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  • Socially distanced judo

    Socially distanced judo

    As Illinois enters Phase 4, we are cautiously deciding on what is safe for all of our students. During the shutdown, we continued with online zoom classes, inviting clinicians from all over the world. We had the voice of judo, Neil Adams conduct our first clinic, which was no less than amazing. He emphasized the basics and fundamentals. Both he and his wife, Niki were a riot to work with. Not only was this open to our supportive students throughout the shutdown, but people from all over the country entered our virtual dojo. It was a great time to share judo. Our next clinician was from Japan -- Michihiro Omigawa, a Japanese MMA fighter and former National team member. Again, people from ....

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  • On hold for now

    On hold for now

    Due to the extraordinary circumstances of our world today, all in-person classes are on hold until further notice. We have just opened our Virtual Dojo where you can go through solo exercises and workouts on your own. You can also learn basic judo terminology and history. There's even a section for kids. We will also be having modified Zoom-Judo classes in the week. Let's adapt and see where this new world will take us. For starters, please download the Spark Member App to access the virtual dojo. All members should already have access to them. I'll send out a link for our first virtual class soon. We also have limited edition Tshirts that are available from Weiskamp Printing in ....

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  • Coming Soon:  Kokushi Midwest Virtual Dojo

    Coming Soon: Kokushi Midwest Virtual Dojo

    With the sudden change of lifestyle this past week, we had to temporarily close our doors to the public. Even though we can't be on the mat together, we can still train at home through our Virtual Dojo. We've been working hard at creating an online learning platform so that you can still do your solo practice in the comfort of your own home. I hope for your continued support in these difficult times, but hopefully with this online resource, you'll keep your mind and body filled with judo spirit. Thank you, Grace Talusan ....

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  • Kids' Winter Testing

    Kids' Winter Testing

    Time flies when you're having fun, and I couldn't believe it was time for testing already. I had five kids test for their next level and they passed with flying colors. The ones testing for orange and half yellow belts, had to throw as many throws as they could name. If they didn't know the name of the throw, it didn't count towards their test. They also had to teach a technique to the entire class and show a few other things. One of the most important skills as a kid is confidence in speaking in front of others. Even though our class is small, it can be intimidating to speak in front of a group. I remember I used to turn bright red when I was a kid, and am glad that these kids have an ....

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  • Neil Adams Clinic 2020

    Neil Adams Clinic 2020

    This past weekend, the family and I hopped on a plane and flew to Washington DC to attend a clinic by Neil Adams. He is a 9th degree black belt, two time Olympic silver medalist, world champion and 5x European world champion. And since retiring from competition, his voice can be heard on thousands of commentary tracks during any major judo event. He is one of the nicest and most sincere people on the planet. He naturally talks up a storm and his depth of knowledge on the sport is second to none. I've met him a few times before and he actually remembered me this time! He thanked me for traveling such a distance and was very ecstatic to be on the mat with my kids. My two kids loved him --- ....

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  • Judo for development

    Judo for development

    Our club Tshirts have the saying, "Eat, Throw, Love, Judo" written on the back... I came up with this modified slogan as a play on "Eat, Pray, Love" or "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman". There are things in life that are so essential to the well-rounded person.... nourishment in the form of food and water as well as nourishment for the soul (love!)... but also, judo. Kano's philosophical approach to judo was to use judo to develop the person as a complete and contributing member of society. Always look for the ippon -- perfection. Never settle for anything less and to keep striving for it, no matter how long it takes. Our kids class focusses more on development of good technique, good manners, good ....

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  • Meeting Olympians

    Meeting Olympians

    This past weekend, after almost 10 months of planning, finally came to a culmination when the Chicago Judo Black Belt Association brought in Project 2024 to the Chicago area. I feel that this is a SUPER important program that supports (scouting, training, competing, etc) athletes for the 2024 (and 2028) Olympic games. Travis Stevens was the clinician and I've met him several times before, and he has been nothing but 100% professional. Albeit, he may not be the most talkative guy out there, in fact, he's down-right intimidating from the get go. Tall, muscular, quiet, scraggily face and cauliflowered ears resulted from 20+years on the tatami and he doesn't smile too much (or at least I ....

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  • Kids' Testing October 19, 2019

    Kids' Testing October 19, 2019

    We are on a 6month testing cycle with the kids. Some will test in the spring, and others test in the fall....just depending on when they enter the program. As long as they are in regular attendance (a couple of times a week), follow the rules, listen and put in effort, they are eligible to test. The kids who have tested in the spring are the "ukes" (the ones receiving the technique) -- they are responsible for making their partner look good, taking good falls for their partner and encouraging the other students. The "toris" (the ones doing the technique) are being tested -- and they may be a little nervous, but it helps to have their uke there beside them. It takes a lot of pressure off ....

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  • Project 2024

    Project 2024

    I have the privilege of being the tournament director for the 2019 Chicago Open being held up in Channahon, IL on the weekend of November 9th. Being a tournament director is an interesting task because you build a team around you in order to put on a great event. You have to think of everything from table workers, to registration to how many divisions you are running, what time the tournament starts at, what the setup begins and how to get food into the hospitality lounge. It's a challenging task but fun. This year, as tournament director, I wanted to bring something different to the Chicago area and that happens to be Jimmy Pedro's Project 2024. This is his Long Term Athlete ....

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  • Japan House Demonstration

    Japan House Demonstration

    We were invited back for a THIRD time to perform a demonstration at Japan House's Matsuri Festival. In the past years, we've some memorable experiences such as no mats (we performed on the grass which was a BIG NO NO), overhead cables (it made it tough to do any high jumps), practically breaking the stage (I learned not to have the HEAVYWEIGHTS throw each other), and this year, we had rain issues. The kids were a little nervous performing for such a big crowd, but they mustered up all of their courage and did us proud. The adults were able to improvise a little bit because once it started to rain, the mats turned into a big slip and slide. The biggest crowd pleaser of all is to have ....

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