Classes

The class

Classes are held at Marine Park (at 16th and Marine) in Santa Monica Thursday nights from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM and on Sunday afternoons from 3:00 PM until 5:30 PM. You can register in person at any point during a session or through the City of Santa Monica in the Seascape/Recscape.

Intermediate classes are held on Tuesday nights at a separate location and require instructor's approval.

Classes are held year round excluding major holidays. Feel free to drop by and watch a class and talk to the instructor if you are interested.

with any questions.

Class Ettiquette

Attire

An instructor performs a throw

The normal attire for class is a white judo gi, worn with a belt of appropriate color. If you don’t have a judo gi, a sweatshirt and sweatpants is a good substitute to start. See one of the senior students when you are ready to purchase a gi and they can get one for you. Black pants or Hakama may be worn by Yudansha.

Shoes are never allowed on the mat. You may choose to wear socks or not. All jewelry must be removed before class because it can get caught or tangled. Finger and toenails should be short and clipped. Remember that JuJitsu is a close contact activity so good personal hygiene is necessary.

Belt Rank

JuJitsuka are graded by rank in the art. Belt ranks are awarded during promotion in front of the class, and a person at a certain rank outranks all people of that same belt rank if he was promoted before them. Higher ranks are expected to be an example to lower ranks, and to teach. Beginners automatically have the rank of Rokyu, or 6th kyu, when they begin. As such, a beginner is outranked by everyone else in the class.

Traditionally, when one began a martial art the belt, or obi, was white, which signifies innocence. With much time and practice the belt begins to get dirty and starts to look brown, hence the brown belt. As more time goes by the belt becomes even more soiled until it is black. Finally as more time passes the belt becomes frayed and looses its color and becomes white again, showing that the wearer returns to innocence.

Sensei and Instructors

Senseis Hudson and Kaplowitz

In Japanese, Sen means before and Sei means born. Sensei means teacher or one who was born before you. This refers to someone who has already gone where you are going and not someone who is necessarily older in years than you. In our system, all of us are teachers. Once you learn something you may be called on it to teach it to someone else. At the same time, we must be careful not to overstep our bounds and respect whoever is assigned to teach our group and do techniques in the way that they ask us to. If there are any questions or problems take it up with the head Sensei at a later time. Never take over a group unless you are asked to by the instructor.

Starting Class

Students are expected to arrive early to set up the mats and to be dressed and ready for class when class starts. Being on time and helping set up the mats, along with attendance, kokua, willingness to help and teach are important aspects considered in promotions along with technical proficiency. The class starts when an instructor requests the class to line up; the black belts will sit along one edge of the mat. Brown belts will sit along the edge to the black belts’ left, green belts to the right and all other ranks will sit along the edge facing the black belts, lining up according to rank. The instructor will open the class by first calling everyone to attention by saying, “Kiotsuke!” Everyone should sit up straight at attention in Seiza, the kneeling position. The instructor will then say, "Shomen Ni" and the those not facing the Shomen will turn to face it. The Shomen refers to the front wall of the dojo where usually there is a picture of the founder. We bow to show our respect for those who have come before us. The instructor will then say, “Rei!” which means bow. From Seiza slide your hands forward (left, then right) down to about one foot in front of your thighs and lower your head to about six inches from the mat. Keep your neck and back straight. Do not show the back of your neck. Hold this position until the instructor rises, then return to the Seiza position. Next the instructor will say, "Sensei Ni" and the class will turn back to the original positions. The instructor will then say, “Rei!” and everyone will bow again. The head instructor may choose to call out the commands or have the highest kyu rank present do it.

If you are late to class (that is, you aren’t sitting in place for the bow), you should get dressed (and do warmup exercises if you missed them), stand at the edge of the mat and then quietly get the attention of an instructor. The instructor will bow you into the class. This is so that the instructor can keep track of who is participating in class. You should also bow when entering and exiting the dojo. You should also bow to your partner before and after your work out.

The bows are a sign of mutual recognition and respect and courtesy in the way that a handshake is between boxing opponents.

During Class

When class is in progress, pay attention. If you must talk while an instructor is lecturing, do it in a manner that doesn’t disturb the other students. When practicing, keep track of your surroundings, so that you don’t collide with other students. If there is not enough mat space to safely complete your technique, alternate using a space with some other students. Remember to always look before you throw.

For safety it is only permissible to sit on the mat in one of two ways. The first is Seiza, the kneeling formal position. Sit in Seiza for any formal ceremonies, the opening and closing of class, and for all promotions. This position is safer because if someone were to fall on you they will slide off and both of you will less likely be injured. The other position is Anza (cross-legged). Never sit in this position while bowing or in formal situations. From this position you can roll away or stand up rapidly.

When practicing techniques, adjust the amount of resistance you give your partner according to their skill with the technique and what is being taught. When first learning a technique, it is best if nearly no resistance is encountered; once the student is somewhat familiar with the technique, more resistance may be appropriate. If the technique is designed to build a skill such as balance, speed, or accuracy, it may not be appropriate to resist at all. The instructor will give you guidelines for resistance if it is appropriate.

Students should never attempt any technique or sutemi not previously explained and practiced.

It is never appropriate to hurt another student unnecessarily. Stop the technique immediately if your partner taps, of you think it’s hurting them; do the techniques slowly enough that they have time to tap. Do not use more force to do the technique than is required; for the first few attempts, use very little force. If you hurt other students consistently, you will be asked to leave the class.

Report all injuries immediately to the Sensei!

While we strive to keep from damaging ourselves or others, accidents do happen. If you injure yourself, STOP where you are and call the instructor over IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT LEAVE THE MAT to attend to injuries without notifying the sensei as to why you are leaving the mat.

All of our instructors are trained and certified in American Red Cross Standard First-Aid and CPR as well as athletic taping and JuJitsu restorative techniques. Please bring any injuries, no matter how minor, to sensei's immediate attention.

Nicks, scrapes, and cuts are our most frequent injuries. If you have a cut or scrape, you must make sure it is completely bandaged before returning to the mat. Any blood must be cleaned up immediately.

Inform the sensei and senior students of any chronic or problematic medical conditions. Some techniques can aggravate some conditions and we want to make sure to avoid them.

If for some reason you need to leave the class, either temporarily (e.g. visit the restroom) or for the class (e.g. your babysitter called and you have to go home immediately), find an instructor and briefly explain what you need. The instructor will bow you out of class. When you return, wait at the edge of the mat and quietly get the attention of an instructor. The instructor will bow you back into the class.

Ending Class

An instructor will call the students to line up, just as in the beginning of class. The class will end with the same bows. The Sensei and students will exit the mat by rank. Students are then expected to put away the mats.

Visiting Another Class

Other classes may or may not encourage visitors. First you should discuss it with your Sensei who will help decide if it’s appropriate for you and then may be able to recommend a dojo or introduce you to the Sensei. It is then necessary to contact the Sensei of the dojo you wish to visit in advance.

The Art Stays on the Mat

Much of what we practice routinely with each other will seriously injure the untrained. It is not to be demonstrated or practiced on others outside of the dojo. If someone you know wants to see your techniques, invite them to class!


BACK TO TOP