Both my 7-year-old daughter and my 3-year-old son attend the Washington Judo Academy. To all parents looking for engaging, quality extracurricular activities for their children, I can confidently say this place is one of the best, if not the best, that I have ever seen. What makes this place so exceptional for me are the following:
1) Each class is run by a judo sensei together with many additional judokas assisting and correcting the students. Thus, you'll often see one instructor for every two students (that's just an unbeatable student-teacher ratio!), which gives children sooo much individual attention you won't find anywhere else. They'll focus on each child the whole time, making them progress so much quicker.
2) The teaching skills of Sensei Tomoko are exceptional. She uses such a variety of teaching techniques, and I am in awe after each and every lesson- no two classes are the same. Every time, the children have a different obstacle course and very different activities; different judo techniques are being gradually introduced basing on what the children have already learnt - it's all very well thought out. On top of that, sensei Tomoko, as if by magic, has this ability to naturally and effortlessly keep all the kids smiling, engaged and following instructions at all times (which is no easy achievement with a bunch of 3/4-year-olds! Yet, they all love her!:). She's wise, charismatic and very experienced, too.
3) The sense of community at this dojo is second to none. The teachers and the other families are welcoming and supportive (the very first time I took my kids there, I was instantly welcomed by a mom who helped me dress my daughter and showed me how to tie the judo belt... and offered crepes for my son; the sensei found time after the class to welcome me personally and answer all my questions- I felt very welcome there). To know that these people are all volunteers and just do it to share their passion for the sport - it's really special... I feel very fortunate to have found them. Thank you, WJA!