United Judo Club Badge

Breaking down barriers: Judo

Breaking Barriers: Why Disability in Judo is Good for the Sport and Society

Judo, the Japanese martial art that emphasizes physical and mental development, is not limited to those without disabilities. In fact, the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the sport has opened up new avenues for growth, diversity, and unity. Here’s why disability in judo is a significant and positive development for both the sport and society but first a word from our British Adaptive Champion Kagan!

A comment from Kagan, our British Adaptive Champion (2023):

“I have found Judo has helped me not only physically but mentally as well, United Judo has guided me through any challenge I face over the years – I have grown a wonderful relationship that I wouldn’t ever change, they are always giving me exciting unforgettable memories, that I will always treasure. They have helped me to understand how to control my ADHD, they have shown me anything is possible however big the challenge may be.”

Inclusivity and Equality: Embracing disability in judo sends a powerful message of inclusivity and equality. It breaks down barriers and challenges preconceived notions about what individuals with disabilities can achieve. It reinforces the idea that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in sports and activities they are passionate about.

Empowerment and Self-Confidence: Judo provides individuals with disabilities a platform to develop their physical abilities, self-confidence, and a sense of empowerment. The sport encourages them to challenge themselves, overcome obstacles, and achieve personal goals, leading to improved self-esteem and resilience.

Adaptability and Creativity: Inclusive judo encourages adaptation and creativity in both coaching and technique. Coaches and practitioners need to find innovative ways to modify techniques and training methods to suit the needs and abilities of each individual. This not only enhances the sport’s flexibility but also promotes problem-solving and critical thinking.

Inclusion in Judo
VI Jack GBR in Judo

Role Models and Inspiration: Athletes with disabilities who excel in judo become role models and a source of inspiration for others facing similar challenges. They demonstrate that determination, hard work, and a passion for the sport can lead to success, regardless of one’s physical limitations.

Increased Awareness and Understanding: Inclusive judo fosters a greater awareness and understanding of the unique challenges and needs of individuals with disabilities. This increased awareness can lead to more accessible facilities and improved support systems for those with disabilities, not just in the sport but also in society at large.

Building a Supportive Community: The integration of individuals with disabilities into the judo community fosters a sense of unity and support. Judo practitioners often rally behind their fellow athletes, creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and encouraged to pursue their goals.

International Paralympic Success: Judo is an integral part of the Paralympic Games, where athletes with disabilities compete at the highest level. The success and popularity of Paralympic judo events have further emphasized the importance of inclusivity in the sport.

Enhanced Skill Development: Practicing judo alongside individuals with disabilities can lead to improved technical skills for all participants. The unique challenges presented by diverse training partners encourage judokas to develop a broader range of techniques and adapt their strategies, ultimately making them better fighters.

Inclusion within Judo in Croatia

A comment from Brayden Quinn our coach:

“I will never forget, when I was competing lots there was a competitor named Tom Mawdsley. Tom was and still is today one of the most decent individuals you will ever meet, kind, friendly and prepared to look out for you selflessly. Tom used to give me an absolutely cracking fight and was always one to look out for at the competition. Tom inspired me hugely in following your dreams as he went onto become a multi-European and World Champion. You don’t get much more determined and strong spirited than that!”

In conclusion, disability in judo is not just good; it’s great for the sport and society as a whole. It embodies the principles of inclusivity, empowerment, adaptability, and unity, enriching the sport’s diversity and promoting a more equitable and compassionate society. As we celebrate the progress made in making judo more accessible to all, we look forward to a future where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can experience the profound benefits of this remarkable martial art.


Judo is for everyone

Adaptive and Inclusive Judo sessions have been popping up and down the country and we couldn’t be happier to support this new avenue with the British Judo Association. United Judo also runs Adaptive and Inclusive sessions – be sure to get in contact today if this is something you would like to join in with. The class has been growing in popularity with families in the local area, we tailor our classes to the individuals and needs that they may have.