What is Judo and what are its applications to mixed martial arts?
Judo is the heart and soul of close quarters MMA competition. It entails throws, take downs, immobilization (newaza), chokes (shime waza) and arm bars (kansetsu waza). Most of the non-striking skills used in MMA and Army Combative training are derived from well known judo techniques.
When did the Charlottesville Judo Academy open and what changes have you seen since the opening?
We started CJA in 1993 with 4 black belts and mostly kids in our immediate family. Since then we have grown to include a focus on family memberships primarily due to our great working relationship with the Piedmont Family YMCA where we are based and where I also serve on their Board of Directors. We have also greatly improved our coaching skills and competitive training. All of our coaches are certified local, regional, national or, like me, Continental, which means I can coach at the Pan American level competitions. Because of this focus on competitive judo and our efforts to improve our coaching skills, we have had a good number of our students medal/win national and international level tournaments. One of our juniors qualified for and participated in the Jr. World Tournament in 2009. We have also trained a member of the women’s senior world team and currently have 3 juniors on the USA Judo national roster, meaning they are ranked in the top 5 in the country in their respective age and weight groups.
What are the goals of the academy?
The primary goal of the dojo is fitness and wellness for our students and instructors. Like Thomas Jefferson says, “Without health there is no happiness.” People who train with us get strong and that bleeds into their daily lives. Being in good judo shape helps improve confidence and emotional well-being. We also have a goal to have fun while we learn the various standing or ground skills in judo. You will remember lots of laughter in our classes though we do train hard.
Who is able to train with you? Is experience necessary?
We will take anybody from age 6 and older. No experience is necessary.
Where are you located and when is the best time for a newcomer to swing in?
We are located in the YMCA administration building at 442 Westfield Road, very near Freestyle sporting goods and just off Highway 29.
How do you feel the Charlottesville Judo Academy benefits the community?
With our juniors program we promote personal confidence and wellness. We try our best to invite parents to work out with their children and many do. After 10 years at the Y, our junior workouts feel almost like a family reunion. We have students from Korea, Russia, Turkey, Puerto Rico and many different ethnic and religious groups. Our senior and advance juniors workout are more focused and give our students the skills they need for self defense or to be competitive at the local, regional, national or international level. It’s hard to put a quantitative value on that.