1st Annual USJA/USJF Junior Nationals was hosted by Nanka Judo Yudanshakai on the 4th of July weekend 2010 and was held at the UCI Bren Events Center in Irvine, California.
The success of this tournament was the joint effort and support provided by the leadership of both USJF and USJA and all the way down to many individuals and judo clubs in the western United States. It was surprising and wonderful to see all the support we got from folks from as far north as the state of Washington to as well from our neighbor down south in San Diego, California.
Southern California is a hot bed for judo, but without the collective help from one and all we could not have pulled this off.
The final results were beyond our wildest dreams. The first day of competition was electrifying as the UCI Bren Center was fully packed. I did not see an empty seat in the house. How many times have you seen a judo event were there were more competitors then the audience. This was not the case. You should have seen the place rocking and rolling. Parents and clubs were screaming and yelling and supporting their students. Coaches yelling and extorting their players to give it their all. It was their time to shine. Win or lose, they were cheering and having a good time… as long as they left it all on the mat. We especially enjoyed the competitive spirit provided by the clubs from Hawaii. They really know how to have a good time, but when it came time for the tournament to start, they were all business. After that, they were fun loving again.
The numbers were staggering.
We had 660 competitors in the Championships tournament, in addition to 213 competed in the Novice Tournament and a record 21 teams or another 42 participants in the Kata Tournament. To top of a great event, we had a record 10 teams in the team competition for another 50 participants for a grand total of 965 competitors.
Overall, the tournament went without a hitch, running smoothly on 8 mat areas and each day being refereed by 65-70 national level referees. To manage 8 mat areas was an undertaking that challenged us all, but a number of clubs stepped up and was there all day on both days, many providing veteran crews while others not so experienced, but what they all provided was an enthusiasm to help and support .
We also had a coach’s certification clinic and kata clinic prior to this event. For the coach’s clinic, we had 64 participating with close to 60 coaches getting their coaches certification from either USJF or USJA. At the kata clinic, we had over 30 participating.
After the tournament had long ended and the remaining volunteers and tournament staff finished removing the last remnants from the judo tournament, loading up the tatami mats, we took one last look at the Bren Events Center now quiet and peaceful, signaled the end of a wonderful weekend.
President, Nanka Judo Yudanshakai
2010 Jr Nationals Coordinator