Is Judo Good For Self-Defense? All Pros and Cons

Self-defense is a vital skill that everyone should know. Judo has been proven to be an effective form of self-defense, but it does have some drawbacks. This article will explore the pros and cons of Judo as a self-defense mechanism. Let’s take a closer look at the good and bad aspects of learning Judo for self-defense.

So, is Judo good for self-defense? Judo is a great tool for self-defense because it uses leverage and momentum to your advantage, which can help you take down a much larger opponent. Judo is also very effective in close-quarters situations, such as if an attacker is trying to grab or wrestle you to the ground. 

While Judo is undoubtedly a helpful self-defense skill, there are some drawbacks that you should be aware of. First, Judo can be quite physically demanding, and you may not be able to keep up the pace if you are not in good shape. And also, Judo can be dangerous if not used correctly; if you accidentally injure your attacker, they may sue you for damages.

The History Of Judo

Judo is a Japanese martial art created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Judo is based on the ancient Japanese martial art of Jujutsu, but it has been heavily modified over the years. Judo focuses on throws and takedowns rather than strikes, which makes it an ideal self-defense system.

Judo is an effective form of self-defense because it teaches its practitioners how to control and subdue their opponents without causing severe injury. Judo also teaches its practitioners how to fall safely, a vital skill in any self-defense situation.

The Pros Of Learning Judo For Self Defense

Judo Teaches You How To Control Your Opponent

One of the most important aspects of self-defense is being able to control your opponent. Judo gives you the tools you need to do just that. Judo techniques allow you to take down your attacker and control them on the ground. This is a vital skill to have in any self-defense situation.

One of the best things Judo can teach you is to use your opponents’ clothes to your advantage. Judo practitioners wear a Gi, which is a heavy cotton jacket. This jacket can be used to control an opponent by grabbing their Gi and using their momentum against them.

In self-defense, your attacker may wear a regular jacket or a hoodie. You can use this to your advantage by grabbing their clothing and using it to control them and throw them.

Judo Teaches You How To Fall Safely

Falling is an inevitable part of any self-defense situation. Whether you are being thrown to the ground by your attacker or falling because you slipped on something, you must know how to fall safely. 

Judo teaches its practitioners how to fall correctly to avoid injury. Falling is a staple of Judo training, which you will become very good at if you stick with. Therefore you will be able to avoid severe injuries in a self-defense situation.

Judo Teaches You How To Use Your Opponent’s Momentum Against Them

One of the critical principles of Judo is to use your opponent’s momentum against them. This is a very effective tactic in any self-defense situation. If your attacker is coming at you with a lot of force, you can use their momentum to your advantage and take them down.

This is a great way to subdue a much larger opponent. Moves such as the hip and shoulder throw are designed to do just this.

Judo Is A Great Workout

In addition to being an effective self-defense system, Judo is also a great workout. Judo training is physically demanding and will help you get in and stay in shape. It is no surprise Judo athletes are one of the most explosive and jacked athletes in the world.

The training is very demanding and explosive, forcing your body to grow. If you are looking for a way to get a great workout while also learning self-defense, then Judo is definitely the way to go.

Judo is a great way to have fun while also learning how to defend yourself. Judo can also be an enjoyable activity. The training is demanding, but it is also very enjoyable. You will certainly enjoy the time you spend training in Judo.

Judo Will Make You Mentally Tough And Strategic

Judo training is not only physically demanding, but it is also mentally demanding. Judo will push you to your limits and force you to dig deep. This will make you a mentally tough individual. In a self-defense situation, it is important to keep a cool head.

You can do just that by putting hours and hours on the mat. Judo training will make you mentally strong and prepare you for any self-defense situation.

If you’ve ever watched a judo match, you know there is more to the sport than just trying to throw your opponent to the ground. In fact, there is a great deal of strategy involved in judo. For example, competitors must be very aware of their surroundings at all times and be able to anticipate their opponent’s next move. This makes judo a very cerebral sport as well as a physical one.

The Cons Of Learning Judo For Self Defense

Judo Can Be Dangerous

Judo is a very effective self-defense system, but it can also be dangerous if it is not used correctly. If you accidentally injure your attacker, they may sue you for damages. However, any self-defense situation is difficult, so this is not a con specific to Judo.

Judo can also be dangerous if your attackers know how to counter Judo or if they are not wearing a thick enough shirt or jacket. You may be disadvantaged by not being able to use their clothes against them. Ensure you understand the techniques properly before using them in self-defense.

Judo Is Physically Demanding

Judo is a physically demanding activity. If you are not in good shape, you may be unable to keep up with the training pace. Make sure you are physically fit before beginning any Judo training. Judo could also take a toll on your body if you are not careful.

The activity is quite demanding, and you may have some injuries. Be sure to warm up properly before each session and listen to your body.

You May Not Be Able To Use Judo In All Situations

Judo is an effective self-defense system, but there are some situations where it may not be suitable. If you are being attacked by an opponent that has a good striking game, Judo may not be the best option. Make sure you understand Judo’s pros and cons before using it in self-defense. 

For example, if you are on the ground and your attacker stands up, you will not be able to use most of the Judo techniques. In this case, using another self-defense system, such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, may be better.

Or, if you are faced with multiple attackers, Judo may not be the best option as you will not be able to take all of them down at once. A striking-based martial art may be a better option in this case.

Judo May Not Be The Best Option Against A Knife Or Gun

Continuing on the last Con, Judo will not be the best self-defense system to use if your attacker is armed with a knife or gun. Once again, you may be better off using a striking-based martial art in this case. Other martial arts focus on disarming an opponent armed with a knife or gun, such as Krav Maga.

Krav Maga is designed to deal with armed opponents and is definitely worth considering if you are interested in self-defense.

However, if you are ever faced with an armed opponent, no matter which martial art you know, it is best to give them all you have or simply run away. Running away may not be the most honorable thing, but it is definitely the smartest. It is better to lose your wallet than such a significant risk. 

It Takes Time To Learn Judo Properly

Judo is an Olympic sport for a reason; it is simply not something that can be learned overnight. It takes time to learn Judo properly. You will not be able to become a master overnight. Judo requires a lot of time to master all the techniques.

If you are only interested in self-defense, martial arts such as Krav Maga or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu may be more suitable. Make sure you take the time and effort necessary to learn this challenging martial art.

Judo is a great martial art and has many benefits, but it also has some drawbacks. Be sure to understand all the pros and cons of Judo before using it for self-defense.

Judo is Losing Its Popularity

Judo is slowly losing its popularity. In recent years, mixed martial arts has exploded in popularity. Many people are now interested in learning this new sport. Judo is no longer the only game in town. It is now just one of many options available to people interested in self-defense or martial arts.

Grappling-based martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling are also becoming more popular. And many feel these arts are more effective than Judo.

Judo is still a great martial art, but its popularity is slowly declining. If you are interested in learning Judo, you may want to act soon before the opportunity somewhat disappears.

This may not be a con per see, but it is something to consider if you are thinking about learning Judo. If you decide to learn Judo, ensure you find a good instructor who can properly teach you all the techniques.

Is Judo Good For MMA?

Judo is not particularly well suited for MMA. While some Judo practitioners in MMA are not nearly as familiar as wrestlers or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters. This is because Judo does not offer anything these other grappling-based martial arts don’t already provide.

Judo relies on grabbing onto your opponent’s Gi, which is not allowed in MMA. This means that Judo practitioners will have to spend a lot of time adapting their techniques to succeed in MMA.

Some Judo moves can be transferred very well into MMA; moves such as the hip throw can be very effective, while others not so much. This means that a Judo practitioner must be careful when choosing which techniques to use in an MMA fight.

Judo is not a bad martial art but is not particularly well suited for MMA. However, there are always some exceptions. Some of the judokas could transform their judo skill into MMA. 

Five Most Famous Judokas In MMA:

  • Karo Parisyan – UFC fighter who is of Armenian descent. He is a black belt in Judo and was a former Olympic judoka.
  • Satoshi Ishii – Japanese MMA fighter who defeated Fedor Emelianenko in his first professional MMA fight. He is a gold medalist in Judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
  • Ronda Rousey – The world’s most famous female MMA fighter. She is a bronze medalist in Judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is currently the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
  • Hector Lombard – A Cuban-born MMA fighter who now fights for the Bellator promotion. He is a black belt in Judo and was a former Olympic judoka.
  • Josh Barnett – A well-known MMA fighter who competed in the UFC and PRIDE. He is a black belt in Judo and was a former Olympic judoka.


Judo is an effective self-defense system that has many benefits. However, it is essential to understand the pros and cons of Judo before using it in a self-defense situation. Make sure you are familiar with all the techniques and that you are physically fit before attempting to use Judo in self-defense.

Gregori Povolotski

I have been practicing martial arts since 2007. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a huge passion for combat sports, especially Muay Thai and boxing. Helping people on their martial arts journey is what drives me to keep training and learn new things. Read More About Me

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