Senshi Okami stresses discipline for youth
BY DEBORAH CRUZ
Originally Posted on NOVEMBER 14, 2014
As the doors open onto the fourth-floor studio over Third Avenue, the smell of sweat and training mats wafts out. At the peak hour of 6 p.m., the gym begins to fill up with parents and children. Children come streaming out of the locker rooms in white gis – the traditional jacket and loose-fitting pants of the martial arts — some with white belts, others with yellow or orange. The kids skip to the mats and rushed to their positions, excited for the class to begin.
As the sensei leads them through their initial warmups, judo class at Senshi Okami has begun.
The dojo – the Japanese word for school – opened two years ago on Third Ave. between 154th and 155 Streets in Melrose. Dedicated to mixed martial arts, the gym offers judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, boxing, and capoeira – a dance-like fighting sport. While classes are also offered for adults, the focus is mainly on kids.
Hector Hernandez, who founded the school with George Pimentel, was teaching at the Tremont School of Judo, jiu-jutsu and Karate when the school closed. Hernandez didn’t want to lose the momentum that school had started.
“It was an obligation to the kids,” said Hernandez. “The kids need something.”
Hernandez, 37, began practicing martial arts in 2004, as a way to lose weight. He started with boxing, then moved to dong kickboxing, and soon after that discovered Brazilian jiu-jitsu – which, he says, changed his life. “I would have to say the love started with jiu-jitsu,” said Hernandez, who would go on to compete in the sport.
Initially the founders of the school worried that the school would have a hard time attracting students, and that people in the neighborhood were not familiar enough with judo to come in for a trial. But they were proved wrong almost as soon as the school opened.
“Believe it or not, there was a flood of students, which surprised us because we didn’t have much money to invest in advertisement,” said Jean Truaillot, whose students call Sensei Jean. “We teach our kids discipline above all else and it has helped them in their life outside of judo.”
The children’s program ranges from ages 5 to 11 in any choice of martial arts, and classes for teenagers start at age 12 and include adults
Carlos Nunez, a father of three students in the school, signed his kids up in the fall of 2013 and has been coming back ever since.
“I wanted them to defend themselves, be active, do something productive like an organized sport,” said Nuñez. “They’re more confident in themselves and have more self-control.”
Capoeira is a dancing combat sport originated in Africa and developed in Brazil, mainly by African descendants. In this practice, kids get into a circle and then try to escape any way they can. “You learn how to feign ignorance and play like you know, when you don’t know,” explained the school’s instructor Moses McCarter, who also uses the handle Bronx Capoeira.
McCarter first started studying the sport in 2002, moving to Brazil the same year to pursue it. He came back in 2005, where he began teaching in public schools. “Kids choose it because it doesn’t only include the sport, it also includes drums and music,” he said.
Hernandez has taken students to the Liberty Bell Judo Tournament in Pennsylvania to compete, and hopes to get them to the nationals in Florida this year. “Senshi Okami follows a leadership curriculum,” he said. “Sometime the kids teach each other.”
Parents sitting on the benches cheered loudly as the children paired up, bowed to each other and began their training. Some of the kids managed to throw their opponent over and some would fall with their opponent. Every time a student would execute a move, parents would stand up and cheer whether it was their child or not — shouting out names of children for support and at times being louder than the kids themselves.
As for the students, they seemed to relish the work and the attention.
“I like judo because I like to throw people and have fun,” said Elan Castro, 11. “It’s like dancing – it’s fast and you have to learn the steps.”
Full Article can be found at http://www.motthavenherald.com/2014/11/14/melrose-dojo/
Karate vs Judo
Karate and judo are martial arts of Japanese origin. Both have distinct characteristics. While Judo is what could be called a soft martial art mainly involving body maneuvers against an opponent, karate can be termed as a hard martial art where blows are landed on an opponent’s body.
A Karate exponent would strike an opponent whereas somebody practicing Judo would endeavor to throw him. A Karate man would batter a man to submission whereas a Judo man would grapple with, wrap or trap an opponent, the effort aimed at tiring down the opponent.
A Karate man takes his energy from mother earth and uses it against his opponent in the form of blocks and counter assaults, whereas in Judo energy is drawn away from the opponent by redirecting it towards mother earth by tossing the opponent down. As a sport Karate involves earning points for kicking and punching, whereas in Judo points are to be had for grappling and throwing your opponent as one would in wrestling. In Judo the body and its weight and how it is balanced vis-Ã -vis the opponent decide the course of a fight, while in Karate, hands are used to chop and legs to kick at your adversary.
Karate is an attacking and aggressive form of martial art, whereas Judo is purely a defensive form of martial art. Karate as a way of fighting is quite dramatic unlike Judo which primarily is all about grappling. In Karate on the other hand the process of blocking blows or landing them on to other people, or objects (as in smashing boards and objects) looks quite spectacular. It is no wonder then that while Judo is not much featured in movies, Karate is the staple of many movies. An example being the Karate Kid series of movies from Hollywood.
Judo and Karate in a way symbolize two entirely different approaches towards the art of fighting. In Judo the stress is not on brute strength or sheer force. It has to do more with a gentle but firm defensive attitude where your body and the way it is poised and balanced vis-a-vis the opponent lets you get the upper hand. Karate on the other hand is a direct and confrontationist approach where you boldly block the opponent’s moves and attack him vigorously with your hands and legs.
1. Judo is a soft martial art mainly involving body maneuvers against an opponent. Karate can be termed as a hard martial art where are blows are landed on an opponent’s body
2.A Karate man batters a man to submission whereas a Judo man grapples with, wraps or traps an opponent the effort aimed at tiring down the opponent.
3.As a sport Karate involves earning points for kicking and punching, whereas in Judo points are to be had for grappling and throwing your opponent as one would in wrestling
4.Karate is an attacking and aggressive form of martial art, whereas Judo is purely a defensive form of martial art.