I was thinking about joining a judo club near my house, but I was wondering what kind of injuries I have to expect by practising this martial art (I'm especially worried about my nose, my nasal septum is already deviated because when I was a kid I fell off a bike, and I don't want to make it worse).

  • 3
    After a year of judo, the thought of breaking my nose hasn't crossed my mind at all. I'd be more worried about fingers, toes, knees, and shoulders.
    – deadghost
    Mar 25, 2014 at 2:23
  • If you get your nose broken, you can get the septum repaired. Win/win.
    – JohnP
    Jun 20, 2019 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


This article summarizes it quite nicely with statistics for all injuries in Judo:


According to that research, there is a 7 in 1000 chance for boys and a 3 in 1000 chance for girls, based on historical statistics, of having a serious injury to the nose.

Caveat being that this is for young Judo competitors 17 years old or younger while they are actually competing at the national level. I would expect injury rates here to be much greater than that of a typical Judo school's injury rate. As such, consider this to be a maximum.

One interesting thing that pops out in that research and in others like it is that the injury rate in grappling arts like Judo is often much less than that of percussion arts like Taekwondo or Karate.

My own experience with Judo was quite positive. In the 2 years I trained in it, I didn't see a lot of injuries. I personally had nothing major during that time. Maybe the occasional headache from not being ready for a breakfall. Oh, and I recall stubbing my toe on the mats many times. It's not uncommon to hurt your toes that way. Fingers also can take some damage, because you're putting all your force into your grip. And backs can get messed up, usually because you're lifting wrong. That's why Judo has you repeat your throws thousands of times in practice before you start using them in randori (sparring).

Noses? Generally you're going to be thrown onto your back, not your front. Almost no throws land you on your face, but it is possible if it happens by accident. And it's possible your opponent's knee, elbow, shoulder, or head butts into your nose at various times during your training. That should be rare, and only by accident. And there are no strikes to worry about, so that's good.

There are some head protectors that have built-in nose protection. But I've never seen anyone in Judo wearing them. Still, I doubt any Judo teacher would tell you not to wear one if you wanted. If you do get one, try the ones that have a cage enclosure around the front of the face instead of the ones that have padding. Something like this:


Good luck!

  • 2
    Actually, I would figure injury rates to be higher at a local school than competitors at the national level, just vastly more under-reported. You'll get a lot more people with some training and very little control than you would a tournament where all the competitors are national level and have developed control.
    – JohnP
    Mar 24, 2014 at 20:48
  • Yes, perhaps. But I based my opinion on intensity. National level competition would mean higher intensity, faster speed, more force, and stronger competitive drive. All of those combine to increase risk greatly. In my Judo school, like I said, you had to repeat your newly learned throws for at least a thousand times before being allowed to do it in randori. And randori wasn't even allowed until about 6th kyu (orange/green belt) anyway. It gives people the control they need to be able to do it safely. It seemed to work well for our school anyway. Mar 24, 2014 at 21:07
  • Oh, I agree, but how many times did you or someone in your school have an injury or mishap that may have interrupted training for a few days that was never reported? Even controlled, in class sparring has its risks, and even more severe injuries in a school setting are never really reported anywhere. I don't think it's a huge difference, probably in the order of 3-4 more per 1000, so 10-12ish per 1000 for in school incidents.
    – JohnP
    Mar 24, 2014 at 21:35
  • 2
    There's not to add much to this answer. Most injuries result from falling wrong, as likely as walking on slippery ground. On the other hand I often felt less hard rolling off when I felt from a horse or bicycle. Not unlikely judo saved me from being a basket case ...
    – user1778
    Mar 25, 2014 at 7:07
  • 1
    You dont hurt yourself in judo by "falling wrong" as when you walk on the slippery ground. When you hurt yourself in judo is when you try to bloc/counter someone who is applying a force to one direction, with something you shouldnt. (Try to bloc harai goshi by "locking" your knees when someone sweeps your leg, put your arm behind you when you are on the ground to prevent you rolling on your back while someone is pushing you, etc). This is why you normally dont see much injury in high level training, when someone "gets" you, your roll over with him. These big injuries happens in competitions. Jul 2, 2014 at 15:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.