Following the publication of Sport England’s FAQs yesterday, we are delighted that all current restrictions on our sport are set to expire on Monday 19th July!

This will allow members aged 18+ to return to their dojos and participate in contact judo sessions with no restrictions on numbers.

While this is excellent news for our sport, the danger of Covid is still prevalent in our communities. With rising numbers across the country, we would like to express caution when returning to the sport – we are sure that everyone can’t wait to feel the tatami under their feet once again!

Here is a brief overview of the Government’s recent announcement:

  • Full contact judo allowed for adults and under 18’s.
  • No legal restrictions indoors or outdoors for participants or spectator numbers
  • No capacity caps for club sessions or events
  • No travel restrictions
  • Facemasks no longer legal requirements, however, consider face masks in confined space
  • QR Codes no longer legally require, however, clubs/event organisers are still encouraged to display and use these as it supports test & trace and self-isolation which remains. From 16 August 21, people who are double vaccinated  will not be required to self-isolate
  • Individuals who decide to attend international competition need to follow government guidelines for travel abroad

To aid a safe return for all members, we devised a short list of recommendations for clubs and members alike:

British Judo clubs and event organisers are recommended to ensure participant, volunteer and spectator safety as follows:

  • A risk assessment must be conducted to inform health and safety requirements and ensure a safe venue capacity
  • Ensure signage is clear if clubs would like to create a safe distance between people and direct traffic flow
  • Continue with health & safety cleaning regimes and ensure hand washing/ hand sanitising facilities are available
  • Consider face masks, if space is confined in crowded venues
  • Minimise unnecessary contact (e.g. handshaking etc.) and sharing of water bottles
  • Recognise that people/carers with underlying health conditions or disabilities may be anxious about returning to judo activity and their needs should be catered for sensitively
  • Ensure anyone entering competition or National Dan Gradings have participated in judo training for a minimum of 6 weeks (or 10 hours) and fit enough to compete
  • Respect any guidelines that clubs would like to adhere to upon returning to the Dojo.
  • Clubs must complete the BJA ‘Club Declaration Form’ before commencing session delivery for Junior and Seniors.

Please note: These are British Judo recommendations and not a legal requirement

If you are planning a return to judo on Monday 19th July, we would like to remind you to ensure that your membership is valid and renewed where necessary to ensure you are insured during any training session.

We would like to thank you for your patience over what has been a very difficult past 18 months for all members, clubs and the Association.

Click on each image below to view as a PDF file.

National Dan Gradings 2021

After a year without Dan gradings, the BJA will be holding a series of special Dan gradings across the UK for 12 months, following full return to judo, to help players “catch up”. These gradings will allow players, wherever possible, a minimum of FIVE contests, as well as standard line-up opportunities. They will also focus in particular on certain groups who have often struggled for contests, namely:

  1. Women (all grades 1st Kyu and above and all ages)
  2. Men higher Dan grades (1st dan and above)
  3. Veteran men.

These gradings will be by entry in advance and will be held at high quality venues with full contest areas and safety areas ideally on sprung floors.

Additional method of gaining points (next 12 months only)

Players who currently have 70 points or more, may immediately claim up to another 30 points to achieve the 100 required by:-

  • 10 points for holding or completing any current BJA coaching award
  • 10 points for holding or completing any current Technical official/referees award
  • 10 points for any BJA Kata certificate at any level
  • 10 points discretionary award by Promotions Commission for significant contribution such as producing on-line content, judo videos etc.

Points for all of these can be added by email application to Dave Horton-Jones at

We can also award points for wins against foreign grades and reduced points for wins against a lower dan grade (minimum grade 1 dan). Additionally, on a case by case basis, players can claim points that in earlier circumstances they were unable to gain, for example from significant international events. These will be judged on a case-by-case basis. Applications, with details and supporting evidence, should be emailed to Dave Horton-Jones as above.

Competitive Skills Assessment and Technical Dan Gradings

Players who need to complete their competitive skills assessment (sometimes known as theory) may until normality resumes, demonstrate their techniques on anyone that published restrictions allow, such as with a household member and where it is not possible or safe to complete the action they may take the techniques to the point of Kake (final application of force). The manner of the assessment must be agreed with by the Senior Examiner prior to the exam and as well as in dojo, can be carried out via any electronic media such as zoom, facetime or DVD.

The same arrangements can be made for players on the Technical Dan Grade path.

How Has British Judo Helped During Lockdown?

It has been a long seven months for the sport of judo. Since the coronavirus pandemic caused widescale lockdown back in March, we have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our sport together.

It goes without saying that we are dealing in unprecedented times and we can only thank our members for their amazing support throughout this year. Our members health is, and always will be, our number one priority.

We are trying to support our members in the best way that we can during these times. With our current renewal rate of 10% across the past six months, there have been a lot of changes that we have had to contend with during this difficult time, but here is a summary of the initiatives that we have introduced to help keep our members engaged:

  • Free Grading: We offered all members the opportunity to grade at home or in their clubs free of charge so that their progression within the sport is not halted. We saw some great examples of clubs utilising this opportunity to great effect with their club members.
  • Membership Extension: All members and clubs who kept their membership in-date throughout the lockdown period have received an extension of between 1-4 months. All members that received an extension to their membership will be able to log into their Dojo profile to see their new expiry date. You will not receive a new membership card to reflect this change in date.

  • Covid-19 Information Hub: Our Marketing and Communications team created a Covid-19 Information Hub which has seen plaudits from the likes of Sport England and Sport & Recreation Alliance as a great example of having a centralised location for all Covid-related communications and advice.
  • Closure of Destination@BritishJudo Programme: The Destination@BritishJudo programme was unfortunately closed in September due to Covid-related effects. Financially the programme didn’t prove viable enough to continue and we made the tough decision to close the initiative and signpost all students to their local judo clubs.
  • Athlete Masterclass Competitions – We have run several athlete masterclass competitions which have seen over 600 entries across the four masterclasses which is fantastic! Special thanks go out to the likes of Stewart McWatt, Eric Ham and Wayne Lakin for hosting the classes.
  • Diversity Group Launch – We have recently recruited a number of members to form our very first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group. Led by Board Member Claire Lish, the group will seek to further develop strategy on equality, diversity and inclusion, focusing on gender, ethnicity, economic background, disability and sexuality, and aims to engage with members, athletes, clubs and areas. We thank all of the members who took the time to apply.
  • Club Engagement – Since the start of the lockdown period, our Development Officers have made over 800 phone calls to British Judo clubs to provide support and guidance throughout the past six months.

  • Online webinars – We have tried to converse with as many different stakeholder groups as possible through our online webinars. Over 600 members accessed our online sessions live with members unable to attend being able to access the recordings on our “Covid-19 Information Hub”.

  • Club Grant Scheme – We recently launched our Club Grant Scheme, supported by Sport England, designed for all registered clubs within the BJA’s English Areas. Each club can apply for a one-off grant award of up to £500.00. The grant will be available to support revenue funded activities such as coaching and member costs, also running costs.
  • Membership Pack – We have revamped our membership offer to include a free British Judo drawstring bag for both new and renewing members along with an informative booklet detailing how to get the best value from your membership as well as your standard British Judo membership card. Record books will also be included for new members.

  • The Final Block Podcast” – We launched British Judo’s first official podcast series of six episodes, each covering a different judo subject each week. The podcast recently received it’s 500th listener so we thank all of the members who have taken the time to listen to series one, with a number of exciting episodes planned for the follow up series.
  • Matside Magazine – We have released the entire back catalogue of Matside magazines available to download by members, regardless of when you joined the Association as a member.

  • “Judo Heroes” campaign – We ran a successful campaign celebrating the incredible work of our members throughout the Covid-19 crisis. A total of 16 Heroes were named by the British Judo community throughout the four-week campaign.
  • Member Mental Health & Wellbeing – Following a number of sad losses to the British Judo community, we have worked to put together a Mental Health & Wellbeing section on our website for anyone struggling during the pandemic. It is a working page that will be updated frequently with new resources and materials.
  • Safeguarding – We have revamped the Safeguarding section on our website with a cleaner, fresher look with resources easier to find along with an updated version of SafeLandings, British Judo’s document that outlines child protection policies and procedures for the Association and all of it’s home nations: JudoScotland, Northern Ireland Judo Federation and Welsh Judo.

A lot of countries are experiencing the pandemic at different paces and as such, you will have seen some European countries returning to contact and competition judo. The virus is once again on the rise in this country so the Government are currently holding firm on their stance regarding the return of combat sports. Please be patient with us on this matter. We are in weekly communication with both the DCMS and the Government Offices as we try to relax some of the restrictions that we currently find ourselves with. We are hoping that at some point we can receive a thumbs up for Under 12s (similar to Scotland) to return to full judo which will go some way to helping us kick start the sport once again.

In the meantime, please keep adhering to Government advice regarding social distancing and as soon as we receive further guidance from the DCMS, we will ensure that our members will be the first to find out! As always, we are here to help so should you have any concerns at any point, we are only at the end of a phone call or email! Stay strong!