open source judo

Judo is the yin to BJJ’s yang. Where BJJ teaches how to handle combat on the ground, Judo teaches how to grapple standing--how to throw others to the ground, and to not get thrown yourself. This makes it a great complement to BJJ study, which is why many world class BJJ competitors also hold black belts in Judo. This class is welcome to beginners, and takes a highly focused approach for each individual’s progress. Highly recommended for anyone wanting a well rounded grappling game.

price: pay-what-you-want

wednesday @ 6:00-7:30 PM
sunday @ 12:00-2:00 PM


What is Judo?

Judo arose out of a fusion of other Jujutsu styles in the late 1800's in Japan by an intellectual named Jigoro Kano. Kano's great innovations were, primarily, twofold: (1) The emphasis on balance and posture ("kuzushi") within martial arts, and (2) the emphasis on creating a syllabus that was not only extremely effective at martial skill, but able to be safely practiced at full speed and strength. In the early years, Judo proved itself in countless style-vs-style fights, winning so regularly and definitively that it was adopted by the Japanese Police, Military, and eventually becoming a mandatory part of children's education in the country. It also spread throughout the world, becoming the most widespread form of grappling internationally. Even Teddy Roosevelt took up the study of Judo, getting his brown belt, and frequently attempting to get diplomats to wrestle with him in the White House basement.

These same principles gave birth to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, (a direct descendant of Judo), and endowed it with the same success. The two arts work well together, and do well separately as in-depth studies on their respective fields--submission jacket wrestling on the ground, and submission jacket grappling standing.

Benefits of Judo

Judo, in one line, is the study of balance--both maintaining your own, and compromising another's. From a self defense perspective, Judo enables you to remain standing, to be comfortable and powerful from a standing position that nullifies strikes (the clench), and therefore fight while maintaining the ability to run away or respond to threats at will. For those seeking to supplement their BJJ game, Judo gives you the ability to dictate where the match is taking place, and to have a toolset of takedowns that will enable you to skip the guard game completely.

A Typical Class

Judo is primarily focused on 'throws', or take-downs, but excelling at Judo competition also requires a strong knowledge of pins, chokes, gripping, and arm and shoulder submissions. Familiarity with the turtle position, and gripping strategies, are also crucial to competitive success in Judo. I strive to optimize class time, making every minute and movement count towards the improvement of these concrete skills, and I attempt to include some review of every one of these skills in every class. High priority throws that facilitate combinations are practiced every class, in a way that also exposes the mind to proper timing and balance concepts. The Judo repertoire of pins are practiced every class. Grip-fighting drills are done every class. During each of those sections, we also try to study one small piece in finer detail, progressing our study of that sub-discipline. Every one of these skills is pressure-tested with controlled positional sparring, as close to every class as can be managed. Finally, of course, we study and practice throws. We get some review time for previous throws, and then we study or review a sequence in more detail. Every class concludes with some rounds of free-sparring ("randori"), critical for Judo development.

This should feel overwhelming to the beginner. That's ok--just follow along as best you can and ask questions as needed. By a few weeks in, you'll be surprised at how much sense it'll all make. If it doesn't challenge you, you aren't learning enough.

Teaching Philosophy

I am a pragmatist, and a long-time student of learning itself. Much as I love in-depth study, the key to rapid learning is not long and detailed, meticulous explanations--it is immersion and regular repetition. The human mind primarily learns through trial and error. (If you doubt this, try comparing the German of someone who spent four years studying grammar textbooks in university vs. the German of an African refugee who has immigrated to Germany 6 months prior.) Quality learning environments are uncomfortable--they require us doing things we're bad at, failing over and over, and doing them with sufficient regularity to 'stick'.