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Selecting a great Judo instructor

Selecting a great judo teacher

“when you are ready to learn, a teacher will appear.”

When seeking out an instructor, you need to do your due diligence and weigh out the various factors that make a great mentor. Here are some categories I believe the teacher needs to excel in in order to be a great leader of the dojo. Of course this isn’t perfect and subject to many a criticism… In my defense, I am writing this during a 45 minute break while my first graders sing and dance in a push-in music class.


Here is a chart so you can visualize it, followed by a written description and some questions you should be asking yourself about your mentor.

Judo instructor quality chart


1. Competition record
a. Are they a competitor?
b. How far did they go? How far can they take you?
2. Pedagogy
a. Do they know how to differentiate instruction for your skill and style?
b. Are their methodologies current, relevant and on point?
c. Are they innovative with their drills?
d. Can they connect with the students?
3. Education
a. Are they an academic?
b. Are they educated? Martial arts is about education after all…
4. Real World success
a. Are they successful in other areas of their lives?
b. Do they live their life by the moral code they preach?
c. Can they be role models for you off the mat as well?
5. Fitness level
a. Are they in shape?

I put together a chart here for your reference. Of course every instructor will be different. I hope when you seek out your teacher you try to put together a chart like this one so you can make an informed decision. If you are already involved at a dojo somewhere, how does your sensei measure up on this chart? I would hope they rank high. That’s what being a black belt is all about.

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