Judo Teaching vs. Judo Coaching

Judo teaching has multiple goals defined by Dr. Kano in the process of creating Kodokan Judo on the base of traditional Japanese jujutsu. It’s a set of physical and moral targets. When importance of moral and philosophical aspects of Judo study should not be underestimated, I’m not qualified to discuss it as I don’t have first hand knowledge nor a sufficient study of Japanese culture of late 19th – early 20th century that created ultimate social environment for Dr. Kano’s work. When Judo transferred from Japanese-only to international sport discipline and martial art, this transformation covered primarily the physical aspects of the art leaving its philosophical aspects to remain as a part of traditional and modern Japanese culture.  

This is nothing unique to Judo: as, and if, any philosophical study moves out of its original environment it’s changing its meaning and takes life of its own in a form that may never been originally intended or even anticipated.

On the other hand the study of the physical aspects of Judo as sport discipline and martial art has very well defined set of goals. And those goals can be divided to two groups:

  • Study of the technique of Judo as a complete discipline in all its complexity
  • Training student to apply effectively Judo technique in sport, combat, and self-defense

The first group – is the Judo teaching. As the result of those study student expects to know the full range of Judo technique, its classification, applicability to different combat scenarios, and been able to provide basic instructions to anyone without regard to differences in physical skills (as featherweight should be able to instruct heavyweight and other way around).

The second group – is the Judo coaching. In coaching your only goal is to make your student to be able to perform technique in variety of situations, but not necessary to know to explain it, nor to know full range of Judo technical arsenal as it may not be relevant to his particular physical skills.

Teaching knowledge is a very common qualification requirement for attaining black-belt level. More then this – traditionally from Dr. Kano times rank from 5th dan up are more teaching skills based than actual combat power. This is “double-edge sword” as in common presumption the higher rank should be a better fighter. This presumption cause problem when Judo was introduced in the United States in early 20th century as Mitsuyo Maeda was “rescuing” Tsunejiro Tomita who had higher ranking, but lower fighting capacity.

Coaching, on the other hand, is a much less martial art concept, but general sport practice. The good (and fanny) way to get sense what is coaching in Martial Arts is to watch “Kung-Fu Panda” animation from DreamWorks – this trailer has some short parts of it (sometimes good stuff comes in strange packages).



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