So I had my first Judo class

Discussion in 'Judo' started by Jsnow, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Jsnow

    Jsnow New Member

    Yesterday night I went to my first Judo class that a couple of you recommended to me on my first thread. I arrived to the class 30 mins prior to start, as instructed to sign up. I paid my dues, and was given my Gi.

    I was not instructed how to properly tie my belt on (white).
    When I go into the training area, the section had already begun warm ups. One of the other students (blue belt) saw me struggling to get the belt on properly. He came off to the side and started helping me. He told me that it was confusing to do it for someone other then himself, so he was like just tie it off. I did.

    The warm ups consisted of Cart wheels, forward and back rolls, and breakfalls. I nailed the cart wheels surprisingly and was conditioned for the rolls possible because of my military background. The breakfalls on the other hand were new.
    From research on this forum, it seemed like this would've been the first thing drilled into me.

    This class consisted of 3 white belts (including myself), 1 blue, 3 brown, and 4 black belts. 2 of which are the instructors.
    One of the instructors saw I was never taught this before being as how he just signed me up 15 minutes prior and showed me 1 back and sidefall.
    We then moved on with instruction. The first thing he went over was an arm bar. I have 4 months muay thai and bjj training from around 5 years ago. I was also certified in level 1 army combatives.
    Regardless, this stuff was a bit rusty. Upon doing 1 arm bar on the junior instructor, we moved right into some type of triangle choke.

    The head Sensei seemed to care very little he had someone who wasn't instructed on anything in this class, and the other instructor would just go along with whatever the head sensei jumped to and would show me it once and then walk away.
    This continued for the first 30 minutes of class. I pretty much just walked over to the blue belt who helped previously and stood by him.

    The class then watched a Randori (sp?). The mock match where there is referee. After that, he had all the blues, browns, and black belts duke it out in the ring. It seemed fun, and the guys seemed to know what they were doing. However, after this was over they wanted us to practice this certain throw. I again, not knowing what the hell I was doing paired myself up with this blue belt. He showed me the concept of what we were doing, but it took some time as I figured it would.

    The junior instructor came by once, corrected something, and then walked off again. As soon as we did that, the class was told to do what I was called rolling. Starting from the knees and going 60 percent power. I was familiar with this from my MMA training. During the course of this, I was kind of man handling the blue belt, I have him by about 15 lbs and he is a tad younger and weaker. All of sudden, I am told I did a penalty because I extended my legs while I had him in my guard.
    I was taught to which the person in your guard around using your legs to keep them off balance. Apparently, that's a foul in the sport. I just drove on. After that, it seemed kind of a free for all, and I asked the blue belt what he thinks I should work on first. He taught me the "using the wheel concept" where to you use your grip on the opponents Gi to pull and push them off balance. He quickly showed me this sweep drill, where you side step with your partner and on a certain timing sweep his legs out.
    After about 5 minutes of that, the head sensei called us all back to the side of the training area. We bowed, and that was the end of my first class.

    Now, I understand I am supposed to be feeling very overwhelmed because I was just introduced to my first judo sport class I guess, but I am really lost in the sauce. I asked the blue belt in the changing room if I am supposed to be this lost. He told me that he had been coming here for a year now, and that it was a competitive gym. He said they don't really have a newbie training program, but that I will pick it up eventually.
    I think I am psyching myself out about what I envisioned my first couple of classes to go like, and just need to know if this is the norm for most of you. I feel like I was tossed out in the water and it is sink or swim. This is not an odd feeling for me because I am still active duty Army, and this is usually every day of my life. Again, any input from you guys is most valued. Thanks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2013
  2. Princess Haru

    Princess Haru Valued Member

    I think this is just the way it is with Judo when there isn't a dedicated beginner class. I started at a University club so along with about 50 other beginners could go over the basics in more detail for the first few weeks... but thenafter you are a bit in the deep end. I also learned techniques upto brown belt level before even taking my red, which again is quite normal. Most uchi komi throw practice does feel a bit strange at first, partly when a lot of classes go over some throws so many many times. Sounds like you did fine!

    There are a number of ways of tying a double wrap belt, here's one.

    [ame=""]How to tie your judo belt - YouTube[/ame]
  3. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Sounds less friendly than would of been ideal, but with that wide a range of belts among relatively few members I'm not too surprised. There's too varied a skillset to have a proper inclusive class imo. Plus they could have a high turnover and have just adopted a policy of not caring too much about new people until you prove you're sticking with it. I know a couple people like that.

    That said, even with those reasons I wouldn't be jumping to recommend the place.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  4. Princess Haru

    Princess Haru Valued Member

    The other thing I noticed in my club is that there have been a number of people from other grappling backgrounds who wore a white belt but were clearly quite handy, one was even a blackbelt in Judo (but was often helpful when I partnered and tried randori). Some wore other colours below their level, like the yellow belt who would slaughter me in randori, but is a brown belt in another association. Some people with a lot of rugby pick up judo quickly too.
  5. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Doesn't sound like a very well-strctured class to me. I'd give it a few weeks just to see if it improves (for all I know there might have been a lot of regulars away that particular time you went, or something.) But I wouldn't sign up for membership just yet if I were you.
  6. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Man, that was really good to read! Thanks for posting. I think that after a while once you learn the ropes you will definitely get the hang of it and feel more part of the group.
  7. Kuniku

    Kuniku The Hairy Jujutsuka

    In our jujitsu classes when a new person turns up there are various ways the sensei will "deal" with them (for lack of a better word)

    if they're a friend of someone in the class, usually for familiarities sake, often the new student will partner with their friend (if there is a massive size difference this usually means that the 2 throws in the first belt are ignored until a class or two later when the new student is more familiar with people and will be paired with someone a similar size etc)

    After the warm up the sensei will teach a technique to the new student, and once they have a vague grasp of it he'll go attend to someone else while the new student and partner drill that technique. Sensei will return after a few minutes or a "lap" of the class, check the students grasp of the technique, and if it is ok (at a basic level) teach another technique - rinse and repeat etc

    If it is not a friend of a existing student then sensei will usually pair them with a higher belt (brown or black) for the first class or two who can help them with what they are doing, but generally sensei still teaches the techniques.

    If the new student turns up with a friend often sensei, or another shodan+ will pretty much spend the evening with the pair.

    We're very new person friendly ^_^ its just a shame people don't tend to last... can't take the pain =p
  8. Jsnow

    Jsnow New Member

    Thanks for all the replies guys. The club is 25 dollars a month which is cheap. They do this because the local police department lets us train in their gym. Ill give it the rest of the month and see if it improves. If not, ill be a lost soul once more. It did look incredibly fun though, I just wasn't having much :(
  9. Kuma

    Kuma Lurking about

    Give it some time if you enjoyed it. Being new to Judo myself, there is a lot of confusing parts to it. It actually doesn't sound structured too bad (showing two grappling moves which is good for beginners to learn as it doesn't require ukemi, then a demo of randori, then covering a throw and doing some rolling). It sounds like a newaza (groundfighting) oriented class so maybe another class will cover more throws and beginner level stuff.

    Just relax, have fun, and try to learn what you can. You won't be an Olympic level Judoka right off the bat.
  10. Kuniku

    Kuniku The Hairy Jujutsuka

    I hope it picks up for you during the rest of the month =)
  11. Jsnow

    Jsnow New Member

    I'm sure it will. It seemed pretty fascinating :)
  12. Bomber

    Bomber Valued Member

    Judo is hard and takes time to learn. Quite a lot is learned by just doing rather than being over taught. In Japan basics are drilled but most of the learning is self discovery in randori (sparring). Not that I am saying this is the best way of teaching, rather it is common in mixed ability mats.
  13. benkei

    benkei Valued Member

    The class you are describing has the difficulty of being both small and diverse in ability. Even with the same instructors if you doubled the size of the class things would no doubt be very different. It is very hard to accommodate so many skill levels in such a small class - at least in a larger class you can pair the ability levels up and let them do their own thing a bit more.

    I've been doing judo for 9ish years now (a drop in the ocean compared to most) but I see (and I think you should look at) development very much along the lines of the old guild system for craftsman. When you are a beginner, stay put and learn as much as you can until you have the basics down (which I generally put at about green belt level). You will frequently wonder why things are done this way or that way, and you may not even like some things. However, it is all about doing the reps and getting your body in tune with judo, which can be done in even an average judo school.
    By green belt level (assuming you are an average person) you have a decent handle on 4 or so throws, can do randori comfortably and aren't scared of falling. Once you hit this point, it's time to head out into the big wide world and start learning from other people. Now you can more accurately compare things and make the best decisions for your development.
    My 2 cents worth - give it a couple of months and see how it goes. If there is another dojo in the area, give it a try to see if you like it better. Once you make a decision, just stick with it for a year or two and take the good with the less good. No dojo is perfect.
  14. Herbo

    Herbo Valued Member

    The general issue with mixed judo classes such as this is that there's very poor return for time invested in beginners. Even with 1 to 1 tuition and baby steps for the first month or so most people will leave due to the rough nature of the sport.

    Therefore you end up with the situation where you find yourself in, where the head coach concentrates on his established players and if you want to join the club then you need to keep coming and learning what you can until you're able to play with the big boys.

    Just keep at it and you will pick it up. Learn from everyone you can, colour belts as well. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions during the practising of the throws.
  15. u6s68

    u6s68 Valued Member

    Why did you switch from BJJ and MMA to Judo? How is the class going now?
  16. MaxSmith

    MaxSmith Valued Member

    I can't tell you how spot on I think this is. Judo has a crazy turn over rate among beginners. I think- to that end- there is a bit more of a sink or swim attitude built into the culture.

    While I was still attending judo classes regularly it was pretty common to have a new white belt or two every couple of workouts, always going go, always buying a gi and signing up for a month or so, almost never returning after the first class. And the dojo I was in was a bit more beginner friendly than yours.

    I'd say just keep showing up. You will start to pick things up after awhile and, if you demonstrate a desire to stick with it, you'll probably find the instructors start paying more attention to you.
  17. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Just wonder whether your instructor taught you how to put your Judo top Gi on?

    Do you put your right arm into your Judo Gi first, or do you put your left arm into your Judo Gi first? This may sound like a stupid question but if you put your right/left arm in first, your opponent will know you are a right/left hand person. To hide yourself and not to let your opponent to have that information is very important during tournament competition. In order to build up a good habit not to release your information, you have to learn how to put on your Gi during day one.

    When I put my Gi on, I will

    - hold on the shoulder parts of my Gi.
    - let the open part of my Gi to face outside.
    - flip my Gi up.
    - raise both of my arms.
    - let my Gi to slide down through both my arms at the same time.

    Why do I need to do this? My opponent won't know if I'm a right hand person, or I'm a left hand person. Just wonder if this kind of ancient method still be used today.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  18. Alienfish360

    Alienfish360 Valued Member

    Not exactly the same, however, I first started in Muay Thai about 8 years ago, and that was in a competitive gym, after warm up, exercise and conditioning work, it was pretty much straight into sparring drills.

    As a newbie, it was very overwhelming and only getting occasional correction, it took a long time to develop any abilities, but it was a competitive gym, aimed at turning out fighters, not teaching new people, and with large classes meant there was little time.

    Conversely, after I went back to it a couple of months ago, the new gym has much smaller classes, and are willing to work each person individually to their own needs.

    So, what I am kind of saying is that the attitude to new people varies gym to gym, but when I spent a few years at the competitive gym I still felt that my technique wasn't great, but when I went back to the new gym this year, I realised that I had actually learned quite a bit.

    Stick with it, and most importantly keep asking questions.
  19. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    That is the most paranoid thing I've ever heard.

    If I saw someone do that, I'd walk over to them and say "Dude. I'll know if you're right or left handed the second you reach for a grip and I have a plan to through you on your back either way. Also - I'm left handed."
  20. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I'm a right hand person. I always attack my opponent's left side first. This may make my opponent to think that I'm a left hand person. When he pays attention on his left side, his right side will open for me.

    If you are a left hand person, I should spend most of my effort to prevent your body from spinning to your right (clockwise - top view). I will never let you to get your right hand grip on my left elbow or on my right sleeve. Of course after the 1st round, you will know that I'm a right hand person. It's the 1st round that I try to hide that information from you. In 2 out of 3 rounds rule set, the 1st round winning is very important.

    I thought in the grappling art, this is pretty much "common sense". People had done this through the ancient time. It's nothing new there.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014

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