What to Pack for a Judo Competition

Photo by Johnson Barros on Wikimedia Commons

Many judokas are happy with the exercise and camaraderie that comes from regular training and randori. Not for them the stress of putting themselves through competitions. There is nothing wrong with this - judo is a broad church and all are welcome.

Even if you do plan to compete, it is easy in judo to think that you are not ready to yet - maybe next year you'll be fit enough or after the next grading but one you'll have a go. In reality there will never be a time that feels like the perfect moment to start because - frankly - competing is very stressful, much more so than randori. There is also the question of weight - no one cares if you are carrying a few extra pounds at your club, but at a competition it can mean fighting much bigger and stronger players. However, when you eventually make a start and if you go to a few events, you will find that your judo will start to evolve at a dramatic rate. This happens for a few reasons:

  • Nothing focuses the mind like an upcoming event. You will find yourself making time for extra fitness/weights sessions as the day gets closer and you will be motivated to go to every class and every randori that your club offers. And when you are there, rather than trying a range of more or less effective techniques, you will want to focus on the strongest throws and groundwork in your repertoire, so they get even better.
  • Instead of fighting the same players week-in week-out, who present the same challenge, you will be facing the unknown. You will probably get caught more easily in competition, but the other side is that your techniques will be more effective on your opponent as they don't know you.
  • The intensity in competition is so much greater than in randori, as a tiny mistake can mean the difference between a successful day (and a medal), and going home early. You are likely to take this intensity back to your club and become a much tougher opponent all round.
  • In fact, your first few comps may be disappointing - initially the overall anxiety of competition may get in the way and stop you focusing on the matter at hand. But after this passes, you will be able to shut out the noise and focus on your own game. Instead of being a blur, fights will slow down and you'll start being able to analyse your opponent and adapt your game. You will also start to get a sense of the right level of competition for you, so that you can avoid events that are going to be too hard, so that you stand a chance of coming home with a medal.

On a practical note - make sure that your gi fits correctly, in particular the sleeves need to be long enough. If you have had your gi a while it will probably have shrunk, and while it might be fine for randori, it may not meet the competition requirements - check your national organisation for details.

One part of dealing with the stress is being well-prepared. On the day of the competition, you have enough to think about, without worrying if you have packed your snack for between fights. Use our judo competition packing list to make sure you have all the essentials. Our lists have checkboxes for using online, or you can download and print a copy.

Packing for Judo competition - Download the list

The Packing List

To compete in