Select Page

April 5, 2018

Dear USA Judo Members,

We have heard from many of you that you are as excited as we are about the recent American Judo Alliance Agreement (“The Agreement”) and collaborative partnership with USJA and USJF. We have also heard from some members that they have questions and concerns about The Agreement that we hope to answer and alleviate through this letter providing an analysis of The Agreement from USA Judo’s Perspective.

The first draft of The Agreement was created in the Spring of 2017 as a proposal to update prior agreements that had been in existence between the three organizations since the late 1980’s and was sorely outdated with references to agreements, events and policies that were irrelevant or need updating. In addition to making necessary revisions focused primarily on reciprocal participation by members of the three organizations at local and regional competitions, the Alliance Leadership also felt this was an opportunity to look at the bigger picture to find ways we could collaborate on an objective we could all agree on…. grow judo awareness and participation in the United States. These two objectives also emerged after USA Judo’s research-driven strategic plan was recently created with feedback collected from USA Judo Constituents and considered by the Strategic Planning Commission and USA Judo Board of Directors.

Most of the points captured in The Agreement will not significantly impact USA Judo, if at all. However, the following pieces of The Agreement may impact USA Judo:

  • Awarding 3/4 of the points assigned to USA Judo’s Jr. Olympics to USJF/USJA Junior Grassroots Judo™ Summer Nationals. The impact on USA Judo should be minimal as competitors who earn USA Judo Points at this event will need to become USA Judo Members to be placed on USA Judo’s National Ranking Roster.
  • Creation of an American Judo Development Model. The Alliance Organizations understand and agree that some standardization in the method of instruction and progressive skill level programming will assist in the integration of the sport and may also help in identifying and developing athletes for shiai and kata competition at the national and international level, as well as development of programming for recreational players. As such, the three organizations will select six coaches or teachers skilled in instruction at all age levels (two from each Alliance Organization) to form a task force to create a skeleton plan for a unified “American Judo Development Model”, focused on development from beginner youth judoka to Olympic and Paralympic Medalists. This task force will present its initial recommendations to the Alliance Leaders no later than 9 months from its inception. The U.S. Olympic Committee is also encouraged by this initiative and is pr oviding resources to support it.
  • Integrated Coaching Certification. In the interest of collaboratively growing the sport of judo in the United States, a task force comprised of members from each of the American Judo Alliance Organizations will be established to create a comprehensive, integrated coaching certification program. The Alliance Leaders believe having a standardized coaching certification program with established core competencies that is implemented independently by each of the three organizations with comparable or same pricing will help to grow athlete and coach development as well as overall participation in the United States. The task force for this will be created after the initial recommendations provided by the American Judo Development Task Force, as it pertains to coaching. From that point forward both the Athlete Development Task Force and Integrated Coach Certification Task Force will work together.
  • Recognition of Certified Coaches or Coach Certifications from all three organizations at USA Judo National Events. The impact on USA Judo could potentially be significant. USA Judo Leadership made the Alliance Group aware that this concession may have ramifications on USA Judo membership and subsequently revenue. The Alliance Leadership agreed it could re-visit it if the negative impact was too great, given the additional financial responsibilities required of USA Judo above and beyond those of JA/JF; especially high performance athlete, coach, travel and competition expenses. Accepting coaching certifications from all three organizations may reduce USA Judo Membership and USA Judo Coach Certifications. Accepting JA/JF Coaching Certifications at USA Judo National Events may also increase the number of coaches who bring their athletes (who must be USA Judo Members) to events, which may increase the number of participants, generating additional revenue th at could offset some of the potential lost revenue from coach memberships and certifications. What has not changed is that all international coaching certifications need to still come through USA Judo.

USA Judo, along with USJF and USJA, is optimistic about the potential that can be accomplished through the collaborations outlined in the American Judo Alliance Agreement and working together in sharing best practices from the three organizations for the overall betterment of judo in the United States. Knowing that this is radical change for the American Judo Community, one term of The Agreement to provide reassurance is the ability for any organization to withdraw from The Agreement upon 60 days written notice to the other parties. Hopefully that will not happen.

Please join us in our excitement and support these new initiatives to grow the sport of judo. Please e-mail us at usajudo@usajudo.us if you have additional questions or concerns.


USA Judo Board of Directors and
Keith Bryant, USA Judo CEO/Executive Director