Kakure Judo Club
A Judo club that believes in and
practices the full martial arts range of Judo
Kakure Judo Club evolved from Dalewood Judo Academy in Hamilton,
The Dalewood club was non-profit and operated out of a city-run
recreation center in one of the middle schools. It had been around for
quite a long time under other instructors, but when I first started
there, it was run by Cliff Burke (Nidan).
Cliff's emphasis was on the traditional Gokyo of standing throws (in
which we were well-drilled), with some ground work and some Aikido joint
locks added to the mix.
When Cliff retired from active instructing, the day-to-day operation of
the club passed to Gary Fleming (Ikkyu), who, while being good at the
standing aspect of the game, was outstanding at ground work, and gave us
an excellent foundation, upon which we have continuously built -
probably to the detriment of our standing game!
During those years, Chris and I, along with some others, also spent a lot
of time on our own practicing full-contact sparring, Jo staff, and
(Boken) and knife (Tanto) fighting in a local park, as well as other odd
aspects of the martial arts, such as dodging or catching arrows shot at
us (we developed our own personal styles for this - Chris preferred to block
and deflect, whereas I preferred to catch) - Don't Try This At Home!!. It really
is amazing that we never had anyone call the police on us.
While I was still only an Ikkyu (Brown Belt), Gary gradually passed the
running of the club over to me, and then retired from active
instructing. I continued running the club for some years, eventually
finding time to do my Shodan.
When the city starting charging much more money for the rental of the
room at Dalewood than we took in from fees, we were forced to close shop there.
With a small, core, group of dedicated, long-time, training
partners/friends, we created a mini-dojo (classroom) with makeshift mats
and a home-made crash-mat in the basement of the home of one of our
members. The house was well over a century old and, in its youth, was a grand place. But these days, it is closer in resemblance to the house
in the movie "The 'burbs" - a huge house with a somewhat scary, low-ceilinged, basement (high-amplitude shoulder throws or lifting techniques
down there tended to wipe out the lights!).
We were all very thankful to have a place to train, though, and we worked
out there several times a week. Eventually we came to affectionately
call our training hall, "The Mouse Room", since it was the leavings of
those little guys that we had to sweep off the mats before every
We decided to register our own Judo club name with
Judo Ontario/Judo Canada to make things official, cover our members for
insurance, etc. Since our dojo was
in a deep, dungeon-like, basement, hidden from the rest of the Judo
world, we called the club Kakure, meaning “underground”, or "hidden".
A couple of years later, the owner of Hamilton School of Martial
Arts, Mickey Dimic, twice jiu jitsu world champion, offered to rent us
his dojo on Friday nights for a pittance, just so that we could have a
decent place to practice and work out. This also enabled his students to
participate in our class if they wanted to work on particular throws or
Throughout the years at Dalewood Judo Academy and the Kakure Judo Club, we
have practiced traditional judo but have always been quite unorthodox in
our approach compared to typical sport Judo clubs. In conjunction with
our traditional Judo, we've always trained the full martial arts range
of Judo (strikes from standing, the clinch, and the ground, as well as
locks and holds disallowed in tournaments, and all sorts of self-defense
stuff) and really don't focus on the competition rules at all.
I suppose this makes things look closer to MMA than to Olympic Judo, but
we do, of course, insist on proficiency in the full Gokyo of Kodokan Judo
Techniques, grade to the standard Judo curriculum, and have always
proudly considered ourselves Judoka.
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A Typical Kakure Judo Class:
These days, we don't run a formal class. It's more like a group of
experienced (everyone in the core group is either brown or black belt level), long-time,
friends coming together to work on what suits us. Of course, visitors
are always welcome, as are the students from the Hamilton School of
Martial Arts' grappling, jiu jitsu, or other classes, and we're lucky to
have a really good bunch of people to train with.
Our idea of a warm-up tends to be freestyle submission grappling matches
(we generally ignore the 25 second pin = Ippon tournament rule; unless
we're doing specific drills/training for it; we're looking primarily for
submissions) until the first 45 minutes to an hour is up.
If we come up with an unusual or interesting technique during these
matches or if someone has a question or would benefit from formally
learning something in particular, we'll stop, look at, drill, or practice it, and then
continue with the newaza until we're done.
We then go on to standing techniques, perhaps practicing some throws or
other standing techniques, then doing some randori, again looking at
anything of interest that came up. We finish the class with some sort
of striking practice (pure standing sparring, drills where one person
strikes and the other tries to get in and throw, ground work with
Our classes are not traditional and tend to be free-form. We really only
have one regular member at the moment who competes in tournaments (Judo
and BJJ/grappling - he's the current Canadian BJJ Champ and the 3rd best
groundwork guy in our club); so unless we're doing something to help him
train for a tournament, we just do what suits the people that come out, aim to
get a good workout, improve our skills, and have a lot of fun.
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Kakure's Club Mottos and Commonly
"Pain is an
"It is better
to give than to receive", (injuries, throws, punishment, etc.).
"Oh, it's OK
- it's not my blood."
pain." - meaning, if it's not causing a physical injury, just fight
through it - there's no reason to tap.
work OK, but doesn't cause nearly enough pain - it's better to do it like
"If it isn't
painful, it isn't Judo" (usually followed up by some comment about the
irony of the misnomer "The Gentle Way"!).
This one came
up the other day when Chris used one of my own favourite techniques
against me, with some success... you've got to say it in your best
1970's era B-level Kung-Fu movie voice: "Ah, I see the tide has turned.
But you realize, it is the Moon that controls the tides... and I am
the Moon,... my Son". A good laugh was had by all. :)
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Thanks for checking out our site and taking the time to read a bit about
Kakure Judo Club's history and interests. If you're
in our area, come by to work out with us!