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Zen Judo - A Traditional Judo Style
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What is Zen Judo?

Some Useful Background Information For  All Students   

Judo: Is a full contact hand-to-hand martial art, in which two opponents utilise movement, balance, and leverage to gain advantage over each other. It emphasises gaining an advantage by giving way to an attacking force. Judo, which means "gentle way" in Japanese, is adapted from a traditional Japanese martial art known as jujitsu.

Zen Judo: In Zen Judo the accent is on achieving perfection of the technique in all throws and holds. There are no special skills required as we start simply, with forward rolls and gentle break falls. Then, as you progress we build up the throws and they gradually become increasingly powerful with feet coming higher and higher off the floor.
We practice Judo in a nurturing non-competitive environment. Grades are awarded for technical knowledge and skills rather than competitive success. Therefore, our style is suitable for students of all ages from six to sixty plus. In fact, the ability for fathers and mothers to train with their kids makes us a special place to enjoy judo.
We aim to build ability and confidence, each individual progressing at their own speed, with an emphasis on co-operation in a relaxed fun family atmosphere.

Founder: Shihan Dominick McCarthy (8th Dan) founded The Zen Judo Family in September 1974 and its traditional style is descended from Kyu-Shin-Do Judo. Judo can help important skills, such as balance, co-ordination, awareness, concentration and discipline. Training has the emphasis on enjoyment, fitness and fun and is suitable for both adults and children.

Grade Structure: is as follows -

White (all beginners) - Yellow - Orange - Green - Blue - Brown - Black

Promotion through the grades is possible by any student who perseveres and is dedicated to training. Note that this applies to both 'adults' (Seniors/over 16's) and 'children' (Juniors/under 16's).

Syllabus: For more information on The Zen Judo Syllabus see Zen Syllabus (opens in new window).

Alternatively, you could buy the 2nd edition of the book 'ZenJudo, A Way Of Life' written by Brian N Bagot (6th Dan ZJF/ 3rd Dan USJA) as published by Dojo Books. This book contains lots of useful information on Zen Judo and was forwarded by Dominick McCarthy 8th Dan Zen.

For ordering Information eMail the Chief Instructor, John Robertson

Zen Judo Family Objectives: All judoka are deemed to have accepted the objectives of The Zen Judo Family.

These are ...

    To develop the spirit and practice of Zen Judo along traditional lines.

    To demonstrate that Zen Judo is beneficial both mentally and physically.

    To promote the skills and abilities of Zen Judo without the application of unnecessary force or strength.

    To promote friendship and co-operation between all members of the Zen Judo Family and affiliated groups and associations.


1. Have No Falsehood in mind.

    Reluctance or deceit are not conducive

    to the inner harmony required by Judo


2. Do Not Lose Self-Confidence.

    Learn to act wholeheartedly and without

    hesitation. Learn reverence toward the

    practice of Judo to keep your mind focused.

3. Adjust Your Posture.

    The posture in Judo should be natural,

    so camouflage or affectation should be

    avoided. The essence of life is in truth.

    Nature is ever unchangeable because truth

    is omnipresent and if a person can find

    him/herself within, he/she will be able to

    act freely.

4. Be Swift.

    The center of gravity follows the movement

    of the body. The center of gravity is the

    most important element in maintaining

    stability. If it is lost,the body is

    naturally unbalanced. Always fix your mind

    and keep your body in balance.

5. Utilise Your Strength Infinitely.

    Use unshakable strength with the quickest

    movement of the body. Acknowledge that what

    is called stillness and motion,or tenderness

    and sturdiness is nothing but the endlessly

    repeated process where truth is.

6. Don't Discontinue Training.

    Mastery of Judo cannot be accomplished in

    a short time. Since skills depend on mental

    and physical applications, training should

    not be neglected.

7. Culture Yourself.

    If you become self centered, you will build

    a wall around yourself and lose your freedom.

    If you can efface yourself in preparation

    for an event,you will surely be better able

    to judge and understand truth.

    In a match, you will be able to detect the

    weak point of your opponent and easily put

    him/her under your control.


Zen Judo Rules - A guide for the Practice of Zen Judo: