Sensei Javier Garriga
Chief Instructor

Contact Us

E-mail or give us a call!
(Please arrive at least 15 minutes early on your first visit to allow adequate time for your paperwork.)


12636 Briar Forest
          Houston, TX 77077

(713) 835-6148

(832) 363-7278



Whats the difference between judo and BJJ?

  • A lot of people ask this question, and it’s a good question.  There are a lot of differences, but there are also a lot of similarities.  Judo has a ground game (ne waza) AND a standing game (nage waza).  Brazilian Jujitsu techniques were developed from judo’s ground game (ne waza) and that’s why they look so similar.  The key difference is that BJJ students spend most of their time focusing on ground techniques, whereas judo students spend most of their time focusing on the standing techniques.  You can learn both standing and ground techniques from either discipline, but judo definitely puts more emphasis on throwing techniques and BJJ definitely puts more emphasis on ground techniques.  Neither is “better” than the other.  It’s just a matter of preference.  When you see a judoka and a BJJ player at similar skill levels doing groundwork together, you won’t be able to tell much of a difference.

Where did judo come from?

  • Judo was founded in 1882 by a Japanese man named Jigoro Kano.  When Kano was a young adult, he studied Japanese jujitsu - which are Samurai fighting techniques- because he was bullied growing up.  Kano became a master at these techniques.  Years later, he picked his favorite techniques and adjusted them so that they could be used as a sport as well as a martial art.  He wanted his martial art to be more than a fighting style.  He wanted it to be a way of life.  

What is judo?

  • Judo is first and foremost a martial art.  But it’s also a sport and a way of life.   To put it simply, judo involves a lot of throws, pins, and submission techniques.  The techniques of judo were used by Samurai Warriors in feudal Japan.  Judo techniques are very efficient and are good for real-world self-defense.  Judo requires quick reflexes, a calm mind, and a strong spirit.  There are a lot of physics at work.  Fulcrums, balance, leverage, angles, momentum, inertia, et cetera. That’s one of the reasons judo attracts a lot of engineers and analytical thinkers.  But judo also attracts gifted athletes, and others who are only interested in the zen aspect of judo.  Judo really does have something to offer almost anyone.  Wherever you live, I encourage you to find a judo club and start learning!  You’ll be glad you did.

How popular is judo in the U.S.?

  • Judo is growing in the United States.  The popularity of Brazilian Jujitsu has helped more people learn about judo, since Brazilian Jujitsu is so closely related to judo’s ground work.  Judo is said to be the second most popular sport in the world, just behind soccer.  Judo is very popular in Europe, the East, and other places around the world.  Judo tournaments over there have sell-out crowds with thousands of spectators and millions more watching on television.  More and more people are discovering judo in the U.S. and love it.  That’s why it’s growing so much here.  Now is a great time to get started.

How long does it take to earn a black belt in judo?

  • There is no set time to earn your black belt in judo.  It depends on how often you come to class and how well you understand judo.  Judo is complex and takes a lot of practice to be good at it.  But to answer the question, the average amount of time to earn a black belt is probably between 4 and 6 years.  Some people earn it faster or slower than others.  The way our program is set up, if you come to class three times a week for two years straight, and  never miss a single class, and you learned everything in the syllabus, and earned all your merits, and got all your certifications done, you could earn your black belt in as little as two years.  But, to do it in that short of a time would require absolute dedication and a lot of studying outside of class.  For most people it takes longer. But there’s no need to rush it.  You’ll continue learning for the rest of your life.  In many ways, earning your black belt is just the beginning.

What is the philosophy of Judo?

  • There are two main principles of judo: The first is Maximum efficiency with minimum effort, and the second is mutual benefit and welfare.  These two principles are equally important. You can spend your entire life discovering new ways that judo philosophies carry over into your everyday life. Judo is a sport and a martial art, but it's also a way to live your life.

Can I get hurt doing judo?

  • You can get hurt walking down the steps, riding a bike, or cooking dinner.  You can also get hurt doing judo.  At Westlake Judo Club, we take safety and courtesy VERY SERIOUSLY. We do not tolerate any unchecked aggression, bad attitudes, or unsafe behavior. We're a family and we take care of each other like a family should.

What belt colors are in judo?

  • Judo belt colors vary from country to country and from dojo to dojo.   Basically, though, judo belts go in this order: white, yellow, orange, green, brown, black.  Again, the colors vary from one place to the next, and they also depend on whether you are a child or an adult.  Also, you’ll see some very high ranking judokas with red belts.

Do I have to be in shape to do judo?

  • Practicing judo can get you in awesome shape.  Some people don’t want to go very hard, and that’s fine.  At Westlake, we enjoy the sport aspect of judo as much as we enjoy the art and spiritual side of judo.  So we typically train really hard.  We have some students at our dojo with Olympic aspirations, so we always do our best when training.  But being in shape helps you do judo.  We always say “don’t do judo to get in shape, get in shape to do judo”.  You can get in shape just by coming to class, but if you want to be really good, you should also exercise outside of class.  You don’t have to wait until you are in shape before starting judo.  Coming to class will help you get in shape.  The extra you do outside of class is a bonus.  

Is judo safe for children?

  • Absolutely!  Judo is easily one of the best sports for children. They get a great workout, they learn discipline and self-defense, and they have a lot of fun.  We do not allow any aggression or unsportsmanlike behavior in our dojo. True judo teaches good behavior.  We teach children how to be very careful when doing judo.  We want our students to become better members of society and get in shape and learn self-defense in the process.  Judo is great for children.

Can women do judo?

  • Of course! Women, regardless of age, can do judo and can do it very well.  Kayla Harrison just won the first gold medal in judo for the United States in 2012.  This is a big deal because Kayla Harrison competed against the best women in the world, from countries where judo is more popular than it is in the U.S.  Her achievement is amazing and will help judo grow even more in the U.S.  

What are the most common injuries in judo?

  • If you do competitive judo, or sport judo, you can expect some bumps and bruises.  The most common injuries are pulled muscles or strained joints.  Both of these types of injuries can usually be avoided by regular stretching before and after practice.  Occasionally you might bend a fingernail or toenail, which is why judokas always keep their nails short.  But sometimes you may fall or land in an awkward way that hurts.  So, if you practice sport judo, you can expect some aches and pains. You should consult your doctor if you’re worried about a health condition before you attempt judo. Also remember that if you want to go very easy in class, you are always welcome to do that, too. Judo is about fun, not agony.

What equipment do I have to buy to practice judo?

  • Typically the only thing you need to practice judo is a judo gi, which is the uniform.  They cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred, depending on what you want.  You don’t have to have a fancy gi to do judo.  You just need a judo gi.  Judo gi’s are different than karate gi’s or Brazilian jujitsu gi’s.  Judo gi’s are thicker and stronger to accommodate the pulling and throws.  Judo gi’s were meant to be strong like the Samurai warrior’s chest plates used hundreds of years ago on the battlefields.

Is there punching or kicking in judo?

  • The short answer is “no”.  In sport judo you do not punch or kick.  However, kicks and punches are a part of many judo katas.  Judo is not just a sport, it is also a form of self-defense.  Knowing what to do if someone punches or kicks you is important to know.  That’s why it is covered in the katas.  If you want to learn punches and kicks, I recommend you check out a good karate or kickboxing school.

Is judo good for MMA training?

  • Yes, knowing judo will help an MMA fighter.  However,  we don’t do MMA training at Westlake Judo. We teach traditional Kodokan Judo, which has a strict code of ethics and principles.  We don’t fight in a cage and we don’t punch or kick each other (not that there's anything wrong with that).   We specialize in throws, pins and submission techniques.  The same techniques used by the Samurai centuries ago on the battlefield.

How many throws are there in judo?

  • There are 67 official throws in Kodokan Judo.  However, there are thousands of variations.  At Westlake Judo, we teach the 67 official throws of Kodokan Judo as part of our black belt syllabus. But you can plan on learning variations in class and for the rest of your life.  Judo throws involve the hips, the hands, the feet, the legs, the arms, and more.  The possibilities are endless, and that’s what makes judo so much fun for your entire life.

Will judo help me get better at other sports?

  • Judo can help you improve your abilities in many other sports.  Practicing judo will definitely help you learn balance and coordination.  It also helps improve your endurance, flexibility, foot speed, core strength, and gripping strength.  You will burn fat and build lean muscle mass.  On top of that, judo will teach you to stay calm when the pressure is on.  

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