About Hull Judo Club

Meet our team

Hull Judo Club is one of the leading Judo Clubs in East Yorkshire and Humberside

The Club can trace it's origins within the local Judo scene back to the 1970's.
During its time, this club was suitated at Woodford Leisure Centre, Hull YPI - George Street, Ennerdale Leisure Centre and Adelaide School. We can now be found at The Freedom Centre in Hull on a Monday evening and at The Boulevard Academy on a Thursday.


About Judo

Judo burns approximately 340 calories per session and helps improve fitness levels, balance, coordination and flexibility.

For those not wanting to take part in combat, the moves involved in the sport can still be done as conditioning and strength-building exercises.

The throws and holds involved in judo provide an effective form of self-defence training. It also lowers peoples risk of sustaining serious injury in other sports as judo teaches people how to fall in a safe manner.

Although it is an individual sport, judo is an excellent way to develop communication skills and learn to work effectively with other people as you train in groups.

Clubs also offer a variety of social events beyond simply playing the sport.

Judo is good for the mind as well as the body. Specific rules ensure you will build self-confidence, self-discipline and respect for yourself and others, with many of the moves involving a great deal of mutual trust.

Judo is a fun and challenging activity, suitable for people of all ages and abilities

What is Judo?

Judo has its roots in ju-jitsu which goes back many centuries in Japanese history when is was a brutal and often lethal method of self defense and unarmed combat. Judo was established as a modern physical activity when in 1882, Professor Jigoro Kano founded his Kodokan Judo. Responsible for education he was aware that physical education in his country at that time was sadly lacking. Jealous ju-jitsu masters began to question this system and the matter could only be settled by arranging a tournament between the various schools. This was done in 1886 and the outcome was a totally victorious Kodokan. Japanese police officials had been watching the proceedings closely, they were looking for an acceptable method of apprehending and controlling aggressive law-breakers without resorting to weapons. To them Judo was the answer and it is used in Japanese police training to this day. From that time, Judo schools were established in many countries and the first Judo club to open in Europe, the Budokwai which still operates today, was founded in 1918 by Gunji Koizumi who became known later as "The Father of British Judo". There are now nearly 1,000 Judo clubs registered with the British Judo Association in the United Kingdom.

Since the inclusion of Judo in the 1964 Olympic Games it has been regarded as a modern Olympic combat sport although some followers still consider it very much an "art form". Kano said that Judo is a teaching for life itself and with it we learn to overcome the pitfalls and obstacles of everyday living.

Judo is a fascinating Olympic sport. More than that, it is an art form. It is now practiced in almost every country of the world . What follows is a brief history of the development of what is now a modern Olympic Sport.


Kano The founder of Judo Jigoro Kano was born in 1860, he graduated with a degree in literature from Tokyo Imperial University in 1881 and took a further degree in philosophy the following year. Apart from being the founder of judo, Kano was a leading educationalist and a prominent figure in the Japanese Olympic movement. When Kano began his study of ju-jitsu as a young man, the ju-jitsu masters of the martial arts were struggling to earn a living. Although they were willing to teach the skills handed down to them over many generations, there was little interest among people of the succeeding generation, additionally the demise of the samurai (warrior) class had reduced the need for instruction. At the age of 18 Kano studied the ju-jitsu of the Tenshin Shinyo Ryu under Fukudo and Iso, both instructors at the prestigious Komu Sho. Following the death of Fukuda, Kano remained briefly with master Iso before finishing his pupillage with master Ilkubo.

Judo - The formative years

By 1883, Kano had clarified his analysis of ju-jitsu and related methods to the point at which he felt able to instruct the public through a school of his own. To that end he borrowed a small room at Eishoji temple and opened the first Kodokan for the study of Kano judo. A number of machi dojo (back street gyms) decided that the Kodokan was conceited and ought to be put in its place. They visited its premises and caused damage so that if honor were to be satisfied a challenge match would have to be arranged. At such matches the Kodokan was represented by Sakujiro Yokoyama, the outstanding player of his day, and the result was invariably a win for Kano judo. To gain acceptance from the provinces Kodokan representatives traveled all over Japan giving lectures and demonstrations on the principles behind the new method. The finale of these lectures was a contest, with limb locks and striking excluded, between the Kodokan lecturer and a member of the local training school. A particularly important match took place in 1886 to decide which system of ju-jitsu should be approved for use in military academies, police departments and public schools. The 15 strong male Kodokan team defeated all opponents and judo became a government approved sport.

Judo and WWII

The aftermath of the 2nd World War was a dark era for Japan and things Japanese. As part of Japan's war effort, instructors had been ordered to teach unarmed combat. In retaliation the occupation forces prohibited all practice of the martial arts in schools and public institutions. The ban remained in place until 1951 although there had been a gradual relaxation of the rule. Private instruction in judo was tolerated and the police were excepted from the general prohibition. The Kodokan was largely left to reestablish itself unhindered. Kano had taken a stand against the worst aspects of militarism in pre-war Japan and that, together with new draft rules which removed the vestiges of judo's martial origin made Kodokan judo acceptable to the authorities. In 1949 the occupation authorities indicated that the yudanshakai (dan grade society) of the various schools could be reconstituted as a single democratic organization. As a result the Japanese Judo Federation was formed under the presidency of Risei Kano, only son of Jigoro Kano, with headquarters at the Kodokan. Today the All Japan Judo Federation has Jigoro Kano's grandson as its President.

Judo In Britain

With the intention of establishing a ju-jutsu school in England, Mr. E W Barton Wright sponsored a visit in 1899 of a team of Japanese judo experts. The project failed but those who stayed took to the stage to earn a living. Best known among them was Yukio Tani, who toured music halls offering challengers £1 per minute for every minute they lasted beyond five and £50 if they defeated him. The prize money was rarely (if ever) paid. Over the following decade or so many Japanese "showmen" performed on stages around the country performing frivolous tricks linked with ju-jutsu. For all their showmanship, these men were very capable ju-jutsu players. Their real contribution to the growth of judo outside Japan was made in the books they published and the instruction they gave. Tani remained in England after his compatriots had returned home and in 1920 was formally appointed chief instructor to a new club for "the study of systems developed by the samurai":the Budokwai. Neither he nor the club's founder Gunji Koizumi, could have foreseen that they were creating an institution soon to become the most famous judo school outside Japan.
<h1>Britain's first Judo Club</h1>
Tuition was given in judo, kendo (swordsmanship) and other aspects of Japanese culture; Tani continued as instructor until a stroke forced him to retire in 1937. Koizumi was to European judo what Kano was to world judo. He first came to Britain in 1906 and after a few years in the USA he returned to open the Budokwai as a cultural center and social club for the Japanese community in London. The official opening took place on 26 January 1918 and within 4 months the membership had grown to 44 including 2 Englishmen. The Budokwai educated several generations of judo men at a time when genuine judo clubs were few and far between. For many years it was the only authoritative source of Kodokan judo in Europe. The link had been forged by Jigoro Kano during an extended visit to Britain in 1920.

The British Judo Association

Koizumi's vision for the growth of judo on an international basis began to materialize in 1948. On 24 July that year the British Judo Association (BJA) was established as the representative national body; four days later a meeting under the chairmanship of Trevor Leggett, the most senior non-Japanese player in the world, approved the constitution of a European Judo Union (EJU) to represent judo in the continent of Europe. Three years later still, the International Judo Federation (IJF) was created as an inter-continental body with overall control of judo.

Judo and the "rest of the World"

Judo entered many countries from 1902 to the 1930's. In the United States judo gained an early foothold because of the interest shown by President Theodore Roosevelt. As an expression of goodwill Kano sent Yoshiaki Yamashita, a high ranking member of the Kodokan, to America in 1902 to be his personal instructor. Roosevelt trained regularly , if clumsily and in due course a room was set aside at the White House for judo purposes. It was thirty-odd years, however, before an American reached dan grade in the USA itself. Clubs were set up in Seattle in 1903 and Los Angeles in 1915. Brisbane Judo Club was the first founded in Australia in 1928 by DR A J Ross, a Kodokan dan grade. Judo later reached New Zealand via Australia in 1948 when G Grundy, a 2nd Dan from the Budokwai, opened a club in Auckland. The most successful "newcomer" so to speak is the USSR. Strictly speaking a form of judo has been practiced in the Soviet Union since about 1930. The Russians practice a wrestling system called Sambo. This is a synthesis of many different wrestling systems, however because of the absence of international competition outside of the USSR, the Russians turned their attention to judo. In 1962 a Soviet judo team comprising Sambo men in judo suits collected five medals at the European Judo Championships. Sambo is a close cousin of judo, but it lacks the same conceptual framework. It can be seen as an implied compliment that the Russians have stepped up considerably the emphasis on judo during recent years.