From Dr. Larry Tsutsui, Kenji Litke, Takashi Tsutsi
From Larry Tsutsui, D.C.
The Martial Arts building, dedicated to Matsumoto Sensei and designed by my sensei, Haruo Imamura, is an amazing building on a hill with many steps to get to the entrance. The Martial Arts building has a small museum of Matsumoto Sensei’s judo career and the judo dojo has tatami from wall to wall. The Global Arena gymnasium, the location of the judo camp and tournament, is only a short walk in the opposite direction.
The team members, 13 and 14 year olds, have a lot of freedom at the Global Arena during their free time. They can shop in the general store for snacks and gifts (soap, tooth paste, etc. if needed), the bakery for pastries or go to the library (I don’t think they went there) or the rest area above the store. During their free time they had to opportunity to meet kids from other countries such as Sri Lanka, Russia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Netherlands and of course, Japan. Our team members each brought candy to hand out as gifts to the other teams as an “ice breaker” to get to know them.
With their freedom came responsibility. The teams were responsible for arriving to the cafeteria on time for our meals, busing our food plates, cups and utensils and wiping the tables when we were done. They were responsible for cleaning their rooms and doing their own laundry. They had to come to the training camp, practice and tournament on time and ready to go. The coaches were housed in building “A” and the teams were in buildings “F” and “G”. So even though we, the coaches, would go and check on them, we weren’t right there “babysitting” them.
As one of their coaches, I have to say, this was a great team, a great group of kids. They were responsible; they worked hard and fought hard. I was proud of them. I want to thank Misato, Yuri, Torie, Eric, Myles, Kenji, Angel and Takashi for being great kids. I want to thank Alan, Martha and Rob for being great coaches. Thank you to Mr. Kondo, manager of the Global Arena, Mr. Watanabe, Sanix Sports Foundation, Mr. Getov, who took care of all the teams during their visit and our translators, Shun and Tony. And last, a special thank you to Mr. Saito for being there with advice and guidance for all of us.
Larry Tsutsui, D.C.
From Kenji Litke
My Experience at the 2012 Sanix Judo Tournament in Japan
This had been an amazing experience! Not only was the competition great, but I also made many new friends, both within my own team and internationally. It was unforgettable, to see how judo was the common language between very different countries. I believe this tournament brought me closer to judo, to Japan, and to a monumental friendship. My team and I have really matured as far as independence and carrying responsibilities. I loved it at the Global Arena, and I wish it would have lasted longer than it did. I want to thank all of the sensei for their support, coaching, and for helping make this trip a reality.
I am sincerely grateful, and I had a truly memorable time!
From Takashi Tsutsui
2012 Sanix Tournament Experience
My experiences at the Sanix tournament was a once in a lifetime trip and I was extremely fortunate to have been able to represent USA judo at this event. One of my best experiences was being able to participate in the two-day training camp at the arena. During the training I felt that our whole team was exposed to a variety of techniques, grips, and methods people fought from around the world.
One of the good things at the Global Arena is that there are a lot of other teams in the same dorm as you. Some of the kids from other countries could speak English and one of my teammates could speak Japanese, so we were able to communicate with other kids. Because of this our team made a lot of friends that live around the world. We even got to help a kid from a Japanese team with his homework for his English class.
During the actual Sanix tournament we were extremely pleased with our performance because we all tried our best and both the girls and boys teams made it past the first round. The next day we had goodwill matches in which we all had ten matches. That was probably the most fun part of the trip.
Overall I was very fortunate to be a part of this trip and I think that it was one of the best experiences of my life.