Judo tradition continues in new home

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST - Judo has found a new home in Amherst but that home is still run by Frank Landells, who has taught generations of Amherst residents the martial art.
"The rent is definitely a lot less expensive here than where we were," said Landells. "So that's a big help to us."
The Amherst Kodokan Judo Academy moved from its old digs next to Carter's Cresting to the basement of the Christ Church annex, which is beside the Co-Op gas station.
"The access to the building is really good here," said Landells.
Local mixed martial arts fighter Josh Strickland grew up wrestling but for the last four years he has taken judo with Landells and now he is bringing his son with him to class.
"Liam loves it," said the 33-year old Strickland about his six-year old son. "He's really taken to it. He can't wait to go to judo."
Strickland said that judo isn't as regimented as other martial arts and that Landells keeps it fun for kids.
"Kids do rolls and flips, and they learn how to fall," said Strickland. "They don't realize they're learning judo but they're learning how to break falls, how to do a front roll and how to do a back roll.
"It's fun for them because little kids like to wrestle. To them it's just wrestling but they're learning how to do throws. Plus you don't have to be a really athletic kid to do it."
Landells teaches classes for adults as well.
"Most people think judo is something kids and teenagers do but anybody at any age can do it," said Landells. "You tailor your training to your age. If you're 60 years old like I am, then you're not going to go out and try to do the same things as a 20 year old."
Strickland agrees.
"Frank pretty much lets you go at your own pace," said Strickland. "Some other martial arts might be a little easier on your body, but for getting in shape and using a martial art that you can use in the real world, judo is great."
Strickland comes from a wrestling background and said wrestling mixes well with judo and Brazilian ju-jitsu.
"All those three techniques are interconnected so if you learn one it makes learning another one a little easier."
But what Strickland likes most is watching his son learn new techniques.
"It's a lot of fun," said Strickland. "I can watch him do stuff and progress and Frank lets me help my son go through his class, so that's fun as well. It's a sport the whole family can do."


Organizations: Amherst Kodokan Judo Academy, Christ Church

Geographic location: AMHERST

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