Is Judo Good For Self-Defense?

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Judo is one of the most flashy martial arts you can learn but whether it’s effective for defending yourself is up for debate.

Judo is good for self-defense because throws, joint locks, and arm grabs are taught in it. Judo’s style is close-quarter combat that keeps you away from kicks and punches from a distance. You can also mix Judo moves with dirty Boxing to be more effective.

Are you planning to learn Judo for self-defense? Below you’ll know more about its effectiveness in detail. Let’s jump in.

Reasons why Judo is good for self-defense

Judo throws, joint locks, arm grabs, and its close-quarter combat fighting style makes Judo good for self-defense.

Throw your opponent off-balance

Judo martial artist throwing a person off balance with a Judo throw

Throwing your opponent to the ground is always an advantage during a street fight. Judo throws are effective moves when you get a hold of your enemy. 

Being able to convert a successful throw will remove your opponent’s ability to kick and throw a proper punch. 

After throwing your enemy, you can follow up by spinning them with your body to immobilize them.

One wise thing to do is to run away from the fight after slamming them to the ground.

Because you can knock someone off their feet, Judo is great for short guys as it gives them the advantage of taking out a taller or bigger person.

Close-quarter combat fighting style

Judo relies mainly on closing the distance to perform arm grabs and throws. This style keeps Judo specialists away from kicks and punches. 

As we all know, if you don’t have space to wind up your kicks and punches, you won’t be able to generate as much power. 

Fighting up close is also a good opening for you to perform a Judo hip throw. You can also mix up some dirty Boxing uppercuts if you want to maximize the position.

Close-quarter combat has its cons too. While being close to your enemy, be aware of their hands. They could have concealed weapons.

Immobilize with joint locks

Judo practitioner performing an arm joint lock on his opponent

Join locks are an excellent way to immobilize an aggressive opponent. Once you close the distance, you can actually do a joint lock by twisting the wrist or forearm of your opponent to the back.

Be careful, though, because you’re leaving your face wide open for a crispy counter when doing a standing joint lock.

If you have great flexibility, then you’ll be much more slippery and effective in resisting Judo locks. You can try practicing Yoga poses for Judo that will help increase your abilities tenfold.

An excellent way to do a joint lock is to throw your opponent to the ground and pin them. After that, you can work through a lock without risking being countered. 

In doing this, just pray that you’re not fighting a Jiu-Jitsu black belt.

Control the opponent’s arms

Arm grabbing is an excellent move to control your opponent in a fight. It can open up a lot of counter shots and throw openings if done correctly. You can also out-balance your opponent with this.

You need timing and precision when you attempt an arm grab. The best time to shoot your shot is when your opponent is winding up for a punch.

Quickly grab their hand on the opposite side as they are about to throw a punch. For example, grab to the left if they’re winding up for a right to mess up the punch’s momentum.

Upon doing it, take the chance to close the distance and perform a throw. 

Is Judo effective in street fight?

Woman using a Judo throw for self defense

Judo is effective if you’re fighting a guy who depends on their kicks and punches. But if you’re against a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, your Judo skills won’t be so effective.

If you’re fighting a guy who wants to square up using strikes, you can quickly close the distance and throw them to the ground. 

A nape-first throw might knock them unconscious, making your work easier. If not, proceed to perform a joint lock, and your opponent will look like a paralyzed 80-year-old retired man. 

Judo throws, and arm drags also open up many opportunities for you to run away from danger. 

A black belt in Judo will be very comfortable in street fights because they know they can take an attacker off their feet anytime.

But I think that BJJ often beats Judo in a self-defense situation, simply because of the large mix of submissions and chokes available.

Which is better for self-defense Judo or Karate?

In a real-life fight, Judo vs. Karate can go either way. If the Judo guy closes the distance, then he’ll most likely win the fight. But if the Taekwondo fighter did a great job creating space, there’s a low chance for Judo to win.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Kenpo Karate or Shotokan. Karate is known to have an elusive and explosive fighting style, making it hard for a Judo practitioner to get close.

While closing the distance, the Judo fighter enters a danger zone where he can get hit by multiple quick punches, turning back kicks and neck-shattering Karate chops in a split second. 

If the Judo fighter’s lucky enough to pass that, he can now perform a throw and joint locks. This will immobilize the legs and arms of the Karate fighter, making him defenseless. 

This same strategy can work well against Muay Thai for a Judoka.

The Karate fighter can still defend during the clinch because some Karate styles also teach various throws. So it’s a matter of who’s gonna execute the throw first.

Is Judo or Taekwondo better for self-defense?

Judo has more chance of winning in a fight against a Taekwondo specialist. Taekwondo doesn’t have any skills in throwing, so once you get a good hold of them, they’re done for. 

But just like in Karate, Taekwondo will give you a hard time closing the distance because they’re good at throwing fast kicks in high volume. 

If your guard is open while pressing forward, you might find your head flying from kicks you can’t even see.

If you successfully pass through the kicks, consider yourself the winner of the fight. A Taekwondo fighter on the ground won’t have the ability to throw fast kicks. 

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