Club de Judo Okano - Charny
Since there isn't many French Canadian dojo reviews on Bullshido, well, I decided to review my own. Beware of weird English.
Anyway, this Judo dojo...is darn fine. I have no means to compare but I feel happy there, although I'll try to be as objective as possible (no such thing as completely unbiased writing).
Typical Judo fare. Classes last 1:30 (1:15 for kiddies but who cares about them), 15 minutes of which is spent on warming up, 1 hour of which is technique drilling or compliant randori and the rest is full-on randori with no predetermined roles. One thing is that we do not mix tachi-waza with ne-waza in randori bouts often : meaning that once someone is thrown, fights don't go immediately to the ground. Sometimes we will mix both in randori, but most often it's one or the other. Communication is the key : if you want fights to go to the ground after the initial throw, ask your partner! Given the IJF's lame rules for newaza times this seems appropriate for competition but it does dock the aliveness rating.
It is to be noted that if you want more full-on randori, just ask your partner. The head sensei doesn't seem to care if you eat away at drill time to do some more randori.
Well, we have mats, and there's a stray Wavemaster in one corner of the dojo (I have no clue what it does there). We don't have anything else. There are some things that could be added (like newaza dummies and the like), but they aren't necessary in a Judo dojo and I doubt they would be as effective as flesh and bones humans anyway, so it's not a big deal, but it's also impossible to rate my dojo higher than a 1.
By the way, the Wavemaster's only purpose is for the sensei to say "run to that red thing over there" in cardio warm-ups.
As an additional note, the stock dojo gi are Jukados. I don't like them (I wear a Fushida Icon, and yes, this WILL identify me to anyone from my dojo who reads this), as I prefer European cuts with heavier, stiffer material (from a confort as well as a shiai perspective) but one is welcome to buy one's own gi and wear it to practice if one, like me, doesn't really like the stock gi.
We train in a commercial space, but it's small. We have enough place for everyone to throw each other and not collide into each other, but there's not much more space. Almost the whole place is occupied by the mats, with a row of benches and hooks for coats and the like on one side, one tiny bathroom for each gender, a water fountain, and one changing room which is monopolised by the dudes so women arrive changed or change in their bathroom.
It's small, but functional. Speaking as a man, at least. I, myself, arrive fully changed, so I have an excuse to go around town in my judogi buying drinks after practice and being a douche.
The dojo shines in this area because we do have a load of yudansha around. For 15 normal students there are maybe 3-4 or so yudansha with an additional 2-3 ikkyu. I have never obtained attention any less quickly than immediately if I had any question about technique. The classes are pretty small to boot.
Sometimes there's the occasional stiff-armed white belt around (I did start like that!), but ego is left at the door. Everyone I've mingled with to date has shown to be great fun. However, it's not because we're all fun that we won't throw each other on our asses. When I joined, I was made very welcome around and it's always fun to socialise a little between picking one's carcass off the ground.
The instruction is pretty traditional as a result of Judo-Québec's more conservative emphasis. Etiquette is pretty important. However, no titles are used, and one doesn't call the instructors "sensei". A simple "sir" does the trick. Etiquette is present but not over the top. This contributes to a relaxed learning experience coupled with the traditionalist stuff some people may be attracted to.
The Judo-Québec curriculum includes jujutsu based "self-defense" techniques as a prerequisite for certain promotions (our dojo is affiliated with Judo-Québec, like 99% of clubs in the province). They do include atemi-waza (strikes) but as we're a Judo club, not a jujutsu one, strikes aren't used outside of these techniques and certain kata. Strikes are learned, yes, but if one is looking for striking instruction, then obviously a Judo dojo isn't a very good idea.
Our dojo has success in various regional competitions (like the Jeux du Québec), but I have not heard of anyone from our place competing internationally (perhaps we do have the potential though, and perhaps I have heard wrong). Our dojo is about 50/50 tachi-waza and ne-waza, in contrast to some Judo clubs that focus too much on stand-up, so we do have two phases of grappling that are taught with about equal focus.
I'd put a 7.5 if I could, but that's a 7 for Bullshido.
Well, the goshin-jutsu-no-kata does have weapons, so I suppose I can't really put n/a. But from there to learning how to use them well? Judo is not a weapons art. But we do wield fake swords, knives and pistols in kata only, so it's a 1. Goshin-jutsu-no-kata is perfect for the LARPers around here who want to wield weapons and learn gun disarms, however, if you're going to learn Judo for weapons, maybe you're a little on the slow side.
I have a lot of fun in my dojo. The head instructors are always around and are very personable, as is everyone else in the dojo. We're a small community that welcomes new members with open arms, and we learn how to throw each other to boot for an affordable price.
Obvious downsides are the small size and the lack of equipment, but they are pretty minor, in my opinion, compared to the upsides the club provides (student-to-teacher ratio, aliveness, attitude, etc). The lack of gender-segregated changerooms isn't a problem if you arrive dressed as most people do, and equipment other than mats are just optional in the practice of Judo.
I would heartily recommend my dojo to anyone looking for a Judo club in the Greater Québec City area.
Last edited by kikoolol; 3/19/2009 7:00pm at .