Blind Judoka: A Guide To Visually Impared Judo

There are a lot of blind Judoka(student).

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More than you may know. I may be wrong but I believe that Judo was one of the first if not the first, Martial Arts to develop a full set of rules for them (video below).

It's not a surprise that so many of the blind are attracted to Judo for both self defense and as a sport because it lends itself readily to that condition.

When I first started out learning I remember being so frequently told "Don't look at your feet" that it is now etched into my brain; just don't tell anybody that I still sneak a look. Throws are always much better executed if you feel you way into them and they take much less time that way.

Even today one of the all time favorite activities of every one of my students, is blind Randori, where every player wears a blindfold; especially Ne wasa (ground work). And we were doing this long before it became popular to have Martial Arts movies about special training so that you can win in the dark; though not before Spiderman.

All Jokes aside, every Judoka, not just blind ones need to develop a sense of spacial awareness and a feel for what is going on around them, for practice and contest, let alone self defense.

What are The Guidelines for Blind Judoka

Even with the popularity of blind practice, I willing to bet however that most don't know what the rules are for blind judoka competing. It's not complicated as there are only a few changes but they are important variations.


There are of course varying degrees of blindness but as long as the player is classified as legally blind these guidelines apply.

Watch the video an learn all about them. In fact why not practice them in your Randori. Between you and me I think that all of Judo could benefit from practicing judo this way; at least sometimes. Blind judoka have a lot to teach us.

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