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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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  • Adult Promotions

    Adult Promotions

    Congratulations to our four adult members who promoted this past week. Over the course of three nights, they demonstrated throws, pins, escapes, chokes, joint locks, transitions, combinations, kata, ukemi and a general knowledge test. I've been to dojos where testing is a grueling three hours, and by the end you are just brain-dead. I changed it up, and we did throws one night, ground techniques another night and kata on another night. I threw in a few curve balls to the upper ranks, but they all took it in stride. We tested for about 30minutes each night and randori'd the rest of the night. It took off a lot of pressure and we all helped each other through it. I'm proud of them. ....

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  • Summer Vacation

    Summer Vacation

    The school year is just coming to a close, and our youngest judoka are ready for their summer adventures. Some kids will hang out here for the summer, some will do some traveling and some might even move away (sad emoji!) . All of us at Kokushi Midwest Judo wish our kids the best of luck on their adventures for the summer and hope that they come back to us once school starts up. Unlike most sports, judo is year-round, so we will continue training on our usual schedule. We will take a dojo-wide vacation (August 1-20th). Tuition will be pro-rated. We will be doing a judo kids' camp from June 24-28th --- this is a first of its kind for us, but I know for sure that no judo gi is required. ....

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  • Testing Yourself

    Testing Yourself

    Most people think that competing in a tournament is something that they would never do. I never thought I could do it. But there is nothing like the nervousness when you see your name up on the board, or the jelly that your legs become when you step onto the mat with someone wanting to crush you on the other side or the blood rushing out of your head when the referee yells, "HAJIME!". There is a bit of tranquility when all you can hear is your heart pounding in your chest, the feeling of your opponent grabbing you and instant sweat that starts pouring from your face. There is no other way to put yourself and your skills to the test. Due to all the craziness of my husband's schedule and ....

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