Oakland Judo is a dedicated to providing quality instruction in judo for the city of Oakland and the surrounding bay area. We are located in the Laurel District of Oakland, near Mills College, just off the 580 (for full directions click here). We offer classes for both kids and adults. Judo is great for keeping in shape, self-defense and body awareness. It’s also incredibly fun. Come join us!

What is Judo?

Judo is a martial art and Olympic sport developed and systematized by Dr. Jigoro Kano in the late 1800′s in Japan. Dr. Kano modified or eliminated the lethal and disabling techniques of traditional jujitsu, making judo usable and approachable for all people.

Dr. Kano demonstrating a judo throw.

Dr. Kano demonstrating a judo throw.

Judo is a type of wrestling or grappling – there are no strikes allowed. Techniques include all types of throws, pins, armbars and chokes. Like any physical activity pursued with passion and purpose, judo is great for getting in shape and in touch with your body, improving your strength, coordination, and balance. But as a grappling art judo is also an excellent method of self-defense. Judo was specifically designed to allow a smaller person to defend against a larger attacker. Violence is unpredictable, but regular judo training can give you a great advantage in almost any self-defense situation.

There are two well-known sayings in judo: seiryoku-zenyo and jita kyoei. Seiryoku-zenyo means “maximum efficiency, minimum effort,” and refers to the idea that one should utilize momentum and the physics of  bodily movement rather than pure strength. Jita kyoei means “mutual welfare and benefit” and refers to the idea that judo is more than just physical exercise – it develops individual character and therefore benefits society at large. Jita kyoei might also reference the fact that a successful judo technique involves complete control of your opponent without any permanent damage – very different from the jujitsu of the late 1800’s, which might mean debilitating strikes and even death for an opponent.

On the sport side, judo has a well-developed infrastructure of local, state-wide, national, continental and worldwide competitions leading all the way to the Olympics. Competing in tournaments is encouraged as it help develop your skills faster.


Former Judo Olympian Hector Lombard utilizes a nice tai-otoshi vs. Jake Shields.

Judo can also be used very effectively in MMA and other grappling competitions.

Jiujitsu (bjj) players can also benefit from regular or even occasional judo practice. The two disciplines are very closely related and everyone can benefit from cross training. Get more options for your takedowns so you don’t have to pull guard all the time!

Wu Tao Kuan Institute of Martial Arts

Wu Tao Kuan was founded by Dr. Alex Feng in 1973. The first location was on the corner of Dwight Way and Martin Luther King Jr. Way (then Grove St.) in Berkeley. Dr. Feng was one of the few at the time for teaching both Chinese and Japanese martial art systems together – Chinese kung fu and judo, a Japanese martial art. In the 1990’s the school moved around to a few different locations before settling in the current location on Macarthur Boulevard in Oakland.

Leon Sensei, Jonah Sensei and Michael Sensei all received their black belts from Dr. Feng. Oakland Judo is the continuation of the Wu Tao Kuan judo legacy and we strive to pass on what we have learned from Dr. Feng and all our teachers.

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