How many techniques should I learn in a Judo training class?

It’s a common desire of all students, who are just starting Judo training, to learn as many techniques as possible as quick as possible. When I can accept this on a human level, it’s important to understand that learning is a very complicated process and number of techniques that studied in parallel should be limited and defined to advance the learning process in whole instead of satisfying immediate curiosity.

Long time experience of practicing Judo instructors of different styles shows that optimal number of new techniques given in one lesson should be no more then three if session covers both, standing and ground fighting, and no more then two if it’s only standing or only ground fighting techniques. Anything above this limit would be a wasting of training time as none of the shown techniques would be learned by students.

In fact approach of showing cascade of multiple techniques at times used by well qualified masters who don’t intend to teach them, but want to create firm impression of high personal qualification among observers. This can be done for multiple reasons (both, good and bad) in diverse situations, but one, I would like to address, is seminar presentations.

Seminars, at lease in part, are advertising sessions by visiting master. Anyway, you can’t really expect to learn something really new in one-time session without next-day repetition and error-fixing. However, this should not be expected. Well organized seminar is a way for equally qualified masters to get know each other, to exchange ideas, to create contacts and foundation for future cooperation. If not-yet-qualified students allowed attending such seminars, their instructor should prepare them by explaining the goals of seminar and its limitations. Otherwise it can do more harm then good.

Total number of techniques that learn in three month Judo training session should be less then number of training days multiplied by two or by three, as it will be days with no new technique presented at all as time needed for repetition, error correction, randori training, etc. So, in 12 weeks training session where you have 36 classes, I would expect about 20 techniques be presented comfortably. Compare to formal number of Judo techniques this looks small, but with correct individual selection it will arm each student with very diverse and effective arsenal.

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