Grassroots Judo

Recently I visited my long term student and friend John Moe’s outdoor class. He founded the Discover Judoapproximately 20 years ago. Unfortunately due to the loss of revenue from the Pandemic he was forced to close his facility down. However as the resourceful head Sensei, John Moe came up with a very unique solution.

Judo Class

John Moe’s Discover Judo Story in his own words…

After Covid-19 closed the Discover Judo Dojo our students needed a place to practice. Covid restrictions in our area did not allow for indoor group sessions, so we took the class outdoors. Here in Southern California we have good weather all year round with little rain. We found a local park and started practicing judo on the grass. What we discovered was surprising; not only did the grass afford similar levels of fall protection to tatamis, but the open area meant the dojo could be huge.


Me and John Moe


Class warm-up

Judo fall

Teaching beginners how to fall - ukemi

Me with Sensei John Moe and Jason Kimes

Judo Practice

Sensei Chase Berryman & Me leading the practice of ogoshi - major hip throw

Judo \u200bClass Photo

Class Photo

Overall, we have found that practicing in the park is a viable alternative to an indoor environment. We no longer need to worry about mats and rent, we only needed to find a suitable patch of grass.


John Moe, O.J. Soler & Me in 1995

I’m always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to, thanks.

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