Blog: Why Are Celebrities Choosing Judo?

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Blog: Why Are Celebrities Choosing Judo?

Posted: 12/10/2021

Did you see David Beckham's touching tribute to daughter Harper Seven on social media this weekend following her Silver Judo medal? From famous actors to politicians, singers to sportspeople and even astronauts, numerous famous faces have taken to the Tatami.  

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, apparently trained under JudoScotland President and Judo legend George Kerr. While more recently Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi mentioned in a Sun on Sunday interview that; ‘Growing up, I was good at swimming and judo, but I wasn’t sporty.’.

It is rumoured, that some of Hollywood’s finest including Jack Black, Keanu Reeves, Namoi Watts and Brian Blessed also practise Judo, even putting their skills to use in movie roles.

However, it isn’t just stars of the silver screen who have donned the Judogi. Olympic track and field gold medallist, Lord Coe, has famously trained with former Conservative leader William Hague at Budokai Club in London. Romanian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci, who became the first woman to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event and is widely regarded as the world’s greatest gymnast, discovered Judo after attending an IJF event and is now a IJF Ambassador.  

While Rugby stars from across the Globe have famously used Judo as a training tool after the New Zealand All Blacks announced Judo as part of their training regime. Former French Rugby International Fabien Pelous has switched his attention to Judo after retiring from Rugby, gaining his first Dan after three years. JudoScotland athlete Rachel McLachlan has gone one step further, after competing in Judo for years, she has switched disciplines and has gone on to represent Scotland in Rugby. With Scottish rugby Coach Shade Munro, stating in an interview for the Scotsman in 2018 that; “She’s been very positive around the camp, she’s certainly a bit of a livewire when it comes to playing the game, she’s aggressive, she’s dynamic, she’s fit and she comes from a judo background which seems to help. Rachel will set the tone for the way we want to play.”

The French astronaut from the European Space Agency, Thomas Pesquet, who is also a Judo Black Belt, recently shared a message from the International Space station in support of Olympic Judoka declaring; “Really, throughout my life the values of this sport have always been very useful to me and have been an unwavering guide.”.

But Why Judo?

Although we can’t answer for everyone there are several reasons why Judo is an ideal choice when picking a sport, whether your goal is to increase fitness, improve physical literacy or simply just to become more active Judo has it covered.

Translated Judo means ‘The Gentle Way’. A truly inclusive sport Judo really is a sport for all, but there is more to Judo than just an Olympic sport. Based on a ‘Moral Code’ of courtesy, courage, honesty, honour, modesty and respect. Judo’s founder Jigoro Kano stated:

 “Judo is the way to the most effective use of both physical and spiritual strength. By training you in attacks and defences it refines your body and your soul and helps you make the spiritual essence of Judo a part of your very being. In this way you are able to perfect yourself and contribute something of value to the world. This is the final goal of Judo discipline.”

Although the spiritual essence of Judo is at the heart, the physical side of the sport offers a great foundation for life with basic fundamentals of physical literacy and learning to fall safely, which is potentially why it is used side by side with other sports as a training tool.

If you have been inspired to give Judo a throw by David Beckham’s post about his daughter Harper Seven click here to find a club near you.