Abbotsford Judo Club
I've trained at this club as a youth at different locations, and have been training as an adult at the present location for the past 14 years.
The Chief Instructor came over from Japan to Montreal to help instruct at the National Training center in 1976, and later moved out west to Abbotsford. He started the club in 1981.
Aliveness - 9
It's Judo, so for the main competitive class, this means full contact, full power throws in Standing Randori (Free Practice), and chokes and armlocks in Ne-waza Randori. For safety equipment in Randori, you've got the tatami, your breakfalls, and your ability to tap fast enough. This might be a 10, because during tournament season you can easily find a tournament a month, within 50 or so miles, if you are so inclined. Most of the students in this class compete. We host an annual tournament ourselves with 400+ competitors.
Equipment - 8
We have two layers of IJF (International Judo Federation) certified tatami, with a plywood sub-floor. The mats are all in good condition, worn mats are replaced as needed. We have (4) 5x10ft crash mats for repetitive throwing, a good range of free weights, abs wheels, swiss balls, resistance bands, bosu balls, medicine balls, 2 climbing ropes, a chin up bar, a dip bar, those swivel push ups things, one of those bendable 100lbs 6 foot tall grappling dummies, and even a 30ft long by 15ft high rock climbing wall for the kids. We also have enough electronic scoreboards and such to run a full tournament. We have a good selection of Judo books and videos to loan out once we know you'll bring them back. We've probably got 50+ Gi's in the back, most of them clean on any given day, so we've got lots of loaners.
Gym Size - 9
5000 sq ft facility with most of it devoted to mat area. Probably close to 4000sq ft of mat area. The rest is a tiny office, and a back room for storage and such. We've also got good sized change rooms, the men's one is much bigger, but showers in both, and a small sauna in the men's (Sorry Ladies). You'll never have a party in the Sauna, but if two guys need to cut weight, it'll work. The mats are swept and disinfected regularly, and we have a dozen ceiling fans, and even one of those de-humidifiers. Scales to check weight as well. As an added bonus, we back onto a city park, with a lake and running and biking trails.
Instructor / Student Ratio - 8
Classes can get big, topping 40 on a big night, but with Judo this is kind of good, because you want a lot of variety in Randori partners. Probably 30% of the class are black belts, and 5 or so instructors including Mr. Suda.
Atmosphere - 10
I've been to quite a few clubs, this is the friendliest. Mr. Suda is very welcoming and nice, but puts the competitors through their paces. Guys new to competition don't have the more advanced guys beat the hell out of them too often, but they are challenged. All the black belts are willing to help out, and review a technique with you, and we have social events, Christmas Parties, and the like. We don't tolerate goofs or guys with something to prove, and those types lose interest quickly. A good number of Law Enforcement guys.
Striking - N/A
We don't teach it, outside of the occasional Ladies Self Defense class, or if you need to learn a Kata for Black Belt Grading.
Grappling - 9
It's full contact, we send a big team to nationals every year, and a few to international competitions, up to and including World Championships. Most of the Instructors have competed nationally, with some of them fighting internationally in tournaments like the British Open. We run training camps for the Provincial team as well, and if you're reasonable, you can attend those, usually run by Olympic level athletes. Occasionally we bring guys in from Japan, to teach clinics.
Weapons - N/A
Not unless you count a sleeve as a weapon. (You should!)
In closing, it's a great club, and we welcome visitors. We've had high level guys and girls, Olympians on holidays, people come to learn English and do Judo from other countries, and normal guys on business trips. If you are in the area visiting, check the website, and call the club.
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