The USJF Kata Chairman, Eiko Saito Shepherd, 8th Dan, writes:
The 2018 USJF Kata Conference was held in Honolulu, Hawaii. The clinic was held August 2, 3, & 4th at Ala Wai Golf Course Ballroom. This conference was sponsored by the Judo Black Belt Association of Hawaii. About 54 people participated over the 3 days.
On the first day we practiced Ju No Kata and Goshin Jitsu. Day two was devoted to Katame No Kata and Kime No Kata. The last day we practiced Itsutsu No Kata and Koshiki No Kata.
I felt a high level of enthusiasm from the people on the mat. There was a variety of experience levels from White Belts to Black Belts. They were all learning together. This was an example of Dr. Kano’s philosophy that we should all be helping each other. (Mutual Welfare and Benefit)
There were many young teenagers on the mat. They seemed to be practicing kata seriously. At the same time the manner in which they were all helping each other made the atmosphere seemed like a big family.
Throughout the 3 days Sensei Tsubota’s family came and supported the conference. On Friday night everyone was invited to celebrate a special dinner in Sensei Tsubota’s honor. During the dinner we enjoyed talking about the good memories we shared with Sensei and his family. Mrs. Tsubota’s eyes filled with tears as people spoke lovingly about him. As his daughter in law, Tina, texted me later. “ A year has passed but he is still greatly missed.” We all join in that sentiment.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Judo Black Belt Association of Hawaii. Their members showed real team work. Everything was so organized and that made it a true pleasure to be there.
I would like to express a special thank you to the new USJF president, Mr. Mark Muranaka. He attended all three days of the conference including the evening dinner. His presence was very supportive to everyone there. His commitment to attend the entire conference was greatly appreciated.