Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great First Night

Thanks for coming out!

We had a pretty solid attendance for our first night of the Fall and our first night in our new home, Room 331 of the Franklin Street Gym.

Thanks to everyone that was there early to help set up the mats, break them down afterwards etc.

With such a diverse and enthusiastic group, I can only hope you all stick with us on the very long road that is Judo!

See you Thursday and or Friday night at 7pm!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What do I need to have?

If attending VCU Judo for the first time, you may wonder;

what should I bring?

Do I need anything?

What kind of clothes do I where?

The first time you practice, it would be ideal for you to have a judogi (or gi, the uniform of judo). We understand that this is not realistic for everyone. As such, the club keeps a few extra ones around for you to use. Barring that, come wearing comfortable workout clothes. The first thing that one must know in Judo is how to fall, and you don't need a gi for that!

Secondly, it's important that nothing you wear will hurt you or any of your training partners while doing Judo. Because of this, you are strongly discouraged from wearing any jewelry, especially;
ear rings
other piercings etc
The judogi itself is the staple of Judo because it is sturdy, comfortable and can be treated rather roughly with out fear of damage. It soaks up sweat admirably, and just plain looks cool. You'll want to get your own as soon as possible.
A beginner could acquire any number of entry level gis for as little as $30. I'd recommend spending just a little bit more however. You will be very satisfied by the products from major known brands such as;
and others. They all offer beginners gis that are light, comfortable, well made and less than $70. These will last a long time. Sometimes that's not so true of the ones you get for less.

Along the same lines as the jewelery is the concern over hygiene. There are several things that you can do to ensure that you and your partner both get the most out of practice;
Come to practice clean (shower etc)
Come to practice with a clean gi
Come to practice with short and clean nails (hand and feet)
Brush your teeth
Keep you hair short and orderly. If you have long hair, braid it or keep it in a ponytail etc
Be mindful of how you smell generally (not everyone likes patchouli or tobacco or gin or whatever perfume you are wearing)
Not following ANY of these guidelines is grounds enough for someone to refuse to train with you, or for a club to ask you to leave. Don't start laughing if you are the 'stinky gi guy' and your training partners won't put up with it anymore!
None of these points is without merit. If you think this is frivolous, I encourage you to research MRSA, staph, ringworm and herpes. You will never have to worry about any of these things if you follow simple hygienic practices, but if not, you are exposing your partners to risks they do not deserve!

Keep these things in mind, and you should feel right at home in most Judo clubs, and certainly ours!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What to Expect from Judo

If you are new to Judo, you probably have a lot of questions.

First, what to expect?
Well, Judo is a Japanese martial art. It is also an Olympic sport. It based on grappling, and features mostly throwing, pinning and submission techniques. From a self defense perspective, the goal of Judo is throw your assailant to the ground, with the aim of incapacitating him/her and escaping. Plan B is to throw your opponent to the ground, following closely upon him/her to effect a dominant or controlling position on the ground (a pin). From there to retain control until a comrade can rescue you or to incapacitate the opponent either by way of choke or joint lock.

In the sporting sense, these same concepts are conveyed by the way in which certain techniques are scored. To throw someone flat on their back with speed, force and control is to win immediately by 'Ippon'. To do anything less is to score a lesser score and continue on with the match, either by attacking one another on the ground, or returning to your feet to attempt another 'Ippon' throw. On the ground, there are several opportunities to win; more and more points are scored the longer that you hold someone in a pin (until 25 seconds, at which point you will have won), or Ippon can be declared upon your opponent's 'tapping out' or submitting to your shime (choke) or kansetsu (joint lock) waza (technique).

What set Judo apart from other Japanese martial arts in the late 19th century was the inclusion of the concept of 'Randori'. Randori essentially means 'free practice'. Jigoro Kano (founder of Judo) went about narrowing the breadth of techniques available under the umbrella of various Ju Jitsu schools he had studied in his youth. He chose to retain only that which he felt were both mechanically efficient and relatively safe to perform on a resisting opponent. This meant that a smaller weaker person must be able to do them against a larger person, and that a throw must place the victim flat on his back, or the submission hold must allow time for the victim to 'submit' or 'tap out'. Due to these criteria, the early practitioners were able to hone their skills against one another at full force, with full speed and resistance. In short time, it was clear which techniques were most effective, and who was most effective at applying them.

This is the paradox of Judo, and all martial arts that include full sparring and or sporting elements; the exclusion of the 'deadly' techniques (eye gouging, kicking the groin etc) allows for intensive and regular sparring, such that those who practice become highly skilled against resisting, combative opponents. I say paradox, because as you can see, by making Judo 'safe', Jigoro Kano allowed his students to become very good fighters. This was born out at an early defining moment for the fledgling art. In 1886, four years after the 'founding' of his art and school, Kano's students soundly defeated other rival Ju Jitsu schools at a tournament in Tokyo, proving the efficacy of his training methods.

It is a preparation that no other method offers. Those experienced in these arts; Judo, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Boxing, Sambo or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will be glad to tell you that they know exactly what they can and can't do, in the ring, on the mat etc. No one who has trained both ways (via sparring and the traditional asian martial art method of 'form' or 'kata' practice) would ever argue that the non-resistive non-combative methods are remotely effective for the development of applicable skills in these scenarios.

When practicing judo at VCU Judo, you will be instructed on the methods of breaking a fall, throwing techniques, applying and escaping from pins and submission techniques, and finally you can elect to join in Randori. A typical practice session might look like this;

6:45pm - Individual warm up and mopping mats
7:00pm - Practice begins- Warm Up drills
7:15pm - Introduce Throwing techniques, with partner practice
8:00pm - Randori; approximately 10 3 minute rounds
8:30pm - instruction on ground techniques
8:45pm - Randori on the ground
9:00pm - Conclusion of practice, mat care/breakdown

Fall 2008 Schedule

Fall 2008

all meetings in room 331 of the Franklin Street Gym

Tuesday 7pm until 9pm

Thursday 7pm until 9pm

Friday 7pm until 9pm

See you Tuesday, August 26th!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Practice STARTS this FRIDAY!!!

Our first practice of the Fall semester will be Friday, August 22nd!

We will meet up at the end of Dr. Mills' PE course, and start at


in room 331
of the Franklin Street Gym

Additional Practice Time!

Professor Dr Alan Mills,
instructor of HPEX 121 (Judo)

has graciously volunteered to host another practice session for the VCU Judo Club!!!

He will be conducting a practice session every Friday night, beginning with the end of his own PE Class at about 6pm, and we will officially have our Judo Club practice beginning at
and going until

That's every Friday from 7-9pm!

This brings the total training times to;

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays all at 7-9pm.

Here's to a great Fall!

Fall Meeting Schedule


VCU Judo has arranged new meeting times and a new meeting location for the Fall of 2008

VCU Judo will meet

in Room 331 of the Franklin Street Gym

Tuesday and Thursday Night

7:00pm until 9:00pm

All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend!

Monday, August 18, 2008

New meeting place

VCU Judo has been offered Room 331 of the Franklin Street gym
to conduct meetings for the fall of 2008.

We are in the process of readying the space.

If you'd like to volunteer to help out, and speed things along, please e-mail Jason Struck

Otherwise, we should be getting back to practice late August or early September.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Min Ho Choi

Check out this link to see Min Ho Choi of Korea win several matches by Ippon on his way to an Olympic Gold medal in the -60kg

there are plenty of others Olympic videos on the site as well, including Ronda's bewildering loss to a Belgian in the first seconds of the match.