Capital London Judo, Hackney/Islington (London)
Review: Capital London Judo (capitallondonjudo.com)
Coach: Gabor Szanyi-Nagy (3rd Dan Black Belt)
This is fundamentally a good club. It has some problems: the BJA are insisting on regular intakes on their "ABC" beginners course, which means 5-10 complete beginners showing up all at once - that can be over half the club made up of complete beginners. Hopefully over time, as more people grade up, the club composition will be more balanced but at the moment it's very bottom-heavy.
This is a judo club, and it has basically the same aliveness as you would expect: you'll get thrown, strangled and joint-locked a lot. At the moment, I suspect because of the large number of new white belts, there is very little tachiwaza (standing) randori, which is why I only gave it a 6. Hopefully that will change.
The club is based in a school hall (Monday and Wednesday) and a university gym (Friday), so there are no fixed mats. The padded area is a bit small but pretty standard for a shared-venue judo dojo. You bring your own gi (of course) - one thing that is a shame, especially with the number of people starting up, is that the club doesn't have any jackets to loan.
Gym Size: 6
About standard size, as above. Could be bigger, but I've seen smaller.
Instructor/Student Ratio: 6
There is one main instructor (Gabor) and a couple of assistants, although they are not often present unless he is away. The high low-grade:high-grade ratio means that he can get stuck helping someone new, and since there are often no other dan grades that can leave everyone a bit lost.
Good attitude, everyone is very friendly.
Striking Instruction: 0
Grappling Instruction: 8
Again, it's judo - grappling is what we do. People go to tournaments, often with success (although so far mostly at lowish kyu-grade level).
Regarding newaza (ground grappling) especially, there are a couple of good BJJ players (2 brown belts) who train semi-regularly with us and have some good insights in the ground game. Gabor has a very good ground game himself and teaches a lot of newaza, although it's not always broken down enough - sometimes he will just demonstrate an entire, fairly long move and then send everyone off to practice it, which of course means we all fail completely.
No weapons, no defence against weapons, just judo.