Berrien Springs, MI - Wells Judo Instructions Inc
Wells Judo Instructions Inc
7515 M 139, Berrien Springs, MI
I attended Well's Judo for a little over a year and a half. I found the price to be cheap with 3 teirs of pricing (month (50), 3 quarterly (110), and yearly (I belive 360, but i'm not sure)). The instructor is a USJA 3rd degree black belt in judo and a 6th degree black belt from the USMA. He also holds a 4th or a 5th degree black belt in japaneese jiujitsu from the USMA. I do not put much stock in the degree's from the USMA, however, the instructor has a good competition record, and competitors from his school (mostly his sons and grandchildren) also have great competition records and were taught by him. I do not have doubts about his ablitys in judo. However, as I will detail below, I can not recomend this club.
I first started training at this club after delving inot aikido. I had read that a lot of aikidoka had backgrounds in judo, so I decided it was a good idea to study judo. At the time the training was tough. Classes consisted of about 4 adults and 4 children. We did pushups, situps, and static streaches, rolls, breakfalls, shrimp crawls and reaps. I was indroduced to 4 throws (ippon, ogoshi, osotogari, Deashi Harai). I was also introduced to basic ground positions (side control, north/south, and shoulder pin). I was also shown some basic chokes. We would then do either throws on a crash pad, uchikomi, or very very short randori. It was at this time I decided to improve my ground game and attend bjj classes.
It was at this point I realized the issues with this school.
After attending other judo classes at the local YMCA and a small club near my home. I decided it was not worth it to give this guy my money. He might be good at judo. But he is far to old to change his ways, refuses to adopt modern training methods (like streching and warming up), and can not recognize any training you may of gotten that was not from him (after a year of bjj he informed me I should not be doing armbars in mat work because I do not know the first thing about an armbar, and that maybe, if i'm lucky he will teach it to me.). Other local clubs (like the YMCA) work you harder, focus on training more than talking, and respect bjj for what it is (good ground fighting.). Another thing I realized was that he never actually explained how a lot of drills related to actually using judo. For example, I was never explained the purpose of a shrimp crawl until my first BJJ class. His suggestions for improving my ground game were to stand up so the ref will reset you and try to throw again. I can't count the times I was encuraged to pick up someone who was triangle choking me so I could "escape" via a ref instead of actually learning a proper defense.
- The instructor talks constantly. He will force the entire class to stop and listen to him talk. A lot of time is taken up listening to him correct a child on his/her form. This wastes valuable time. I honestly can not say I have ever done more than 20 uchikomi in a given night.
- Randoiri is way to short. He would only let us randori for less than a minute. Then he would stop and lecture us. We never had any time to perfect techniques in randori.
- Improper warmups and stretching. We were never warmed up before streching (bad idea). And the instructor talks so much that you would tend to cool down if you were warmed up. This led to a few injurys.
- Playing favorites. The instructor plays favorites with his grandkids and students of choice. This means he will have little side meetings with someone telling them "how to beat you". This spawns rivaly within the club, and leads to the next point.
- Instructor HATES bjj. If he finds out you train in bjj, he will make fun of you. Bad talk bjj, and constantly stop you while doing mat work or randori to tell you that you are not using judo and that basically you suck. Unable to deal with the fact that the students who had trained in bjj could wipe the mat up with his other students, he simply stopped allowing any mat work in class. He also alienates bjj guys and tries to get the other students against them. The final straw was when he was caught teaching a bjj student incorrectly how to do a throw so he would fail.
If you are looking for judo in this area, I suggest you look elsewhere. You will only find 1-2 adults to work out with, and you will find most of your time is standing around listening to an old man talk about how great you will be someday if you listen to him. I know this sounds harsh, but it is the truth. He knows a lot about judo, I just think he is either too old, or afraid to teach it. He has trouble keeping students because of this, even with prices half the cost of any other outfit in town. It's a shame really, his grandchildren are good competitors, so are his sons, he just seems to be unable to impart his judo to others.
At least the BJJ club I train at (see Carlson Gracie in Mishawaka, IN) will soon have a judo club running 2 days a week. I'd suggest checking out that, the YMCA, or the ICE gym if you are looking for good judo training in this area.
wow! I have noticed a lot of the old Judo guys don't like BJJ. I have heard some of them say, all that Royce Gracie is doing is Judo! Some have a grudging respect for the style others prefer to lump it in under Judo.