Judo is a full contact sport. It's really hard to teach judo when contact is not allowed. But it's not impossible. I always say, "If there's a will, there's a way".

HIIT, Calisthenics, Plyometrics, etc... all that can be done rather easily while maintaining social distancing. But judo techniques are harder to drill and practice when you're not allowed to grip a partner.

We've utilitized four types of tools to overcome that:
a) cones
b) sticks
c) belts
d) air

We use cones to represent uke's feet. Then we get tori to do footwork for various techniques. Mainly ashiwaza techniques but others as well.

Sticks are very useful for helping players visualize the leg they are supposed to attack. Again, most of the drills are for ashiwaza (though not exclusively so).

We use belts mainly for pulling drills where uke holds up the belt and tori holds both ends and pulls. Recently, we also used belts for ashiwaza timing drills where we have both players hold on to belts and move together in sync to do ashiwaza (see video above for examples).

You've all heard of air guitar. That's when you play an imaginary guitar. Well, we also do air nagekomi where you throw an imaginary partner. The interesting twist is we have a partner standing about two metres away acting out the throw and take a breakfall. This way, you are practicing several things at once. Tori is practicing the who movement of the throw while uke is practicing timing and ukemi.


Until recently, we only did tachi-waza solo drills. We didn't try newaza. I figured it'd be too hard to do newaza solo. But then, the CMCO (lockdown) got extended and it looks like it might get extended further once this round is over. Who knows how long we will have to do socially-distanced judo.

So, I decided we need to start doing newaza as well. The simplest is osaekomi so we've started with that. I asked the players to bring a pillow to fill out their judogi jackets. And, with that, we have a simple dummy that they can use for hold-down drills.

I believe it's possible to do other newaza drills using the jacket with pillows as well as air drills. This, we will explore in the coming weeks.


Training under such circumstances is not easy at all but at least we get to train. I know people who live in countries where they cannot even do sociall-distanced training and can only do online sessions.

It's going to be a tough time for judokas everywhere for the next year or so. But as one of my judo friends said, if it's a choice between socially distanced judo or nothing at all, he'd take sociall-distanced judo any day of the week. It's how I feel too.