Southwest Judo Academy (SWJA) is an active member in good standing with USA Judo*. For those of you with children participating in other sports or activities, like football, soccer, volleyball, cheer, gymnastics, swimming, judo is really no different, to obtain quality training it is best way to learn it right from the beginning. All instruction is conducted by a staff of USA Judo nationally certified Black Belts and Coaches/Instructors.
*USA Judo – US governing body for judo and member to the IOC, International Olympic Committee.
SWJA is a not-for-profit judo school dedicated to the advancement and growth of Olympic-style judo through the safe teaching, training and coaching of traditional judo fundamentals and contemporary tournament techniques to students of all ages and skill levels, from 5-year old beginners to elite competitors.
Safety and the well-being of all our students is the top priority of the SWJA Sensei’s (instructors – see “Our Sensei” section for individual bio’s). While we teach judo fundamentals and contemporary competitive techniques, tournament rules and regulations to prepare our students to win in competition, our Sensei’s are also concerned with teaching judo history, etiquette and respect to help students, especially juniors, develop physically, mentally and in character, making them better people, both on and off the mat.
Our Sensei’s are all USA Judo certified black belts who have a passion for judo and share from their extensive national and international experiences and wins. They maintain national certifications as coaches, instructors, referees and in CPR/First Aid/AED while being certified members in good standing with USA Judo, US Judo Federation, SafeSport, Heads Up Concussion and US ADA (US Anti-Doping Agency).
Why Train at SWJA?
SWJA is located in Mesa, Arizona with a large raised tatami (mat) area for safety and comfort, along with thick crash pads for beginners to learn new throws without fear of falling or getting hurt. A parent or spectator area is partitioned off from the training area with glass windows to watch classes with seating, internet and television.
SWJA competition teams have won or placed at state, regional and national levels of competition. Many of our students have become national champions and represented the US at either the Pan American or World Games. The caliber of the instruction is some of the best in the country.
Whether you are a junior (5-16 years old), or an adult novice, intermediate, advanced, or elite competitive “judoka” (judo player), or just looking for a physical activity to help get back in shape, Judo is a great sport to practice. SWJA offers a highly experienced team of tournament savvy Sensei’s who know what it takes to be champions. They teach everything from judo fundamentals (etiquette, language, techniques, and tournament rules) to highly advanced competitive techniques (latest methods developed specifically for tournaments), work closely with our students to help perfect their physical, mental and tournament skills, and develops individual customized training strategies and plans for our students to win more.
In continuing in one of Jigoro Kano’s, founder of Judo, basic principles for judo, Jita Kyoei (mutual benefit and welfare), SWJA works within our local community and supports the USA Judo and our U.S. Olympic Judo efforts. Jigoro Kano’s other basic principle for Judo is Seiryoku Zenyo (maximum efficiency).
Please come visit Southwest Judo Academy, talk with one of our Sensei’s, take a week of free trial classes, workout, or just watch.
SWJA is owned by Rich Moss, Rokudan, 6th-degree black belt, and was founded with Dave Faulkner, also a Rokudan (please click on the “Our Sensei’s” tab to learn more about the complete background of Sensei Rich, Dave and the other instructors) in 2008 for the purpose of teaching judo to children. A year later, Yahya (John) Houssni joined SWJA as a Sensei. Our Sensei’s have extensive national and international competitive experiences and successes, and Sensei’s Rich and Dave met while at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. SWJA is ranked nationally for our juniors program with multiple national champions and place winners and has grown over the past years to include an adult program with several senior national champions.
Judo is a great sport that can help teach and develop skills and character for all students that can benefit a person on the mat, and in life. SWJA will continue to deliver a high quality and caliber of judo to those who wish to learn and train with champions. If you are interested in learning more about judo at SWJA, please contact us or visit our dojo (school), talk with a Sensei about your interest, watch a class or try a free week of lessons, we’ll provide you with a uniform. We certainly hope there is judo in your future!
If you are considering taking judo lessons, you may want to read some of the questions we have received from interested people and parents. Should you have a question that is not covered in this FAQ, please feel free to speak with a Sensei or contact us for an answer.
Can anyone take Judo lessons?
Yes, judo is a great sport in which anyone can get involved. We teach and train students from age five to seniors. Judo involves movement, stretching, strengthening, coordination, builds endurance, stamina and involves physical activity. We will teach you all the techniques required to keep you safe. Like any other physical activity, if you have questions about your own health, please check with your physician if you can participate.
Do girls or women do Judo?
Absolutely, approximately half our junior classes are girls who enjoy this sport. For you MMA fight fans, Rhonda Rousey, the UFC World Bantam weight undefeated champion won a bronze medal at in judo at the Olympics, and has quite a following of young girls taking up this sport.
Do I need to be in shape to start?
Being is shape certainly helps, but we have students of all ages and physical condition taking judo lessons. Just by training 2-3 times per week will help keep you moving, active and improve your conditioning. We do not push, nor expect, all students to be able to do all the stretching, exercises nor training…they do what they can.
What should I wear to train?
SWJA offers a free week of lessons during which we will loan you a uniforjudogi at each class. Should you decide you would like to sign up for classes, you will be required to purchase a judogi. Judogi’s start around $40 for junior sizes and will increase in price based on size and quality.
Do I have to fight or compete?
Jigoro Kano Sensei (founder of judo) felt that Judo could be best learned in two parts: by performing kata’s (prearranged sequence of techniques) and the application of those techniques in shiai or randori (tournaments or free practice simulating tournaments). We realize not everyone can, nor wants, to test their techniques against another judoka (judo player), so it is not necessary to fight against someone to learn or get promoted.
How long will it take me to get a black belt?
Promotions are at the discretion of the SWJA Sensei’s based on how long you’ve trained, time in rank, ability to demonstrate techniques, vocabulary, general information, and competition or contribution to judo. A Black Belt is earned based on the amount of dedication and effort you put into this sport, your technical competency and character.