Blue Line Judo

Becoming a judo enthusiast

Published online: Jun 08, 2020 Articles, Family Fun Guide
Viewed 1478 time(s)

Many people have developed great passion and satisfaction when studying the martial arts. It’s helped them stay in great physical shape, develop self-confidence and accomplish goals that encourage them to feel bigger than themselves. The martial arts are more popular than they’ve ever been, and it is not difficult to find studios that offer training in the eastern Idaho area. Locals have access to various studios that train in Aikido, Jiu-Jitsu and boxing. However, 4 years ago there were no studios that trained in the Olympic sport and modern martial art, Judo. 

Planting Our Roots

Jana Van Witbeck, the owner of Blue Line Judo and long time Judo enthusiast, was inspired to open her own studio when her son was old enough to begin training. With there not being a studio in the Eastern Idaho area, Janna felt that Idaho Falls was the perfect place to plant her roots. 

“It was a challenge at first to get people to sign up.”, said Janna, “Not many people around here even know what Judo is. Back in the ’90s, nobody ever talked about it. When I heard someone say the word Judo it was like somebody said my name! My first group of kids were mostly my friend’s kids and it’s all been word-of-mouth from there.”

What is Judo?

Judo is generally categorized as a modern martial art, which has since evolved into a combat and Olympic sport. With its origins coming from Jujutsu, Judo's most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or take down an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. While this may sound intimidating to some, the sport is known to provide valuable physical, mental and even moral teachings. It teaches discipline, how to overcome fear and to develop a strong mental attitude. It is a medium for personal growth.


Janna’s goal when teaching her students isn’t that they understand self-defense, but that they are prepared for the intensity of competing. 

“It takes a lot of courage to get out there and compete in tournaments.” said Janna. “It can be very intense to have a one on one combat with another peer. Regardless, if they win or lose, they walk around with a different posture. I feel that what is most important is to develop character within the kids.” 

Regardless of age or athletic ability, Blue Line Judo is inclusive to anyone who wants to learn Judo. Janna teaches a wide variety of kids with different athletic ability, and all of them are succeeding. 

For how young of a school Blue Line Judo is, they have seen a tremendous amount of success. Since the group’s inception students have won four different awards from competitions and have even been placed on a national level. 

If someone is interested in signing up for Judo classes, Janna suggests watching full on Olympic events and following different fighters on YouTube. To start off, seeing these events is a great way for people to see what the sport is like and if they would be interested in it. 

COVID-19 Adjustments

Due to the virus, Blue Line Judo has been forced to adapt to an online class setting and has successfully done so. Every day, at 3:30 p.m,, Jana hosts a class teaching different Judo movements. The goal of this class is to improve student’s agility and connect them as a group. 

“This is a great way for us to stay in shape, keep our agility up and stay on top of our game even though we can’t train together in person,” said Janna.

This class is open to the public and is not being charged. If you have a living room floor and can stand you can do Judo fit. 

Training in Judo has many benefits. It will help you stay in great physical shape, develop self-confidence and accomplish goals that feel bigger than yourself. It will help you to be stronger mentally and physically. Whether you are looking for something that will build character in your kids, or even yourself, reach out to Blue Line Judo and get started in your first class. 


For More Information

Janna Van Witbeck

2296 N.Yellowstone Hwy, BAY 2



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