This club is the judo club run by the Vancouver PD. It has classes Mondays and Wednesdays from 8-10 pm. Instructors are numerous as are senior (black belt) students.
The classes are held at the police gymnasium in the main room. At the beginning of each session, members must roll out large high quality wrestling mats over which are placed judo tatami mats. This creates a very nice surface (albeit not a sprung floor) for practicing full speed ukemi safely.
The membership is large and typical sessions include up to 40 participants. The class begins with a warm-up which includes calisthenics, stretching, medicine ball work in pairs, and push-up and sit-ups (the warm-up varies from instructor to instructor). Then there is uchikomi practice with a partner where a specific tech is practiced after being demo'd by the instructor. This progresses to actually throwing. Partners can discuss between them how hard to go during this portion. Occasionally, the class will be split into whites and higher belts. The whites will review basics such as proper ukemi, grips, foot-work, etc, while higher belts focus more on techniques and smaller details of the throws. The classes always end with a session of ground-work randori.
Some things to note, which may or may not be issues:
They don't tend to use the Japanese terms for the throws, referring to them instead by the English translations.
Being a police club, the focus is on practical applications of judo rather than olympic style. The throwing instruction emphasizes controlled follow through or disengagement post-throw. You won't see olympic style throwing here.
The classes sometimes work on control/defence tactics which are adapted from judo but are not what you'd see in a typical judo class.
It takes some doing to get in if you are not either a force member or policing volunteer. Civilians must be sponsored by a club member.
Groundwork instruction is minimal. It is practiced it but being a police club, their idea is to avoid grappling on the ground as far as possible. The idea is throw and control or if you can't control, disengage. The grappling is emergency only. Needless to say, I do pretty well during the groundwork sessions as BJJ blue level practitioner.
Finally, judo newbs must join only at the beginning of each "semester" in order to get some basic instruction. A lot of the training for higher belts assumes quite a bit of judo knowledge. Sometimes there isn't a lot of instruction, just practice. Instructors will walk around and give advice, point out flaws, and fine tune your technique. I wouldn't recommend this club to someone who is just starting out in judo.
All things considered, though, the club offers pretty good training for a bargain basement price. The 20 $/mo fee is paid in "semesters" 3 times a year so you actually pay 80$ every 4 mo.
I think the types of throws trained at VPD judo can greatly benefit one's BJJ game. These guys are always worried about turning their back on an opponent and also worried about exposing their weapon, etc. They therefore focus on standing grappling, control, and kusushi a lot. Some of what is taught at VPD judo is similar to Dave Camarillo's concept of impact control. That is to say, executing judo throws whereby the uke ends up in an upright, control position, ideally placed to follow up with a submission. Incidentally, I'd highly recommend Camarillo's book "Guerrilla JiuJitsu" to anyone trying to expand their judo game with BJJ or anyone trying to expand their BJJ game with judo.
I think it's awesome that a police department runs such a program. In Darrel Max Craig's "Jujutsu: Japan's Ultimate Martial Art," he asserts that the martial attitude of the Japanese is very different from the American. In the former, officers are expected to have (and maintain) skill and experience in one or more arts. In the latter, it's almost unheard of.
Sounds like a great club.
It's a great school but they don't do any ground work? Uh...wtf!
LaoTzu: As I said in the review, groundwork is part of the training. Each class ends with a session of ground sparring. However, there isn't much instruction in groundwork beyond the basics.
The idea is to work the standing clinch and controlled throws more. I guess it's just the priorities they've set for the training for police application. I love the ground game too but I get my fix doing BJJ. Training with VPD Judo gives me some other tools to round out my overall grappling game.
For the price, the limited, but decent level of cardio, and the camaraderie this club is a great option if you can gain entrance especially if you are interested in improving your discipline and beginning to improve your level of fitness.
The club is a wonderful networking opportunity and might be able to provide you with great references. If you are so inclined to eventually becoming an officer of the peace it might even just open a few doors...
They may not use traditional Japanese terminology, but foundations are very much part of their curriculum- emphasis is based on high- yield, low risk techniques along with tested police specific practical applications; safety is paramount!
This is a non- competitive club; if you seek admission, are cleared and decide to use your MMA skills, the Vancouver Jail is across the street! FYI: Undisclosed members of the police special branches and council train with you; you will not even know who they are and they are your equals as well as mentors- so do not even think about getting out of line!
All things considered this is a fantastic club with great facilities, great people and rumours are running wild they might be provided with the go ahead in the near future to create a permanent 'tatami gym' with full absorbers underneath?!?!