Welcome to our San Diego Judo school. Originally started in 1949 by Sensei Al Holtmann, we are the longest running Judo school in San Diego, as well as the rest of North America. We offer outstanding classes and training, beneficial to both Judo purists and other athletes who want to learn the world’s premier Martial Art for throwing and stand up grappling.

Now run by Dr. Zibi Piec, a Rokudan (6th degree Black Belt) and one of the top Judo Coaches in the U.S., our Judo academy offers the best instruction in San Diego for both new students and experienced Judoka looking for high level training and Randori (judo sparring).

Our adult San Diego Judo classes are taught Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. We focus the first hour on Judo techniques and then move on to live sparring (Randori) at 8:30. Beginners are taught the fundamentals of falling (Ukemi) and then move on to the basics of throwing. As they advance, students are taught the intricacies of various throws and learn to chain them together.

We offer children’s San Diego Judo classes at 9 am on Saturdays. Designed for ages 5-12 in a safe, fun environment, we start off teaching the basics of falling and rolling before showing how to throw. Judo is a perfect art for children to learn balance, coordination, movement and discipline.

Like all of our Combat Sports programs, we offer a strong emphasis on Judo training competition.  For those who wish to compete in a variety of San Diego, National and International tournaments, we work individually and in groups to focus on the necessary strategies and skills needed for Judo competition success.

Coach Zibi heads our Judo Competition program and has led us to victory in prestigious tournaments such as the USJA / USJF Winter Nationals, where we’ve placed in the top 10 of over 100 teams, including ones from Judo powerhouses Japan, Korea and France.

Dr. Zbigniew Piec, better known as Zibi, is our Head Jiu Jitsu Coach. Zibi started training in Judo at the age of 10 and has studied with some of the most respected teachers in the World. He has competed extensively on an international level and lived in Japan for 6 years, where he trained at the Kodokan and Tsukuba University.

Karen Maestro is our children’s Judo Coach. She has been training and coaching in Judo for decades, beginning at our original location with our founder Sensei Al Holtmann. She is widely respected as one of the best Judo coaches for children in the U.S.

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I’d been training Judo for several months before I came here. I really wanted to pick the best Judo school I could find. It’s become my favorite one in San Diego. Learning Judo techniques has had a lot of positive development for my life in my overall confidence and my fitness levels, and it adds to my other martial arts in general. Zibi is patient, he’s not overbearing, he teaches a lot of good material. He doesn’t withhold good techniques and he really focuses on where you’re at in learning and what you need to learn.


I’ve been training Judo for about 34 years. I started in Japan, grew up in Japan and came over here when I was 20. Zibi is a very solid teacher. He’s been trained in Japan as well. We learn a lot from him. Traditional Kodokan style Judo to Self Defense training. It’s one of the best Judo Dojo’s in San Diego. At age 41, I’m still competing at a high level. We keep training hard to continue representing The Arena. We’re doing a really good job. It’s one of the greatest gyms in town.

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Ready to take it to the next level? Want to compete for one of the best teams in Judo? Then become part of Team Arena. Preparing athletes for competition is the backbone of The Arena and one of the primary reasons why we do what we do here. All you need to do to start on the path to compete for us in Judo is to complete our “Ready to Compete for The Arena” form.

Whether you’re just beginning in Judo, or you already have Amateur or Professional experience, we have you covered. If you’re a Beginner, we’ll make you a skilled Novice. If you’re an experienced Novice, we’ll take you to the top of the Amateur ranks. If you’re a high level Amateur, we can bring you to a World Class level.



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Want the latest and greatest in Combat Sports? Check out our blog.

Tip of the Week: Options for The Clinch

Vince: How’s it going? I’m Coach Vince Salvador from the Arena. Charles: I’m Coach Charles Martinez. We’re here to discuss some options for the clinch different than what you may have seen before. We’ll start here. Vince: A lot of times in the clinch, the

Tip of the Week – Rolling Back Take

Jamarr Coleman:  Hey, what’s up everybody. This is Jamarr from The Arena. I am here with the rattlesnake, Ryan Fortin, one of our jiu-jitsu coaches here. I got a question for you. I know we were working on the rolling back take. I try it, and

Judo: A Brief History

In mixed martial arts, there are many ancient sports that athletes study in order to become better fighters. These include Greco-Roman wrestling skills and boxing, both of which date back centuries. Judo, however, is quite important to MMA, but was only developed in the later

About The Arena

The Arena is the leading Gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction, offering one of the largest programs of its kind in the world. With over 150 weekly classes in 10 disciplines and specialized training for Amateur and Professional fighters, our programs are run by some of the top coaches on the planet in one of the best sports facilities in the USA.

Our Address

3350 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110

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