Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What style do you teach?

    Dan Zan Ryu Jujitsu, sometimes known as Kodenkan Jujitsu.

  2. What's DZR like?

    Dan Zan Ryu jujitsu is a beautiful, power, practical martial art. As you advance through the ranks, you learn arts that build on what you already know, from hand arts to throws and pins to complex combination arts. For lots more information, read Nancy and Matt Bigham's What is Jujitsu? page.

  3. Who are you?

    I'm Lisa Hirsch. I'm a second-degree black belt in Dan Zan Ryu. I started practicing in 1982 and I have more than 20 years of teaching experience.

  4. What's your teaching philosophy?

    I teach with kindness, humor, and respect. I believe that learning is a collaborative activity; I, the instructor, and you, the student, are working together for your advancement. I try to find the approach that works best for your strengths and who you are.

  5. Who do you teach?

    Pretty much any adult or teen. You don't have to be athletic, strong, flexible, young, or thin to practice DZR. We are also an LGBTQ-welcoming dojo.

  6. Where are you located again?

    We are at Mind Body Dojo, 7512 Fairmount Ave., El Cerrito, CA. This is just up the street from El Cerrito Plaza BART and San Pablo Avenue. We are across the street from Fat Apple's Restaurant.

  7. What do your classes cost?

    First class is free!

    After that, $65/month, plus membership in the American Judo & Jujitsu Federation. Classes are open to all, regardless of ability to pay. Please let me know if you need to pay a reduced fee.

  8. When can I start?

    Any time at all. You can come by and watch a class first, or just dive right in.

  9. What should I wear to my first class?

    Loose, comfortable clothing and clean white socks. If you have a white judo gi, you can wear that.

  10. What's the school uniform?

    White judo gi, t-shirt, clean white socks, unless you're a black belt. Black belts can wear a black gi or gi pants. (And black socks! White socks would look silly with a black gi.)

  11. How come you bow all the time?

    To show respect for each other, to mark the opening or closing of class or a lesson, and to honor the traditions and history of DZR.

  12. Okay, when should I bow, and how?

    Bow from the hips and keep your eyes up and on the person or people you're bowing to. While the Japanese tradition is to look at the mat when you bow, I trained in a self-defense-oriented tradition, and I was taught to look up.

    As for when, at the time we bow on and off the mat, at the beginning and end of class, and at the beginning and end of lessons. Also, if you're leading exercises, the instructor leading class bows the class over to you, then you bow the class over to the person leading rolls and falls, who will bow the class over to the instructor when rolls and falls are over.

  13. What are classes like?

    We start with a warm-up that includes range of motion, stretching, and strengthening exercises. Then we all practice rolls and falls (call sutemi, which is pronounced stemmy). After that come individual jujitsu assignments in which you work on whatever is appropriate for your current rank.

  14. How long will it take me to get promoted?

    Probably not too long, because my beginners' (white belt) program is divided into short segments.

  15. How long will it take me to get a belt rank promotion?

    That's a little more complicated. There's no way to tell, but it depends primarily on how consistently you come to class.

  16. How long does it take to get to black belt?

    That's really complicated. This varies enormously from person to person and depends on consistence practice, persistence, and your willingness to change. Putting it another way, I have known people who took from three to ten years to reach shodan (first-degree black belt).

  17. What should I look for in a dojo?

    Read my essay on finding the right martial art for you.

  18. What if I don't like jujitsu or don't like this dojo?

    I'll help you find a style, school, or instructor you like better. No school or style is right for everybody.


How to find us

Mind Body Dojo
7512 Fairmount
El Cerrito, CA 94530

Just up the hill from El Cerrito Plaza BART!

Class times

Tuesday and Thursday evenings
7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

$65/month. Open to all regardless of ability to pay.

How to contact us

510-842-NAGE (6243)