Bushido Judo - Durham, NC (and Burlington, NC)
Bushido Judo is a non-profit school which I've attended for the last 2.5 years at the time of this posting. As far as I know this is the only Judo club in the Research Triangle Park area that competes aside from UNC Chapel Hill's program (some of whose students visit us fairly regularly).
The facilities are adequate, but not amazing. A little bit more room would be nice, but it's not too bad. The only real complaint is lack of crash pad, but we're actually taking up collections to purchase one now. In all honesty, it suits my style perfectly; I wouldn't feel right in a fancy schmancy place.
Students get a lot more than they pay for with Sensei Stokes charging only $55 a month. The black belts often outnumber the rest of the students combined, sometimes double, which means you can expect an insane amount of individualized attention. Some of the black belts have experience in international competition, one is currently training at the Olympic Training Center via invitation. We have at least two (I think three though) national level referees as well. We also have plenty of casual players too.
I only gave the grappling an 8 since groundwork, while definitely not neglected (usually we do 20 minutes of rolling per class), doesn't always receive the same level of in-depth instruction as standup. We tend to drill specific techniques for standup each class, but often (though not always) newaza is a learn-as-you-go process with one of the many black belts or an experienced brown taking time out of smooshing you to show you a new trick and let your drill it on them. The throwing instruction is fantastic, endless variations of the same throws are covered and the instructors really understand how to make Judo work for different body-types.
Overall, I think it's a fantastic school, and the people are amazingly friendly in a genuine way and will make you feel welcome from day one. If I had children of my own, I would definitely take them here; Sensei Stokes and Davis are great with kids, they all seem to love it (at the end of every class, the kids simultaneously charge and dogpile him .02s after bowing out), and I'm continually amazed when I show up a little early and watch randori at the end of the kid's class how much skill kids whom I thought were too young to get it are developing a few months later.
They also have a program in Burlington, NC (which is also taught by Sensei Stokes, I can't believe he makes that commute, he's crazy) which also has a "Full Contact class", essentially Judo mixed with Muay Thai which he co-teaches with a MT instructor.
P.S. The website is outdated and the god-awful mat in the pictures has long-since been replaced with a good one.
Wow, sounds like an awesome school you have down there; my girlfriend has family down near UNC; if its not too far, I'll try to make it out there for a visit next time we head down to NC. I may also subtly suggest it for her nephew; he's doing aikido now, and I know its really hard to teach a large group of kids,and not to bash aikido per se, but I watched a class at his dojo and I wasn't super impressed. Especially with the quality of ukemi, which I think is one of the best martial arts skills kids can possibly learn.
A well written review - glad to hear you're happy with the place.
We do in fact have a crash pad now and some major (and exciting) improvements/changes are in store for the club. I'll update when it actually happens.
Well, a lot has changed (for the better) over the last couple of years.
For one thing, Bushido has branched out. Besides Durham and Burlington, we have a class in Raleigh and Cary as well. Your club membership is good at all locations, so if you're willing to travel (and some of us do), you can train Judo up to 7 days a week now.
And it's not just Judo anymore. $70 for adults will get you access to any of our classes at any location.
Besides Judo, the original Durham location has an adult/teen Karate class with lots of contact, a Kung Fu class (Wing Chun & Tai Chi), and Jujitsu (self-defense focused, but not the compliant non-sparring type).
Cary and Raleigh only have Judo classes and I think Burlington has Judo and Jujitsu.
Kids classes are $50, as I think they only have Judo and self-defense to choose from. We have a nice-sized crew of beginners now, including several women, so it's a good time to join if you're just starting out.
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