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Judo Class Management Tools

Tools For Managing You Judo Class

It a lot of experience to gather my Judo class management tools. 

I have been fortunate to have a lot of experience in working with people and have had a lot of good mentors over the years. I never thought anything of it until one day I was asked by another younger instructor to teach him what I knew about class management. So after spending a lot of time writing down what I knew for this young instructor, I thought that maybe there are others out there that may want to hear it too. And let's be honest, parents of potential students these days are also wanting to know "How I am Managing Student Behavior In Class". Most of this, if not all, will be obvious to an experienced instructor. But who knows I may have an idea or two worth stealing. You can be certain I will make use of the good ideas of others when I see them, so I should expect nothing else from other good instructors.

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Vary your voice

I Save YELLING for dangerous or urgent or last resort type situations

Whispering: I do this as soon as I gather the children together because if you wait they will start to get their own conversations going and they won't hear you.

Alternatively, I whisper an instruction to one student at a time

As a lifeguard at the local swimming pool, I have become very adept at directing people with my eyes, a nod of my head or a motion of my hand. This comes in very handy at judo. The students have to be confident that you will follow this up with something stronger if they don’t comply, however.

The Power Of Shhhhh!

You will often hear people calling shhhhh! in a very aggressive way and it usually does not work. But I have found it to be a very effective tool in settling down students; and not just children.

If I don't do it aggressively and start as loud as I can and work my way down to as low as I can. I continue to Shhhhh until I run out of breath or until it has had the desired effect. If it has not been completely effective I start the shhhh again but only slightly louder than where I finished. So far, I can't think of an instance where it hasn't worked to settle everybody down.

I have had one instance where it was working a little too successfully and the person I was helping resented my effectiveness (and possibly the apparent “childishness” of it all) and they told me to stop. Unfortunately, the act of stopping me resulted in them almost losing control and they had to work very hard to regain it.

Despite the above event, the power of Shhhh has proved itself almost every time I have used it. Though I would not use it all the time, in case it loses its power.

Calling The Student By Name

I think you will have gained the idea that I am a big believer in getting people's attention first in order to maintain discipline. One of the best ways I know to get attention is to speak to a student by name.

Now obviously you can do this when a class is working away and you are giving individual attention to each student. That is something that all coaches and teachers should be doing during class, but I don't mean that.

I'm talking about when a class has started to become unruly and is fracturing.

It is very labour intensive and I would never do it if I had to direct a group that has become unsafe but if I have the time and it is safe to do so because the unruliness and fracturing are just beginning, it is not unusual for me to go around and speak to each individual student quickly and quietly to get their attention and gather them together or set them on a task to order.

It can be very hard work and takes a bit of practice but it beats the living daylights out of yelling.

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Counting Down Improves Reaction Time

I'm sure that you have heard about the idea of counting to ten to cool off before you overreact and this is something that I highly recommend when you are about to explode. But there are other ways to use a countdown that help to bring a class together.

When I want students to come together for an activity I will start at 5 and count down to 1. There is never any consequence for being late but they still respond. Mind you I spent a lot of time training them. Whenever I have a game I will count down to encourage them to the starting point quickly and then start the game the instant I get to 1 whether they are ready or not. If the game is too chaotic as a result of this I tell them I am restarting the game and then restart the game, interrupting play with a countdown from 5 to 1. I keep doing this until they get to the start quick enough and then I let the game run through.

The process takes a few games for the students to get the picture but once they get it I can use it again and again on all sorts of activities; not just games.


This is kind of a step up for dead fish or statues above. This one has even more science than the others. If you breathe in the correct way there is a nerve running down your neck that is stimulated. If the class is getting out of hand I sometimes call everybody to breathe. They instantly know what I mean because I have taught them.

The effect is sometimes mind-blowing. There is an instant calm that runs through the air and over the whole class.

The method is simple:

Perch your mouth as though you were going to whistle but DON'T whistle and then squeeze it a little tighter. Now breathe through your mouth, in and out very slowly. Big deep breaths. Keep this up until calm is restored and then return to your lesson.

The same can be done by breathing in through your nose very slowly and out through your mouth as above. It's not quite as effective but if someone has a blocked nose it still works and is very meditative.

Tell Stories To Make A Point Or Teach A Lesson

If you have to have them sit to pass on information, telling stories is a phenomenal communication method and the kids take the information on board very easily. To the point now that it is not unusual to have parents come to me after class and ask me to deal with a particular topic in my stories or meditation time.

Just be careful if you love to talk or tell stories because the kids will figure that out and use it to get you talking and telling your stories rather than working. Mind you I can't help but find that often more endearing than misbehaving but you do have to be careful of it. I have made it a practice to get one of my co-instructor to say “Not Judo” when I get too sidetracked.

There are more ideas in "How I am Managing Student Behavior In Class" It's free to download so you may want to check them out.

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