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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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  • Back to School

    Back to School

    The summer is just about over and all the kids have returned to school! Are you looking for an amazing after-school activity for your son or daughter?? Judo is the perfect way to supplement their education --- it teaches basic etiquette, politeness, respect, hard work and perseverance. It's also a great way for them to get in a little bit more exercise before bed. Sign them up for a free class today! ....

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  • Training with Olympians

    Training with Olympians

    Some of the most rewarding experiences in my judo career is attending a clinic. I'm a bit of a judo nerd so I love getting autographs and having my picture taken with some legendary people. The clinicians can be a local judo head instructor or an up and coming cadet judoka or a 2x Olympic gold medalist. This past weekend, I got to meet Ayumi Tanimoto -- she was a force to be reckoned with when she was in her prime. She topped the Olympic podium twice making her one of the first people ever to win back to back gold medals at the Olympics. She is on my short list of favorite judo players of all time. I brought my children up to meet her, and although they've met Olympians before, my son ....

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  • Kids' Summer Camp

    Kids' Summer Camp

    We ran our inaugural Kokushi Midwest Kids Summer Judo Camp this past week and it was a success. We had 8 campers and that was the perfect size for me to handle as I had never run a camp before. I did have an idea of some goals that I wanted to accomplish -- I wanted the kids to learn some basic history and culture, judo rules and hand signals as well as some famous judo people. These are some things that I don't really cover in an hour class because most kids are tired after school and just want to blow off steam.... but by having a 3-hour judo camp for 5 days, gave me the perfect opportunity to do this. We started the days off with stretching and calistenics (squats, push ups, planks and ....

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