We had a bunch of beginners join us once the lock-down was removed. For the past few months, we've been working really hard to teach them the basics. Now, most of them have the basics down and are in fact, rather advanced in their technical abilities, relative to the amount of time they've been doing judo.

In 2022, we have to change gears and focus more on helping them develop their tokui-waza rather than learn more and more new techniques. We will, course, continue to work on new techniques but the pace will be much slower as more time will be devoted to mastering their favorite techniques.

Here are the Top 10 tips for improving your judo in 2022:

1. Don't miss training. Enough said.

2. Get as much randori as possible. It is through randori that you develop practical judo skills. During uchikomi and nagekomi, your partner is not resisting and not trying to counter you. Randori is the real thing. You have to try to throw someone who is resisting you with all their might. Don't take your own sweet time to get up off the ground after a throw. Don't take forever to tie your belt after it comes loose. Get in as much randori time as you can. The more randori you do, the better you become at judo.

3. Work on your grips. Decide what kind of grip you want to adopt, and based on that, develop your techniques. Ideally, all your techniques should be done off the same grip so that uke doesn't know what you are going to do.  

4. Hone in on a few throws. Nobody has 10 tokui-waza. If you have three tokui-waza, that's a lot already. Start with one or two major techniques. Also identify one or two complementary (smaller) techniques that go well with your major ones. Decide what you want to specialize in and work those techniques to death.

5. Develop your newaza skills. Some players prefer tachi-waza, which is understandable. After all judo is a throwig sport. But understand that it is easier to develop newaza compared to tachi-waza. So if you're a beginner who isn't able to throw anybody (and this will be the case for a while), you'd do well to specialize in newaza. Not only will newaza help get you some early victories, it will also give you more confidence to do tachi-waza beause you know won't get caught so easily on the ground.  

6. Think about combinations. Don't always rely on single attacks. Have some moves that involve the action-reaction principle, where you attack uke in one direction and when they react to that, you take them in the other direction.  

7. Use defeat as motivation. If you are defeated in shiai or have difficulty overcoming a training partner in randori, use that frustration as motivation to improve your judo.

8. Watch the livestream. We provide multi-camera livestreams not just for people to watch our sessions from home but also so that the players who are training in the dojo can later watch themselves in action, and analyze what they did right and what they did wrong.

9. Ask questions.
If you are unsure about something or would like to know more about something, ask. Don't just keep quiet. The more questions you ask, the smarter you become about judo.

10. Develop the fighting spirit of judo. Fighting spirit can mean many things, not just persevering til the final buzzer rings. It can also mean having the willpower and determination to overcome setbacks. It means giving it your all when training and fighting. It means getting up even when you feel you can't go on anymore. It means being there for your training partners whenever they need you. It means being disciplined, hardworking and tenacious. It also means being kind, respectful and supportive to others, and generally being a good person. The fighting spirit of judo means all these things and more. Ultimately, it doesn't just make you a good judoka, it helps you to become the best version of yourself.