Samurai Judo Club
Samurai Judo Club is a small, friendly Judo club, headed by 5th dan Judoka, Steve Potter sensei.
The club is predominantly comprised of black belt ranks, with a smattering of lower ranked practitioners. Families also train there, with kids as young as 8, and veterans at over 50 years of age.
Official training sessions are held every Tuesday evening from 6pm to 8pm. The training typically comprises of:
- Around 15 minutes of stretches, warm-up, and ukemi.
- This is often followed by uchikomi (technique repetition) for around 10 minutes.
- The class then moves straight into randori (free sparring). Randori is divided into tachi waza (standing technique) randori, with the objective of producing good throws; and ne waza (ground technique) randori. The total amount of time spent on randori is around 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the number of people in class.
- After randori, there is usually some time spent on specialised techniques or discussions on non-technique matters, such as competition rules, tactics, or self defence adaptations. Trainees may spend around 10 to 15 minutes practising the material.
- Training is wound up with a brief game. Usually involving divisions into two teams, racing each other with medicine ball passes, push-ups, etc. Sometimes mock sumo wrestling contests are held. Lots of laughs!
Quality of instruction is extremely high. Aside from the sensei, there are two black belt members who often assist in instruction, along with nomadic black belts from other local dojos. Most of the members compete at least once in a while at state and national level events Some members have won those competitions, and even international events, such as the Pan Pacific Masters Games. Inter-state and international travelling Judoka also visit and train occasionally: we've had a 5th dan from Japan, a very competitive British player, and practitioners of BJJ, TKD, and other arts as well. Some of them are invited to show their own tips on the mat, which are often enlightening.
Inter-club competitions are held between the dojo and two other local dojos. They're really meant for kids, but adults are more than welcome to square off against each other.
The only negatives are the limited space and the mats. The space is reasonably wide for a class of up to around 10 people. But sometimes when class sizes go over (especially when whole families are involved), the mat can be very crowded. People have smashed into walls (the holes serve as dark and humorous reminders of "mutual benefit") and rolled on each other. They don't happen often, but situation awareness is certainly an important attribute when doing randori on a crowded mat! The mats themselves are old straw tatami mats. Although I'm sure they were good mats in their day, they are VERY HARD! If you're used to gymnastics style foam mats, beware! Your ukemi had better be good!
Overall, a great dojo.