This is Jeff. Jeff is a buddy and jiujitsu training partner of mine. I have about three to four inches of height and roughly thirty pounds on Jeff, but whenever we roll I can tell he is much, much, much stronger than me. I remember once we were practicing double leg takedowns and Jeff grabbed me by the legs (without letting his knees touch the ground, mind you) and hoisted me up above his head as if I were a six-year-old who needed to see over a crowd. Another time I had him in side control (also known as yoko-shiho-gatame or mune-gatame) and, not to boast, but I feel pretty comfortable in top side control. I had my weight on him and figured I could take my time deciding what to do next. Jeff was trying various escapes but I felt like I had him pretty well locked down. Then Jeff bench pressed me off him. It was shocking.
For all those reasons, when I found out that Jeff was opening a gym of his own, just down the street from Oakland Judo, I was intrigued. I scheduled a training session and went down to meet him. Oakland Strength Factory was formerly known as Dimond Fitness Center and looks deceptively small from the outside – there’s a regular size door sandwiched between a convenience store and some other business. Follow the short hallway inside and it open into a huge, airy space. It could probably comfortably fit a hundred people all working out at the same time.
Jeff explained that we would be looking at four basic movements – the Hinge, the Squat, Press, and Pull. Let me tell you, I was BLOWN AWAY by the entire thing. It was completely unlike any other strength workout I’ve ever done. It’s not bodybuilding, it’s definitely not crossfit, it’s way more efficient than just body weight exercises. To get the full effect you’ll have to schedule a session of your own, but what came across more than anything was the INCREDIBLE level of detail and attention to proper form Jeff brings to the table.
We used barbells, kettlebells, and something I’d never seen before – weighted clubs and maces. We swung these clubs and maces around in a very specific way that felt reminiscent of judo throws, and in fact Jeff mentioned that he is constantly trying to use judo metaphors to explain some of the movements, most of which his clientele doesn’t get. While I was swinging a four foot long club around my head, Jeff explained that for this movement the idea was to take the arm muscles almost completely out of the equation and rely on proper activation of the trunk and core muscles – sound familiar?? It’s almost like he was describing a perfect judo throw.
I believe I have found the perfect place to train strength and conditioning for judo. I strongly recommend all Oakland Judo members and anyone who wants to get stronger to go join Oakland Strength Factory. Jeff is building something really special over there.
Oakland Strength Factory is located at 2819 Macarthur Blvd. in Oakland, right next to the Loard’s Ice Cream parlor. They are open seven days a week.