I've got three sessions of judo under my belt at my new place and I'd like to share my thoughts on training in the Gentle Art.
Dojo is a good size. It's in a large tent-like building at olympic park. Plenty of room for the class which seems to average about 15-20 people.
Classes start with a warmup, followed by solo drills such as sweeping the mat from side to side with the foot across the hall in a foot-sweep motion. Next we normally work on some partnered drills such as shifting from side to side and one person must try to sweep the other's foot at the right timing. Then we start to build up the resistance and motion a bit and do attacker/defender drills where one person must sweep the other while moving them around as they see fit. Last week we worked on a hip throw technqiue, the progression was static reps where you just lift them off the ground, then we moved onto reps of completed throws.
Randori is great. We were encoraged to work on the technique we were shown and try and get some throws. At the moment, I need to concentrate on staying on the balls of my feet and exploding into techniques. I found it much better to go on the offensive, try and be agressive with attacks even if you might fail and get countered. Much better then having to defend attacks just to stay on your feet. I very much like the fighting attitude of the sport. None of this "no fighting untill you have mastered 100,000 katas" stuff. If your martial art involves sparring the instructor on your first day you are onto a good thing.
I am fortunate to train at a place which values newaza and spends a good deal of time on the ground training submissions. We probably devote around 45-50% of our active training to newaza. BJJ helped me alot with this, and I can give some of the higher belts a decent fight on the ground, even though I am the worst person in my BJJ class. It's good to have some people around that don't tap me in 10 seconds like in BJJ class. The instructor has a very solid game on the ground. Talking to the senior coach after class, he mentioned that there is a trend towards getting back to a 50-50 standing/ground in judo and that he trained at the Japanese university where Maeda used to train.
In summary, judo pwns. It's alive and the training is highly athletic. The only flaws are some arbitary rules in place that don't seem to be there for safety, such as no changing grip to the opposite lapel for more than three seconds. That sounds a bit pointless to me.