Western Washington University Judo Club
I've been doing Judo for about 2 and a half years, 3-4 days a week. I train here and at basically all of the Judo/BJJ clubs in the area, so I have a good idea of how this club compares to other grappling clubs in the Bellingham/Whatcom area in terms of price, time and attendance. All of the Judo clubs here are friends so there is a lot of students attending all of them. Classes are 2 hours long, from 8PM to 10PM monday and wednesday.
I'm biased because I started doing Judo here, but god I love this place. Big open studio space where they open doors to the outside to let in air, you gotta put down and pick up the mats every practice but thats a small price to pay. Our class is run by several high-ranked blackbelts who have won numerous competitions. Our main Sensei, Mark Glaser 5th dan, won gold in his age group (45-50 i believe) in the Masters division of the US Judo nationals in 2008. Another one of our sensei, Ralph Bajema, is in his mid 70's and still actively competes and wins in masters tournaments as well. Our younger blackbelts also all compete regularly and often do quite well. Being about 30 miles from the Canadian border, we often have Canadian Sensei coming down from some of the awesome clubs in the Vancouver BC area to add their expertise to classtime. There is always someone high ranked to help you with your tech ique.
Almost all of our main sensei have been to Japan to train at the Kodokan and other clubs (I know this is not necessarily a unique thing but still cool), and one of our older instructors studied for several years under a student of Kimura. Suffice to say, they have a beautiful knowledge of both competition and traditional judo, and employ excellent training techniques for their students.
Being a university club, they do not push you to compete. Its up to you to find the drive. However, myself and a core group of regular attendees, both low and high ranked, regularly compete and place in the local tournaments. There is a great sense of camaraderie in attending tournaments and striving to do our best. In virtually every tournament in the area, WWU Judo is well represented and ends up placing in something (though Ippon Dojo and Seattle Dojo usually steal the show!).
There is heavy emphasis on conditioning. Stretching, pushups, sit-ups and long pick up drills of constant repetitions and combinations help build stamina and technique. We probably spend the first 30 minutes doing calisthenics and pick-up drills, then the next 30 doing uchikomi and ukemi.
After that, we usually do some sute geiko of tokui waza for about 10 minutes with different partners. Sometimes, instead of sute geiko, the instructors pick one or two specific tachi waza and newaza techniques to work on, usually related to what we did last practice. Then its on to newaza randori and then tachi waza randori for the last 20-30 minutes. When your so tired that you are ready to throw up, its been a good practice.
Prices are great, 25 dollar a quarter for dues and 50 dollars for a gi if you need one, though there has been a bit of pissing match between our club and the university bureaucracy for pricing. Prices may have changed to a bit higher by the time you read it. But the quality of the sensei and the great, open space we practice in are well worth it.
We start back up January 4th!