Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Looking for a good workout? Searching for an exciting new extracurricular to join? The University of Rhode Island’s new Judo Club may be able to help you.

According to Judo Club founder and senior biology and psychology major Lizmaylin Ramos, Judo is an Olympic sport based in martial arts. It consists of throws, pins and joint-locks and is derived from the traditional Japanese martial art jiu-jitsu. 

Ramos started Judo Club last semester, and the group was officially recognized by Student Senate in Oct. 2019. According to Ramos, she had been taking classes at Elevate Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Exeter, Rhode Island for a while when her coaches, Sandra and Brett Robichaud, talked to her about the idea of starting a Judo Club at URI. Ramos was interested and began developing the club. Now that the club has started, members participate in classes at Elevate twice a week.

“I took the initiative,” Ramos said. “I went to the [Memorial] Union and I asked what do I have to do to get the club started, there’s a lot of paperwork, and then there’s recruitment. It’s hard to get it started and get people committed and stuff when it doesn’t exist yet.”

Ramos said she was very happy with the current turnout for Judo Club. Last semester, there was high interest, but it was hard to continue the enthusiasm around the club when practice was only held once or twice a week. Currently, Judo Club has approximately 15 committed members.

“Right now we’re at the point where we have a lot of committed members, and it’s only going to get more popular as the semesters go by,” Ramos said. “This is only the first year of the club. By next year, we’ll have a lot of members.”

Judo brings martial arts opportunities in a welcoming environment, something which Ramos believes is a strength of the club. 

“[Judo Club is] unique in the sense that it offers a lot of students something that other [organizations] don’t offer,” Ramos said. “I think there’s not a lot of martial arts on campus, one. Two, there’s not a lot of sports for women, which I think it’s important to have more sports for women. As you learn, you learn confidence and learn self-defense and build a community. To do judo, you need a certain kind of mindset, and it helps people grow.” 

Ryan Kappler, the treasurer of Judo Club, also took classes at Elevate before URI formed a club there. 

According to Kappler, the cost is $65 monthly to be a Judo Club member. Student Senate gave the club a $1,275 grant to help partially cover the cost of renting the dojo. Prior to the grant, the price per student was $135. The payment goes towards the coaching, mat space, gees and paying for tournaments. 

The club is developing more tournament opportunities and competitions for students. The first competition for the club will be held over spring break at the University of New Hampshire.

Kappler credits judo as a stress relief activity for college students.

“I started with jiu-jitsu specifically for the physical, the exercise, the stress-relief,” Kappler said. “You’re never less stressed than when you’ve almost been choked out. Everything is so miniscule. Judo definitely has a lot of the same. It’s good stress-relief and I’ve met people here who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.” 
All students are invited to try Judo Club. There is a trial period that allows you to determine if you want to continue participating or not. If interested, reach out to judo@rhodysenate.org with any questions.