How Long Does It Take To Learn Judo?

Two men practicing judo

Those that want to get into Judo training often have the same question. How long does it take to learn Judo?

We’re going to give you the full answer below along with detailing the techniques that you’ll learn during this time.

How long does it take to learn Judo? It will take you about a year to learn the basics of Judo. However, to become highly skilled in Judo takes years of training and dedication.

Fundamental Judo Movements You Must Learn

The first techniques that you will learn in Judo are the basic movements. Once you get these movements down, then you can begin learning different throws and sweeps.

The fundamentals of Judo you first learn include:

  • Posture
  • Footwork
  • Body Movement
  • Falling Techniques
  • Gripping Techniques
  • Setting Up Throws


Having good posture is everything in Judo and makes it hard for an opponent to throw you. Your back must be straight and your feet planted directly under your hips.

The position of your head must  also be centered above your hips. Slightly up and Focusing your view between your opponent’s hips and chest.

Footwork(Suri ashi)

The steps you take enable you to set up your throws against your opponent. Not only to set up techniques, but also prevent techniques from being done on you.

Proper footwork for Judo will include learning how to step without lifting your leg high or putting too much. Also being able to shift your weight, while keeping your weight balanced between your feet.

Body Movement(Tai sabaki)

Body movements are important for you to move your body to set up throws. These movements include: front movement control, back movement control, and front turn movement control. 


Just like in BJJ, you must learn to break fall before learning any techniques. In Judo, they call breakfalls ukemi.

The types of ukemi you learn include:

  • Forward Falling
  • Backward Falling
  • Sideways Falling
  • Falling Rolls(Forward & Backward)

Gripping Techniques(Kumi kate)

Learning all of the basic gripping techniques are included in your first Judo classes. These grips will enable you to set up different types of throws depending on the type of grips you use.

Unbalancing Opponent(Kuzushi)

Unbalancing your opponent is the first step of your set up into your Judo throw. You’ll learn in your first classes how to force your opponent’s weight to each side to start your set ups.

Making an Opening(Tsukuri)

Tsukuri are the entry steps into opening your throws. Basic entries are  generally between 1-3 steps.

Basic Grips 

Let’s go  step further and list some of the kumi kate or basic grips that you’ll use in Judo.

  • Sleeve & Collar Grips
  • Double Sleeve Grips
  • Double Sleeve Grips(Same Side)
  • Double Collar Grips
  • Double Collar Grips(Same Side)
  • Sleeve Grip & Head Control

Blocking & Breaking Grips

Not only do you have to know how to get grips, but also how to block and break them. Here is a list of different grip breaks that you will learn.

To prevent grips, you will practice parry blocks, where you practice swatting your opponent’s hands away.

  • Push & Pull:  Push opponent back by the collar as you pull your arm back to break their sleeve grip.
  • Roll Over/Under & Rip
  • Elbow Lift & Twist
  • C Grip Sleeve Break
  • Reverse C Grip

Here is a breakdown of some of the grip breaks in these two videos.

Basic Throws You Will Learn

After you spend your first classes learning fundamental Judo movements, you then move on to basic Judo throws. Here are 5 basic Judo throws listed below along with details for how to execute them.

Uchi gari

The uchi gari or inside trip is one of the easiest takedowns in Judo. It consists of three steps with a basic sleeve and high collar grip.

Start your set up with a cross front step, followed by a back step. Then hook your front foot behind your opponent’s foot and fall forward.

The force of your fall forward, along with your leg hook makes your opponent fall with ease.

O soto gari

The o soto gari is the sister trip of the uchi gari. Instead of an inside leg trip, the soto is an outside trip. You’re going to start with a basic collar and sleeve grip.

Use your grips to pull your opponent towards your sleeve grip to get them heavy on that leg. Next, step to that side with your mirror side foot, then take a big cross step to hook your opponent’s leg.

Hook your foot behind your opponent’s knee. Then to finish the trip, push your opponent with your collar grip as you do a back kick.

Koshi Guruma

A basic koshi guruma throw can come off a counter when your opponent has an underhook and sleeve grip. It’s a basic two step throw.

When your opponent has an underhook, you’re going to wrap their head and break their posture. At the same time, you’re grabbing your opponent’s sleeve at the elbow and lifting it up.

To go into the throw, you’re going to step in with your lead foot and do a cross step. These steps put you in position to load your opponent and take them over to complete the throw.

O goshi

The o goshi throw is the sister throw to the koshi guruma. This is where your opponent has an overhook, while you have an underhook.

Take your underhook arm and grab your opponent’s belt as you keep their arm to their hip. The steps for this throw are the exact same as the koshi.

Step in, cross step, load your opponent, and take them over to finish the throw.

Sasae tsuri komi ashi

This technique is a counter if your opponent has a strong overhook that will block the goshi throw. Instead, you’re going to go to the sasae.

Keep them the same grips as if you’re doing the goshi and do the initial entry step. But your second step is going to go right next to your opponent’s foot instead of between their legs.

Use your grips to lift your opponent  and kick out their leg with your foot to complete the technique.

Here is a visual for all 5 techniques for you to watch.

How Often Do I Need to Train to Learn Judo?

If you want to learn Judo in a quicker time, then you will have to train regularly. The minimum to achieve this is training at least three times a week. 

But if you can train more than three days a week, you’ll get Judo down at a faster rate.


Judo is a great martial art that is incredibly beneficial to learn. If you’re serious about learning Judo, then it will take you about a year to learn the basic concepts of the martial art. Be sure to commit, train hard, and you will learn Judo in no time.

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Let's Roll BJJ aims to be the leading source of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling information and news on the web. Dorian, the owner and editor of Let's Roll BJJ is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and has been training and competing for over 6 years. Apart from being a BJJ geek, Dorian is a software developer by trade, a husband, and a father of two wonderful kids who he's recently began teaching Jiu Jitsu. When he's not training, coding, or writing, you can find him hiking, camping or occasionally binging on video games.


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