About The Club

The idea for Kookateki Judo Club came about while Jonathan was coaching fitness in the local schools.  He saw an opportunity to give people in the area a chance to participate in a fantastic sport which allows adults to become fit and children to burn off all their excess energy.

Competition is at all skill levels, from club to national tournaments to the Olympic Games. Who knows? There may be a future Olympian out there!

What Do You Need?

Once you’ve tried judo out for a few weeks, there are two essential items that every player needs.

The pyjamas

The traditional clothing worn in judo, known as the Judo Gi, is a heavy weave cotton suit, designed to endure the rigorous gripping and throwing of the sport. The club can purchase these at a discounted rate, so when you’re ready to buy one, just ask Wendy, and she’ll place an order for you.

We also welcome any Judo suits that children have grown out of and can no longer wear.  We would be happy to let someone else have use of them.

A licence to throw

All judo players should have a licence.  It allows you to grade, compete and covers you for insurance purposes.

The licence application form is available from the club and Kookateki coaches are only too happy to take the completed forms with the appropriate fee to the judo office in the House of Sport.

The Kookateki Coaches


Jonathan Cooke BEM 5th Dan

Senior Club Coach
I took up judo quite late in life at 21, having always had an interest in ...
Dan Kolo

Daniel Kolodziejczyk (Dan Kolo) 2nd Dan

Assistant Coach
I started judo because I felt lonely being away from my home country and wanted ...

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions which are not answered in this section, please feel free to send us an email and we will be happy to help.

  • What is the minimum age to start Judo?

    Children must be 5 years old to start Judo.  

  • Am I too old to start?

    Unlikely!  If you are healthy enough to take on a new activity and have the determination to learn new skills that are both mentally and physically challenging, your age is a non-factor.

  • Can girls/women do Judo?

    Absolutely!  Judo is a perfect sport where competitors of similar skill level can practice together, regardless of gender, and with equal opportunity for achievement to the highest level - Olympic and World medals.  Judo is also a practice that families can enjoy and grow in together. It fosters a respect and care that enriches any social group.

  • Can people with disabilities do Judo?

    There are world Judo World Championships for blind athletes, and Paralympic Judo.  Hearing impaired athletes have no problem competing in the same competitions as non-impaired athletes.  There are special rules and practice protocol for training with disabled athletes.  For instance, blind athletes require touch start, while a standard start is several paces apart.  In training, the instructor will always demonstrate techniques using a blind student as his/her partner, letting the rest of the class learn by watching.

  • Do I need to join the national organisation?

    Yes.  A new student can only participate for a few weeks before they need to buy a Judo licence. This is a condition of the participant and the club’s insurance policy.  Judo licences can be obtained from the Northern Ireland Judo Federation. Jonathan will go to the judo office in the House of Sport and arrange this for you. 

  • Am I required to enter competitions?

    No.  Competitions are a great way to expand and improve in Judo in ways not achievable in practice alone.  For that reason students are encouraged but not required to participate in the local competitions.  All students will follow the Technical Grading system regardless of any competitions they wish to enter.

  • Do I need any experience to try it?

    No.  New students to Judo need only commit to trying their best.  Judo is appropriate and safe for participants of all ages, regardless of gender or fitness level.  It is not uncommon for a “new” student to Judo to be well past the age of 40, or even 50.  As with any sport, participants are encouraged to learn and improve at their own pace.

  • Do I need to wear a special uniform to do Judo? 

    All you need to wear is loose fitting clothing, for example, a long sleeve tracksuit is ideal.   After a few weeks, a specialised uniform (“judogi”) is worn by all participants in the sport.  A judogi consists of jacket and pants, in either white or blue, made of very heavy cotton fabric.  The purpose of the uniform is to provide maximum comfort and flexibility with enough strength to allow the techniques of Judo, which include gripping and pulling on various part of the judogi. These can be purchased from the club. 

  • Do I have to be in great shape to start?

    No.  You need not be in good shape, but by practicing Judo on a regular basis, you will get into good shape.  Students are expected to work in practice up to their own ability and fitness level.  Instructors are experienced at leading classes with students of varying levels of ability and conditioning.  More advanced students and those training for competition will be pushed harder to reach their potential. Judo is a full-body workout.  Regardless of your current starting strength, stamina, or general fitness level, practicing Judo on a regular basis will get you into shape.   Normal practice starts with stretching & warm-up, followed by technical instruction and practice drills, may continue with matched sparring, and ends with stretching and warm-down.  A Judo workout is a strenuous combination of cardio-vascular, strength (mostly core strength), balance, agility, and coordination.

  • How is Judo different from other martial arts?

    Judo was derived from Ju-Jitsu in the 1880’s by removing the striking (punching, kicking), and dangerous joint-lock techniques.  The word Judo in Japanese means, “the gentle way.”  Judo is both a sport and a formidable system of self defence.  Even as a “gentler” form of martial art, the foundational principles of Judo (balance, efficiency of motion, utilising an opponent’s weight/strength/momentum against them, technique over strength, etc) have proven highly effective while at the same time minimizing the potential for injury.  For example, police forces throughout the world require judo training for their officers, due to its effectiveness in subduing an opponent without hurting them.  Another example is the success of Judo competitors in the recently popular Mixed Martial Art competitions – the top Judo competitors tend to routinely win in head-to-head bouts with top athletes from other martial arts.  Judo was the first martial art to be introduced as an Olympic sport, and remains the most widely practiced martial art.