Tonight I stopped by the new Kokoro Judo group that is forming. Interesting they are probably less than a mile from the KyuRyu Dojo as the crow flies. More Judo in South Austin! Hurray! Luckily too, their nights are opposite KyuRyu's nights, so hopefully there will be a little cross flow of people in the future.
The group is being headed by a Salvation Army employee, Glenn Macias. Glenn is a really nice guy. He immediately welcomed me in. While he is sporting a brown belt, I can tell he comes from a lineage of tough grading. We did some gentle uchi-komi and I could feel he has skills beyond his grade. He also has the backing of some of the University of Texas judoka and a handful of middle aged yudansha looking to help coach some sportsman.
They are meeting at a hall in the Salvation Army building, 1001 Cumberland in Austin. It seems to be some sort of community center sponsored by the nonprofit. The room is spacious and has a lot of potential. Glenn has been collecting some really nice mats, that I am really impressed with. While I might not want to be dumped on them, the mats were perfectly great for a workout.
No bones about it, they are a sports focused school. There was much talk about competitions and new rules about leg grabs that has turned the judo world up down. I have not trained in a sports focused club since I lived in Japan and I found the approach very alien. I personally will never have the urge to compete again, but after listening for a while I enjoyed the very different perspectives. Although my own training is philosophical and idealist in nature, I almost found it refreshing to hear people talk about the merits of power in judo. Because even though it is not how I choose to train, fact is power can be a useful tool, and the very least they will offer me some power to try to negate through my soft judo idealistic training.
Talking with Glenn it seemed like his real focus in the future will be to launch a strong youth sports program. Glenn seemed to indicate that the focus of his energies will be to kick that off.
It seems like this young club has some good elements in place to make it really work. I am looking forward to having a relationship with these guys, even though my personal interest is not in sport judo I know I already learned a lot of new perspectives. My real main interest is in budo and in relationships and I think these guys deserve whatever support the KyuRyu dojo can give them. Already they had readers of the KyuRyu blog joining the group tonight! I plan on showing up as often as i can or until they get sick of me.
We look forward to having a potential sister dojo in the neighborhood. If it doesn't work out then maybe we can have cool street battles for control of the hood! Just like on Big Trouble in Little China!
At the time they don't seem to have a regular schedule. Facebook seems to be their main way of communicating. (Though their facebook incorrectly states they are the only judo group in town! What about us guys?)