T Nation

Finding Good Resources in a Small Town


A few of you might remember my first post here; I was the one looking for workout recommendations for starting judo. Well, I started judo and it was worse than I expected. I mean, I didn't have high hopes for the quality of the instruction because I live in a really small town, but it was BAD. The class was being taught by a brown belt who earned his belt 20 years ago and has done karate, not judo, ever since then. He said all sorts of things during the class that made me question his expertise, like judo came from juijitsu, that judo was about locks and holds while juijitsu was about throws, that judo is a fairly new thing, and when he started trying to teach, he would show a move one time, not say anything about how to do it correctly, and then have us try on each other. Also, there was no etiquette whatsoever. No bowing, spacing, stance, sitting position, class organization, or even required outfit. He said he wasn't going to even wear a judo gi because it was too hot; he was just going to stick to his karate one. After class, my training friend, who did judo for two years before coming to this school and is a green belt, said that what he taught us was wrong, showed me the right way to do it (which admittedly worked many times better) and we've been talking about what we should do ever since.

I decided to not go back. It seems like all that's going to happen is I'll learn poor form, relearn it if my trianing partner happens to know better, and be constantly pissed off about the instructor's faults.

In the mean time, I discovered that my school also has an MMA club that focuses on juijitsu, which is what I really wanted to learn but wasn't aware of until ones of the guys in the judo class told me about it. However, I'm still very worried about the quality of instruction. I can't move, I don't have time to drive to a the nearest town 2 hours away twice a week, what the fuck am I supposed to do?


Why is he teaching a Judo class? Is this a school club and he was the most qualified or is this a private dojo?

First the short answer is Judo does owe its origins to jujutsu. The founder of Judo was trained in jujutsu (a sort of catch all term for Japanese empty handed martial arts) prior to creating his own style. This happened in the 1880's so truly Judo is young compared to jujutsu and Brazilian Jiu-jutsu is in its infancy. His first students were trained in jujutsu and possibly Aiki-jutsu prior to becoming Judo men. Eventually a Judo stylist went to Brazil and wound up teaching several brothers of a family named Gracie for a time. The Gracies would eventually come to refer to their art as jiu-jutsu. Gracie Jiu-jutsu is a trademarked style in this country with Rorion Gracie holding the trademark. Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu/BJJ is what is generally used when referring to this Brazilian style of grappling. This liniage is why I have heard Judo men make the tounge in cheek claim that BJJ stands for Basically Just Judo. Yes the majority of BJJ techniques can be found in Judo books. The emphasis on ground work/ne-waza is the most defining characteristic but some Judo schools also emphasis ground work, I am thinking of Kosen Judo here. As far as sport/technique goes at this point the competitive rules of each sport are driving the differences in technique more than any real style vs style purity.

Because Jujutsu is sort of a generic term claiming what it emphasizes relative to Judo is sort of meaningless. The sensei could be correct or dead wrong depending on the Ryu of Jujutsu in question.

This is kind of pseudo traditional. Demonstrate, students mimic, no questions until you have done it 1,000 times. And of course once you have done it 10,000 times (10,000 being an analog to infinity here) you will have transcended the technique and reached elightenement. I somethimes miss this, although I think there are better ways.

Not "traditional", of course I feel driven to point out that most of the rigid formality in Japanese martial arts was instituted in gearing up for WWII. I am not so sure the uniform thing matters all that much. The cut is a bit different. Karate gi's tend to rip easier. The big one is the collars tend to cut and tear your skin when you get lapel choked. If you want to wear a Karate gi to grapple with me I say fine. Just costs you more money and maybe a bit of skin/blood.

Ok, so that is settled. I would check to see if he was a sub or the only teacher though.

No way to know unless you watch/try. If you cannot go anywhere else because of geography you may have to dance with the gal that brung ya. Is all of this happening through on campus student clubs, or is this a Dojo? Are you paying? How much? I really want to know what the MMA club is teaching/training. Is it grappling, but no one has a belt so we call it MMA. Are they actually competing in amateur MMA matches?


Robert A



Apparently he's teaching it becaues he's the only one who's somewhat knowledgeable and agreed to teach. I'm taking it through a university, not a dojo. I wish there was a dojo.

It would be easier to learn visually if there were less than 20 other people trying to watch and blocking your view. What he originally taught us was a foot sweep and I couldn't see anything other than what looked like him kicking the other person's foot out of the way. It turned out I was supposed to be cupping my foot and sliding it along the floor.

He was the scheduled teacher through the college.

According to what I saw on the facebook page, the college's MMA fighters have been in competitions and placed. I know, I was shocked when I saw that. I am now worried because I also saw that it's all guys (I'm a woman) and none of them are close to my body weight.

Apparently there's also a judo club, but that might have been disbanded. There's no formal advertising for any of the clubs. It's kind of ridiculous.



RobertA as usual has some very sound advice.

Judo is kind of easy to find. Its kind of like the biggest sport in the world.


your in a college town?

have you thought of checking with any Asian businesses?
or churches?
or other places that teach martial arts- Tae kwon do etc?

I'm serious.
Not all places that teach or host MA are on the interwebz or findable through google.

sniff around check out any martial arts schools that are close and pay them a visit
ask what else they teach- do they do Judo.
do they do JuJitsu.
do they have someone who would do it? if there was interest.

shit checkout any local crossfit- always with them is somebody with a blue gi in their closet.
try a yoga place or shit even some crazy food co-ops with have little local notices posted.
or a veterans hall- found some great places via those guys, old geezers know everyone.

or post your own notices.

this is how I found places to train when I was traveling for work with a few shows
I did that for 2 to 3 years throughout the continental 48 and trained plenty.
was in plenty of shit towns too.

If you are at a class, and you can't see- treat it like a regular college course
move your seat , ask to see it again.

some of the 'formality' you see in judo - you wont see in BJJ
and you will never see in an MMA place and for all the pomp and circumstance
- getting 20+ young adults to sit quitely and still
I don't mind the rigidness then.

basically I am saying is to widen the net.
if you really want to find a BJJ or Judo school you can find one.
lots of the women who log in PW or here do BJJ- or something else
and are the only women at their club and do fine.

that and you kind of wine allot.


Wanting to find a good training situation is whining? First the importance of finding a good instructor is emphasized in numerous threads on here and then when someone asks for more specifc advice because they feel that their instructor isn't qualified, they're whining?

The college town that I live in consists of about 5000 people when college isn't in session; the college becasically consists of 17-22 year olds who go home to live with their parents during the summer. The town itself is 2 miles big and surrounded by ~200miles of farmland/sneeze-and-miss-them towns in all directions.

I moved here a couple years ago from a large city with a well-developed martial arts community and have been in numerous dojos throughout the years (tae kwon do, aikido, hapkido). The instruction difference between even a beginning, parks and recreation karate intro class when I was 8, and what I walked into two days ago was pretty extreme. Just imagine a fat, old man walking around in a t-shirt and baggy jeans, and spending a fourth of the class talking about his wife who may or may not trust him, half of it talking about his karate experience, and a fourth of the class on two moves.

Either way, your suggestions are good. Thanks.


in your case- Yes.

you are a bit of a kneejerk typer.

If you want to train you can find a way.

I first went to college in a tiny tiny town bit of culture shock coming from the biggest city in the us.

bullshit agriculture technology college
they happened to have had an amazing wrestling program which is why I
went there.

close enough to run or ride a bike was a world ranked Greco Roman club.

and I found the state trooper Barracks less then 4 miles away had a Judo club
so you could easily walk to that one.


You're just a ray of sunshine aren't yah? Lol.


when the student is ready, the teacher will come



You may not see yourself as whining in your posts, but if you squint your eyes and look over yonder you can certainly see whining from where you are at.

A couple of thoughts:

Judo is already teaching you a lesson about how expectations and plans get altered by objective reality.

It sounds like the Judo/Karate club was an initial intro/get to know me type deal. I would go back a couple more times to make sure it is as bad as you say. He may be a better teacher once he gets comfortable. The class may improve once some of the less dedicated quit. If he has spent a ton of years in Karate maybe he can teach that? Besides, if the choices are no martial arts, or show up to the club and try to learn, it may be worth going just until you find another option.

Follow KMC's suggestions about checking around town. Ask the old people. My experience is earnest requests about learning martial arts/combat sports seldom fall on def ears. Every teacher I have ever met could get talked into taking on an earnest and hard working student, age, gender, and finances be damned. Conversely, being perceived as not being genuine, willing to learn, and willing to practice gets a cold shoulder.

If you can, drag your training partner to the MMA club. Then you are not the only female, and you also are bringing another beginner to drill with. Even if she quits after the first month, or only makes half the classes it may help you integrate in with the club/team. Give it a shot.

Unless you have your heart set on wearing a gi, you may want to check into wrestling clubs. The fundamentals will help you in any grappling martial art you practice. With the popularity of MMA and submission grappling it would not surprise me to find out the high school wrestling coach or another club is doing something involving submissions as well.

Worst case, a mat, a laptop, some instructional DVD's, and willing workout partners can get good results. No, it will not be as good as having a real sensei/coach. Yes, you will develop some bad habits and miss holes in your game. You can still learn.

Wherever you go:
Try to at least give the coach/class an honest shot. Practice what was taught. Even walking through a technique a bit, maybe 20 minutes of honest work between classes can make a great deal of difference in how well you learn. In case kmcnyc is not the only person whom has ever taken what you say/write "wrongly" or as "whining"; there is a huge gulf of difference between being new and asking your coach/teacher/senior students a ton of questions and asking them a ton of questions that are prefaced with "I was working on this after class and ______________". Hell, showing the Judo/Karate club instructor you are serious by practicing may change the entire experience.


Robert A

EDIT: Off Topic- kmcnyc please keep you and yours safe and dry this weekend. Potable water, you never have enough. Batteries. Flashlights. Bleach for disinfecting things. Iodine can clean cuts, guard against radiation, and be used to sanitize contaminated drinking water if need be. (No it is not great long term. Yes it smells and tastes bad. Hypothetically, I may have dumped enough tincture of iodine into sketchy water until it just started to get a color to it with no ill effect.)


Swartfather- I so <3 that


keeping in this off topic hijack-thank you

and Irish is in NJ he should take care too.

I am actually working tomorrow

the MTA is actually shutting down mass transit Tomorrow at 12 noon-
for the first time in my life, and its history.
Its a little crazy.

Me while not an alarmist or survivalist
I have plenty of flashlights, candles water foods hygenic stuffs

wife and Baby and dog are evacuating - I probably have to stay



I am glad to hear you are getting your family out.

I already typed something in Irish's log.

If you have to go into work, bring shit with you. Knife, flashlight, butane lighter, spare socks, iodine dropper, super glue/redneck stitches, any prescription/allergy meds/contact solution/other forseeable needs, and cash would be on me at all times. I would also want to have a couple plastic bags big enough to put my feet in(temporary waterproof shoe liners), a pocket pack of kleenex(or toilet paper if it comes to that), and a spare cell phone battery. Stay smart. Be prepared for the stupidity of others.

Sorry, for the hijack ironcross.


Robert A


My point in making this entire thread wasn't that I was close to giving up. It seems that maybe some of you thought it was. I was simply trying to access some alterative ideas for finding martial arts clubs so I could continue. Martial arts aren't new to me; I've spent 4 years learning from the same teacher and as part of a federation. I'm familiar with the stick-with-it aspect, the giving it five nights a week, 4 hour long Saturday keiko, and competitions. However, because I learned from an instructor who judged and fought on an international level (kendo), I know that there are other instructors out there who wont get me anywhere. I met people who thought they did kendo back in the day. They trained with such instructors and they didn't know what they were doing. I felt embarrassed for these people and I am not going to be one of those people if I can help it. Given the popularity of Judo, I don't think I need to settle for a brown belt instructor. I'm going to learn how to wrestle and I'm going to do my best to not get it wrong.

The advice given by you all is actually very helpful, despite slight arguing, and I plan on taking it. Thank you.