What you'll find at Sakura Judo ClubClasses, self-defense, belts, tournaments, and community
Classes at Sakura Judo
What to expect
If you were to come to our club and watch us do judo, here is what you would see:
- We have bare feet and wear judo uniforms (called judo-gi).
- We are of different ages, abilities, and goals.
- When we step onto the mat, we bow to each other, in the Japanese custom.
- We begin every class with falling practice. Falling safety is fundamental to judo, and everybody practices it together. The more experienced students help the beginners.
- After falling practice, we practice the moves that are common to many judo techniques and build muscle memory and strength. We use games to make this fun, especially with the kids.
- Then, we have a lesson. We focus on one or two specific techniques per class. Sometimes this is a new technique, and sometimes we revisit an old one and combine it with others.
- Last, we do free practice (called randori) or routines (called kata).
All of our classes work on…
- Safe falling – Safe falling can be a lot of fun. We do a lot of rolls and tumbling.
- Efficiency – Efficiency means using balance, coordination, timing, and flexibility and just a the right amount of muscle. It’s the best use of power.
- Mutual benefit – At its heart, judo is a cooperative activity that allows people to work together. We coach each other, encourage each other, provide feedback, and support.
- Judo throws, pins, and escapes – Techniques of judo include throws (like a “take down” in wrestling), pins, escapes, and for adults who wish to, chokes and joint locks. There are 67 traditional throws, each with a right-hand and a left-hand version.
- Judo in daily life – The founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, spoke of Small Judo and Big Judo. Small Judo is what we do when we practice at the club. Big judo is what we do when we use the theories and mental techniques of judo to make the world a better place.
- Fitness – Judo is a great cardio workout. It also gives you flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. If you aren’t in great shape, that’s okay. Judo is a great way to lose weight and get in shape. The best fitness routine is one that you enjoy enough to want to come back to!
Classes for kids & adults
- Judo – Kids (Ages 5+) and adults are taught during the same time to encourage learning from one another. We do warm ups together then split into smaller age-appropriate groups for specialized training and fun. We join together again at the end.
- Balance and Stretching – Especially for older adults. We do balance games, gentle stretching exercises, and work on body awareness, spatial awareness, and mindfulness.
Belts in judo
Belt colors are distinctions of rank, skill, and progress. Judo players (called judoka) start out with a white belt and progress through yellow, orange, blue, green, purple, and brown on their way to black. It usually takes months to advance from white belt to the next higher rank.
A black belt indicates a level of mastery, and is a big step. It takes years to earn. There are ten levels of black belt. Levels 6, 7, & 8 can wear a red and white belt for ceremonial occasions. Levels 9 and 10 can wear solid red.
Every judo student begins wearing a white belt. As your skill grows, you get promoted to higher and higher ranks, indicated by belt color. ( Read about ranks in judo.)
It usually takes 2-4 months to advance from white belt to the next higher rank, whose belt color is yellow. As the ranks become more challenging, it takes longer to achieve them. We have promotion ceremonies about every two months to recognize the achievements of class participants.
Adults belts are
Kids belts are
How to earn a higher rank
- Show an attitude of support, inclusion, and effort.
- Show efficiency in movement. This involves body awareness, spacial awareness, and best use of strength.
- Create mutual welfare. Make your judo class a group activity that benefits everybody.
- Learn judo techniques. Each belt level has a list of throws, pins, escapes, combinations, and more.
- Put it all together and use what you learned in context. Use it on the mat. Use it in your life.
You will see students of all different ranks in your class at Sakura Judo. Students of lower rank benefit from training with and learning from higher-ranking students. Students of higher rank benefit from developing their skills in providing value to the community, one of the basic tenets of judo.
This class mostly appeals to women over the age of 60, but everyone is invited. We do gentle stretches, light cardio training, balance exercises, and games. Everybody has different strengths and limitations, and we meet each other half-way and make accommodations for bad knees, replaced hips, and sore hands. The games are fun and playful. We never keep score.
Increased strength and balance helps prevent falls. Some simple self-defense measures are included from time to time.
Come give it a try. We’d love to have you join us.