I’ve been wanting to take Judo for a while
However, I’m having a little trouble finding judo classes in the northern Virginia area.
I know I should probably sit in on a class before I commit, but what should I be looking for?
Darshu42 did judo at a very nice club in NoVA (though it might be a bit further south then what you are looking for). Not sure the town. I told him to get on here and give you some pointers.
There is a small dojo in Great Falls (I guess actually Sterling) called the Great Falls Budokan … they do aikijiujitsu (roots of aikido), judo, and kenjitsu (sword – real swords). I did not study judo there, but they are a serious, traditional dojo that I would be happy to train at.
As far as looking at a random school, I would look for a blend of uchi-komi (practice throws with/without throwing), randori (free sparing), ground techniques, and “ground randori” (sparing on the ground using pins, joint locks, and chokes).
I would also pay attention to whether beginners are just told to “go randori” or if you are given some specific instruction (i.e. use THESE techniques only, and try THESE combinations). The beginner concerns are somewhat lessened if you come from a wrestling background … however, don’t fall back on your wrestling skills … try to push your judo techniques.
Many judo schools will also have training in Brazilian jiujitsu – this is quite nice if you are really leaning towards MMA – though the right judo school can give you much of what you need for MMA. There are judo schools that are 1) almost archaic in their traditional focus, 2) mainly Olympic focused (lots of Olympic style competitions), and 3) moved towards more general competition (MMA style). You should be able to tell which style the school is within about 10 minutes of walking in the door … definitely by the end of the evening.