of my students, I think that Judo training is enhanced when you employ relevant judo games as a training tool. Not to mention that they are an enormous amount of fun! And they help keep the kids interested.

I find it quite easy to develop games or modify them to suit my training requirements and have gathered, modified and in some cases created quite a collection of games. So I thought that it was time I recorded them on the site.

These Judo games are a growing collection, so this page should grow over time.

I would be interested in any bodies feed back as to how they work for you if you try them. Especially if you modify them and they work well. But I also want to hear any failures as that helps me better my collection.

So enjoy and let me know what you think.

Some of these games have been inspired by other Judoka. At this point in time I have no idea where I would have obtained the original concept from. If you believe that you are the originator of the concept of any of the games on this site or even if you have one similar please let me know and I will happily give you a link as long as it is reciprocal.


Warm up games

The thing about warm up games that I've never understood is the insistence of some coaches to make the game judo related. As long as it gets the Judoka going, for the life of me I can't see why any game won't do. So here is a series of games that are very successful at my club that the kids just love and it gets the hart rate up.

Thread the needle: Judoka stand in a line one behind another. After forming a line each student creates a space between them and the person in front of them of about one arms distance. On hajime the first person then weaves in and out of each space making sure not to miss any until they reach the end of the line when the next person from the front starts. You'll probably have to tell the students to move forward after the runner passes in order to not run out of mat.

The next step is to make up teams. When the last person reaches the end of the line everybody sits. The first team to sit wins!

Protector Defender: You will need a ball. Judoka stand in a circle. Two people are selected to be in the middle and they take a traditional Judo Grip on each other. One person is the protector and the other is the defender. Someone in the circle throws the (very soft) ball to someone else in the circle trying to hit the defender in the process. The protector has to stop the defender from being hit. The defender is not allowed to touch or be touched by the ball. When the defender is hit by or touches the ball the person who threw the ball becomes the protector and the protector becomes the defender. The previous defender joins the circle.

Helicopter: Judoka in a circle. Select someone to be the helicopter. The helicopter stands in the middle with a belt with a knot in it. Keeping the belt on the ground the helicopter begins to spin and the judoka have to jump over the belt as it passes them by. Any person hit is out.

The belt MUST be kept low or this game becomes dangerous. Make sure the student know their break falls before they play. They may hit the ground hard if the belt catches then at the right time. The helicopter MUST change often or the person in the middle gets too dizzy.

Water Buffalo: One judoka laying face down in the center of the mat. The rest standing at one end. On the command "walking" all players on the end start to walk across the mat to the other end. On Hajime all players begin to run because it is only at this point that the player in the center is allowed to stand and chase the others.

If any player is tagged before they get to the other end they must join the player in the middle. Thus as the people in the middle grow it gets harder and harder to get to the other end without getting tagged. The process is repeated until all players are caught.

Jump Rope using belts: Every body knows how to play jump rope. Tie two or three belts together and one at a time everybody jumps over the rope as it is turned over between two rope handlers at each end of the tied belts.

Indians and Teepees: An old favorite. Everyone stands in two circles one inside the other. the inner cycle sits down in font of a partner from the outer circle. The inner circle are the Indians. The outer circle are the teepees.

When "Indians" is called the inner circle must crawl through the legs of their partner and run clockwise around the circle till they return to their partner at which point the Indian crawls through the legs of their partner to return to the inner circle.

On the call of "Teepees" the Teepees run anti clockwise till they return to their original position.

On the call of Tindians everybody runs in their respective direction.

This game can be chaotic make sure your judoka understand that they have to keep their eyes open and run in the correct direction or you could be up for some injuries.

Cat & mouse game: This game is one of my judo kids favorites. Judoka sit in a circle. One student is chosen to be the cat and another is chosen to be the mouse.

The Cat, naturally chases the Mouse around the circle. Except in this game you are allowed to run through the center of the circle.

If the Cat tags the Mouse the Mouse then becomes the Cat and the previous Cat becomes the Mouse. Now the New mouse chases the new Cat. This continues until the mouse sits down behind anybody in the circle. This causes the person that has been sat down behind to become the New Cat and the previous Cat now becomes the Mouse. Hence the Cat chases the mouse around and through the circle until the mouse sits down behind someone or is tagged.

You may have to set a limit on the number of times that a mouse can run around or through the circle because some students don't know when to let someone else play. After two or three children have had a go at being the Cat it is often wise to get all the students who haven't had a go, to raise their hand and insist that a mouse must sit down behind a student with their hand up. After all it is a warm up game and unless everybody has a go they don't get warmed up.

Soldiers and Brigands
Two lines at opposite ends of the room.
One file represents soldiers with faces to the wall, and the other file robbers facing the backs of the soldiers.

The idea is for the robbers(Brigands) to creep up, and when close to the soldiers, clap hands, and then race back home.

The soldiers, directly they hear the clap, turn round and chase the robbers.

In order to test the self-control of the soldiers the clap may be delayed for some seconds.

Any robber caught before reaching home becomes a soldier, and the game can proceed until all the robbers are captured.

Crabs and Crocodiles: Another favorite at my clubs. This one can have an element of Judo easily added.

Students sit in two lines in the center of the mat. The students in one line are called "Crabs". Students in the other line are called "Crocodiles".

"Crabs" and "Crocodiles" is called randomly.

If "Crabs" are called all the crabs must crawl to their side of the mat before they can be tagged by the "Crocodiles" who will crawl after them as fast as they can.

If the "Crabs" are tagged by the "Crocodiles" they become "Crocodiles" and return to the center of the mat on the "Crocodile" side.

If "Crocodiles" are called all the Crocodiles must crawl to their side of the mat before they can be tagged by the "Crabs" who will crawl after them as fast as they can.

If the "Crocodiles" are tagged by the "Crabs" they become "Crabs" and return to the center of the mat on the "Crocodile" side.

If "Crunch" is called all Judoka scramble to get a partner and into a hold down before matte is called.

The game continues until either one side is depleted of players or the time limit is reached.

Elephant Tag: Just like ordinary tag only "IT" has to run around with the bend of their elbow touching their nose.

Pulling forward grips: Good for building strength as well as grip control.Uke and friend on one side of a line and tori on the other. The friend holds Uke by the belt whilst Tori tries to pull Uke over the line.

Lifting people: Good for building strength. One judoka on their hands and knees on the ground in a tucked up position (turtled up). The other Judoka stands above them holding them by the belt and tries to lift.

After a number of lifts or attempts they swap places.

Catch the Judoka:-Same as "what's the time Mr wolf" except that when the Judoka is caught S/he must do the last number called in sit ups/ push ups (Variation : Judoka must run backward when escaping)

Elbow Tag:- One person is "IT" and another is the runner.
Everyone else is in pairs linked elbow to elbow, side by side such that outside elbow is bent and hand is on the waist.
"IT" tries to catch the runner. The runner can avoid being tagged by linking elbows with any member of any pair. When this happens, they yell "Go! and the partner not linked to the runner becomes the new runner.
If the runner is tagged, they become the new "IT".

Sheep and sheep Dogs: Three Judoka hold hands (they are the sheep dog) everybody else are sheep. whenever any of the sheep dog members tags any of the sheep the sheep must go with the sheep dog to a corner (a pen) when ever they are three sheep in the pen they become the sheep dog and the previous sheep dog become sheep

This game brings out alertness and speed space awareness and helps develop agility.

Hopping pirate: Great for balance and space awareness.

Someone is "IT" in the middle (The Pirate). The Pirate chooses someone from the line up at one end of the mat. The person chosen walks up to the pirate. Both parties then start to hop. The pirates job is to try to hinder the player from getting to the other side in such a way as to cause the player to put both feet on the mat. The moment the player puts both feet on the mat they become a pirate an so the game goes on. If the player gets to the other side successfully they get to choose the next person to come across.

At no time is either player to touch the other player in any way, if they do both players are out.

Tag Variations
a) changing the mode of locomotion eg. everyone: hopping, skipping, jumping ...etc.
b) When tagged, Judoka have to perform a certain task before chasing others:
sit - chase, sit up - chase, jump - chase, 5 situps - chase, 5 Rolls - chase, 5 Ukimi - chase.

Rob the Nest: You will need a number of smallish objects. I use wood chips about 4X6 mm but the size and shape doesn't matter. Judoka are in 3 or more teams. Each team starts with the same number of objects and establishes a base somewhere on the mat. All objects must be in front of each team and clearly accessable at all times. No hiding stuff. No stopping anybody from steeling.

On Hajime one and one only at a time of each team runs to one of the other teams base and steels one and one only, object and returns it to the front of their own teams base where the staring judoka must then tag someone else who goes and repeats the process.

At the end of a set time all the objects are counted and the team with the most is the winner.

If there is more than one team member running at any one time that team is out. If a team member is not tagged before they leave the team base the whole team is out.

Life boats: The ship is sinking, orders must be obeyed before students form into groups (life boat). ie "Three Judo rolls, Five" - the judoka do 3 rolls before they form into a group of 5

Triangle Tag
For practicing evasive and defensive skills.
Teams of 4 such that one is a chaser. The other 3 hold hands facing each other in a triangle.

Chaser tries to tag a pre determined target (one of the triangle)
The judoka must not tag heads for safety, arms or lunge across triangle in order to get target. (The 3 players in the triangle co-operate to keep the chaser away from the target).

Games Relevant To Tachiwasa & Newasa
Judo Games, Drills
Crawlers and Chasers
(Uke crawls in front of tori and tries to get to the other side of the mat. Tori standing chases Uke and tries to turn them over and hold them down)
Keep the ball or balloon off the ground.