This MLK Day I texted the Judo instructor and ask if I could formally see his class. Being on the other side of a 8″ X 8″ window makes all the difference. As I suspected, the main sensei is a cop and so is one of his students. He’s got a few ex-military vets who just got out of the service along with a few guys from the BLM.
His children’s class has nigh on 25 kids where his adult class ranges 12 on a busy night to 4-6 students on a slow night. He actually apologized for not being commercial and for not having a bigger adults class. I found this ironic (and nice) — esp. after you consider that my old TKD school had the same class size. The exception, of course, was when our school went to the grandmaster’s school, and then it was standing room only and a bonified cluster fuck.
This night they started off by warming up on the ground in guard/mount drills. They did this to a boxing ring timer. i.e., if you were in the mount try to pin the guy on the bottom before the bell rang. When the bell did ring change positions. Here I saw one key lock, a classic arm bar, and one guy also caught an elbow and ended up with a bloody nose. I also saw a handful of other techniques that I did not recognize.
The second half of the class was endurance/conditioning drills centered around throws. They drug out a 10″ deep foam mat and placed it on top of their normal mat. The instructor would tell them which throw to practice and then the lead guy would throw everyone in his line. Once done, rotate and repeat the process. They did this from both the strong and weak side. Several guys ran out of gas on this drill and one in particular had to take a knee. It was pretty intense to say the least!
I counted at least 8 distinct throws and I have no idea what they are called. The class practices on one half of a double basketball court that’s separated by a thin divider. The other side had an active pickup game and I could not hear so good from the bench.
- Main instructor is super-nice and chatted with me several times between activities
- The endurance drill was partly to get the instructor and his cop pal ready for state games judo tourney
- Bracketing out match practice, they try to practice throw drills on the thick foam because “everyone has to make it back to work” the next day 🙂
- No-brainer — at least 5 of the 8 throws would suck if you were on the receiving end on a hard surface. Either a fight-ender or would make your attacker think twice.
- Only one guy is under 200lbs and he’s shorter than me. Everyone else outweighs me.
- At least 3 were pushing 250lbs — surprisingly they could still move and did some spectacular throws!
The instructor told me that he starts newbies off with the basics. Their past background will dictate how fast they pick it up. When asked about past MA experience I explained that I had two runs in taekwondo and left it at that. He didn’t ask about rank and I did not offer it up. I did tell him that I (once) knew how to fall and roll. I also told him that how they did side falls was different from what we did in TKD. He also told me that most of his older guys nurse old injuries so he tries to work around them if possible. This is good because I’ve picked up a few dings along the way! 😉
This is an opportunity to learn the basics in a low-pressure environment. The instructor is willing to work around a given student’s limitations and help them grow. It has the potential to put me back in an organized MA class which I sorely miss. I also need the exercise and stress relief! It’s too good to pass up trying a few classes so that’s the next step. I’m out-of-town this Thursday but next Tuesday I plan to show up with my gi.