Picture Above: Nick Niakan, Me, Pete, OJ Soler, & Seung Jun Oh at my dojo in 2019.
My student Pete Araujo upon earning his shodan (1st degree black belt) and relocating to San Diego has been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the well-known Altos Academy for the several years. There he has successfully connected these two sister martial arts which I believe is the key to growing judo in the US.
The growth of judo is a topic that is often discussed by members of the judo community in the United States. Feelings regarding judo's current status often bring in-depth ideas on how to grow judo and the idea of building a cooperative partnership with the Brazilian Jiu jitsu (jiu jitsu) community. In the past, jiu jitsu academies and judo clubs often failed to find common ground, and many did not support their students cross-training arts for a variety of political and business reasons.
Of course, there are exceptions to this like San Diego BJJ operated by Paul Fernando, the Camarillo Jiu Jitsu Academy operated by Dan Camarillo, Harrisburg BJJ & Judo, LLC operated by David Brogan, and the Anaconda Academy operated by Jovany Varela.
While there are several well know judo dojos in this area San Diego, California is often called the "Mecca" of jiu jitsu as it is saturated with private academies. However, top judo players in this area have been more than willing to share their knowledge with jiu jitsu practitioners.
Most recently the San Diego based Atos Jiu Jitsu Academy which is known for being a warehouse of jiu jitsu world champions under legendary Abu Dhabi, Combat Champion and International Brazilian Jiu jitsu World Champion Professor, Andre Galvao began a judo class. Professor Galvao has shown his support for cross-training by allowing his student, instructor, and competitor, Professor Dominque Bell to open his academy's doors so he could share his knowledge of judo. Professor Bell is an accomplished jiu jitsu competitor in gi and no-gi competitions. He is also regarded as a very technical and detail orientated jiu jitsu instructor at Atos. Watch a Judo Instagram Video showing effective throws from judo in BJJ.
Professor Bell began training judo intensively and almost daily about 3 years ago because he realized the need to improve his takedown skills for competition and wanted to teach his students judo to prevent them from pulling guard as a reaction in a street situation. Professor Bell has trained under U.S. Olympic Coach Justin Flores at Studio 540 and attained a brown belt. He also trained with other judokas in the San Diego area which provided him a way to further develop his judo skillset.
Over the past three years his judo skills have grown rapidly because of the frequency of his training and the efficient way he trained judo on his own. In his small circle of regular judo training partners, he became known as the shodan killer because he frequently used high level techniques to consistently throw his shodan or higher training partners for ippon. His throw of choice is usually uchimata, inner thigh sweep. He has monetized his fascination with judo with a best-selling video aimed at BJJ practitioners.
Professor Bell was recently promoted to shodan by Sensei Ross MacBaisey from the San Shi Judo Club. He is now known at Atos on Sundays as "Sensei Dom." The promotion ceremony brought judokas and Jiu jitsu players together to celebrate his hard-earned promotion. As a result of the promotion, many others have become inspired to begin their path and learn judo.
Professor Bell's Judo class on Sundays is growing by the numbers every week. The judo "class" is not structured as many traditional judo club's classes are. Students spend the first 45 minutes warming up by their selection of uchikomi, technique with movement, or practicing throws on a crash pad. Judo black belts from nearby clubs are often present and assist new students with proper judo techniques.
One of the primary differences is the environment Professor Bell has embraced in his Judo class and this is what other judo clubs should look at to learn from. In a short amount of time, the Atos Jiu Jitsu Academy's judo class has indirectly grown judo and drawn a combination of high-level jiu jitsu competitors, Jiu jitsu hobbyists, past and present judokas together onto the mat to train judo. Professor Bell has modeled the way for others to grow Judo with an open-mindedness, respect, efficient training, and cooperation that has given those around him an understanding of the philosophy of jita kyoei.
Anyone interested in training judo at Atos can contact Professor Bell via Instagram direct messaging. He's known on social media as dubious Dom. These pictures depict some of the highest-level jiu jitsu players in the world taking off their jiu jitsu black belts and replacing them with a judo white belt. Solutions to the growth of judo do not need to be overly complicated. The keys are flexible attitudes, controlled egos, and an openness to the techniques of both arts. This bring people together and encourage the growth of judo.
Pete Araujo, Dominque Bell and Juan Morillo
I'm always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to email@example.com, thanks.
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