Sale Judo Club, Manchester, UK
This was were I started Judo and is without doubt unique on the British Judo scene. Until he died last year last year the club was headed by 8th Dan Kodokan and BJC technical adviser Sensei Akinori Hosaka.
Mr Hosaka spearheaded the movement to preserve traditional skillful upright Judo in a Judo world that was increasingly being dominated by games of pattercake and leg grabs. Leg grabs, drop seio nage, tomoe nage, Kata Garuma and grip fighting (for lower grades) were prohibited in Randori . The result was the development of other hard to grasp techniques in the club such as marote seio nage (Ippon was discouraged) , Ko ouchi Gari, Hani Goshi and many others less commonly seen at that time . There was a huge emphasis on action/reaction and unbalancing the opponent which was taught at a depth which is rarely seen in any other Judo club in the UK.
At forst I found it difficult to compete with other clubs because we did not learn to defend the most commonly used techniques - but I soon got used to it . Mr Hosaka predicted the IJF rule change by years almost uncannily.
Mr. Hosaka was well known and respected on the British Judo scene and produced a couple of national champions, one international champion (sorry I forgot her name - someone can remind me) and recently a junior gold medalist at the BJC nationals. Every now and then someone like Karen Briggs would visit the club.
His legacy of traditional Judo continues at the club today , and although it is not the most competitive of clubs, the techniques you learn there - when taken away and trained hard in a more competitive enviroment - work.
This club offers something for all levels and all ages. Whilst for those more advanced other clubs might be better for learning to fight at a highly competitive level, cardio etc - for beginners this is one of the best places in the UK, possibly the best, to aquire the basis of your Judo technique.
Since his death Tom, Riaz (sorry if I spelt your name wrong Riaz ) and Harry 3 blackbelts who trained with Mr.Hosaka for years , have taken the classes.
Aliveness - I cant really give a number - but there was about 20 minutes off Randori at the end of the class - you could stay on after if you wanted.
Equipment : Normal , clean, Judo mats. Showers.
Gym Size : Sufficient for up to 20 people.
Instructor/student ratio : Usually you would have 3 blackbelts helping teach a class of 12 people. Varies.
Atmosphere / attitude : Unpretentious, friendly and diciplined . Family orientated. Sometime a pint or two afterwards in the local pub.
Striking instruction : None.
Grappling instruction :
Tachiwaza - unsurpassed instruction, there is a very deep understanding of many techniques in the club.
Newaza : Basic traditional Judo Newaza, sometimes more advanced , very thoroughly taught (Repetiton of core techniques. ) but not experimental . Occasionaly guest instructors. Normally two newaza Randoris to 4 tachiwaza randoris.
Weapons : none.
P.S. I travel a lot and have trained in dozens of Judo and BJJ clubs in over 8 countries in the last few years so have a good overview of training at different Judo clubs.