After our move to Oakland Strength Factory at the end of December, we’ll have a lot more space to add classes. This is the first in an occasional series that will introduce you to all the new things we have planned for 2018. (Click here to see the new full schedule for January 2018!)
When I started high school one of my judo sensei, Anthony Daniels, recommended that I join the wrestling team to help my judo. At first I was skeptical – wrestling seemed less “cool” than judo to me at the time – no belts, no bowing, no ippon. In fact, I didn’t even wrestle my freshman year. The next fall he was after me again – “Jonah, did you sign up for wrestling yet? You have to sign up for wrestling!” Finally I went ahead and signed up, and I’m so glad I did! After just one year of wrestling, my judo newaza (ground work) improved significantly – I was stronger, more aggressive, and had better control of my opponents. I ended up being the captain of the team and won a league championship in my senior year at 171 pounds.
Two of our most successful American judoka ever, Jimmy Pedro and Jason Morris, were also both very successful wrestling in high school and college. Jimmy Pedro, a judo world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, went to Brown University on a wrestling scholarship and went as far as the round of 12 at the NCAA championship wrestling tournament. Jason Morris, an Olympic silver medalist, went to Syracuse University on a wrestling scholarship and placed 5th at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships, earning All-American honors.
Click below to watch a video of Jason Morris winning the New York state high school wrestling championships using a variety of unorthodox moves imported from judo.
Judo and wrestling are closely related. They both fall under the umbrella term grappling – meaning a form of unarmed combat where kicks, punches and other strikes are not allowed. Our wrestling class will be a mix of folkstyle and freestyle wrestling with an emphasis on takedowns, turnovers, ground control and pins. No uniform is required – athletic shorts and t-shirt is all you need.
Kid’s wrestling will be on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30, directly following judo class. All Oakland Judo kids are encouraged to attend a few trial classes, regardless of your membership plan.