Dan Israel passes IJF-A Referee Exam

On behalf of the USJF  Referee Development and Certification Committee, I would like to announce that Dan Israel, long time USJF member and supporter, has passed the IJF-A (International) referee exam in Oberwart, Austria.

Congratulations to Dan for this accomplishment, and best of luck in his continued work in the future!


-Joon Chi
Chairman, USJF Referee Development and Certification Committee


Report of High School Training Trip to Korea

Dear President Asano,

Greetings to you from Minnesota. I am pleased to forward this report to you regarding the successful USJF HS Special Training held in Korea last July 12-21, 2013. I sincerely appreciate the USJF funding this training which was our 9th year of attendance. There were 7 students and 1 coach in attendance this time. Two letters from USJF members are attached regarding their experience, as well as some pictures from the trip.

This program helps a lot of young Judo students–in the past, Colton Brown was an attendee and this year he won the bronze medal in the 2013 Grand Prix; L.A. Smith was an attendee twice and he is going to Junior World Championships in October to represent the US in Slovenia; Matt Dong was an attendee and he’s in National top 5 in 60k; and Nicholas Irabli was an attendee and he attended the World Cadet Championship this year in Miami. This USJF project helps support the importance of our special training in Korea. It is a great motivator and helps with overall training for these young people who attend. So looking forward to the future and continued involvement and appreciation by the USJF for this program.

I want to give a special thank you to the parents for their support. The students enthusiasm and conduct are a credit to the students and to their parents.


Sincerest Regards,

Joon K. Chi, Chairman of Referee Development and Certification Committee of USJF


Dear Sensei Chi,

I apologize for the extreme delay in sending this letter.

I want to thank you for your endless patience, support, guidance, and generosity which you provided us during our stay at Kyungmin High school. I would also like to extend my most profound thanks to the other senseis and officials that were gracious enough to extend their benevolence and charity: Sensei Kim, Sensei Moon, and all the others whose names I regrettably cannot recall. Their efforts and sacrifices are greatly appreciated and did not go unnoticed.

The key element of what made this trip so enjoyable for me was how different the culture was, especially the food. Contrary to how some of my teammates may have felt toward the cuisine we were offered, I thoroughly enjoyed the Korean fare, particularly the duck dishes. The interesting methods of preparing the entrées and exciting new flavors experienced have inspired me to attempt to prepare some examples of my own at home.

I greatly enjoyed talking with the Korean students and their considerably different conversational models, sense of humor, and boundless enthusiasm. The opportunity to interact with such a similar yet distinct culture proved to be a truly rewarding experience. I feel that I have formed lasting friendships with a few of these people. However, I must now learn to read and speak a bit more Korean to be able to understand what they are saying as my Facebook news-feed is now flooded with all their statuses and things that I can’t read.

My absolute favorite parts of the trip would have to be when we visited Gyeonbukgan Palace and the National Folk Museum of Korea. I like to believe in the self-imposed illusion that I am a history savant. History is one of my favorite fields of academic study and I devote more time to it than my other studies. I highly valued and cherished the opportunity to visit a key historical site and study the records of a people that I previously had minimal knowledge of.

The Judo training was top-notch and I definitely left Kyungmin with significantly more knowledge and skill than I had entered with. The Korean judo team was incredibly gracious while wiping the mat with me and very helpful when teaching me how to be less terrible at what I was doing. I enjoyed the greater physical challenges and how the training pushed my skill and conditioning up to and well past my limit. The resistance band that the school sent home with me will doubtlessly prove to become a valuable tool to supplement my judo training. I will also be sharing the techniques and exercises with my Sensei and our Judo club.

This trip was an incredible opportunity and it was an honor to be able to take part in this wonderful experience that I will not soon forget. I would also like to let you know that I will be writing a report for school on my experiences during this trip in Korea. If you would like to use this composition, please let me know and I will forward you a copy once it is completed. If there is a specific deadline for your use of this information, please notify me.
Thank you again Sensei Chi.

Jonathan Raynovic

Hiatt, Daniel
My trip to Korea
Hello, my name is Daniel Hiatt, and I am one of the student judokas that went on the training trip to Korea with Sensei Joon Chi. It was awesome, right from the beginning!
On the first day all seven of us Americans students gathered together and we got to know each other a lot. Kevin Sensei, Jonathan, Jared, Jackson, Rachael, Tessa, and Cameron…we all became great friends on the first day we met.
We went sightseeing on the second day. We saw a lot of Korean culture and ate a lot of food. I wish we could have seen more. We did many fun things that day, but above all I could not forget the moment when Jackson started up Psy’s “Gangnam-style” song and Chi-sensei started to dance to it. All of us laughed so hard. Pretty much, for the first day, all of us broke the ice and got acquainted.
A typical training schedule for a day at Kyungmin High School:
· Morning practice at 6:00 – In this practice we would run several miles. This included interval training, stair runs, and carrying people on our backs.
· Afternoon practice at 3:00 – consisting of a mix of uchi-komi, tachi-waza randori, and ne-waza randori.
· Evening practice at 8:00 – specifically focused on aerobic training. We would pull a thick surgical rubber tube many times, in sets, with three breaks in between. Each set would focus on a different pulling technique. We would be very tired by the end.
Each practice would last a little over 2 hours.
When we first experienced the morning practice, Jared, Jonathan, Jackson and I all thought we were going to die. We were gasping for air, while all the other Koreans were easily warming up for the next round. This was only a little after the beginning of the practice!
After we (barely) got through this class, we had breakfast, went into our rooms, and just laid there. We could not move since we were so sore! When we were in the locker rooms, we had time to get to know the other Korean Judoka. The high school team was very friendly. They were constantly interested in what we did in America. We would keep our breaks filled with movies, arm wrestling tournaments, and playing poker, so it wasn’t always spent in agony.
After we ate lunch, the afternoon practice came. We were still sore, but we were pumped and ready for class. We began with warm-ups, which consisted of calisthenics and ukemi. When we got to the uchi-komi, I was surprised at how many fit-ins the Koreans did. This was many more than what we did at my home dojo – typically around 30 minutes or so. When tachi-waza randori came up, the US team bowed in with the Koreans, and we began.
To make a long story short: WE GOT OUR BUTTS HANDED TO US ON A PLATTER. Any partner I would go with would be in front of me one moment, then under me the next. I would be on the floor in two seconds flat. But the good thing was that I would learn a little bit more each time I was slammed on the mat. I learned a lot by the end of the week.
After the tachi-waza randori, we moved on to the ground work, ne-waza randori. Jonathan, Jared, and I would cheer after we got a guy smaller than us onto the ground with a pin. But the next moment would see us being overpowered on to the mat by a guy that was the same small size as the prior one.
Like the tachi-waza session, we learned a lot with our backs being on the ground. The afternoon practice taught us to be very humble when working with people from other countries.
After we ate dinner, the evening practice would begin. We were really sore after the first two practices, and we were figuratively crawling to this practice. Practice consisted of pulling a rubber tube about 2 millimeters thick many times for about 2 hours. All of the Koreans would pull this band like it was nothing, but the US team suffered through it, gasping and gulping down water. By the end of this practice, the guys on the US team felt like their arms were about to fall off. We could not feel our bodies afterwards. But even though we were bruised and sore, it felt good. We wanted our American team to keep on going….and that’s exactly what we did throughout the week.
Throughout the week, we tried hard and got through the exercises. We got our butts kicked a LOT. We were taught to be humble when it came to technique. It was hard, really hard. But in the end, we felt like we accomplished something. Korea taught me that there are many different types of judoka out there in the world. There are some types that want to compete and win; and some types that only do it just because they are told to. I honestly did not know what kind of judoka I was when I first landed in Korea. But after I experienced the training, I kind of had a glimpse of what kind I was.
When I was in Korea, the training taught me that, whatever I do now with judo, it will influence the rest of my judo career. Right now, all I have to worry about is becoming the best judoka I can possibly be. I am still a brown belt, and I still have a lot to learn. Being a black belt means you are just an experienced white belt, and you have just begun the learning process. So in order to advance to the next level, I have to make sure right now that I have access to the best training I can get my hands on. The trip to Korea showed me that there is still much to learn.
So, all in all, my future in judo is still a work in progress, and I feel I will never stop developing and learning.


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Training Opportunity for High School Students in Korea!

There is an international training opportunity available to USJF members that are current High School Students. The team will engage in an intensive training camp and goodwill shiai. Eligible students must be aged 14 through 19, but there are no weight restrictions.

The dates for the camp are July 12 through 20. The students will have to fund their own airfare and spending money. The hosting High School will provide room and board, domestic transportation, and sightseeing opportunities.

The USJF High School team will leave the US on Friday July 12, arriving in Seoul, Korea on Saturday July 13. The team will leave Seoul on Saturday July 20, arriving back in the US on the same day. Students will be required to bring two judogi (both white, or one blue and one white).

If you are interested in this opportunity, please email the following information to Mr. Joon Chi at jkchi@msn.com:

  • Student’s name
  • Address
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Judo Rank
  • Parent’s Name
  • Home and Cell Phone Number (for both student and parent if applicable)
  • Judo Club Name
  • Sensei’s Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Email address (for both student and parent)

Please submit your information as soon as possible, so we can confirm eligibility in order for you to get a low airfare (NOTE: Each student will travel from their home city to Seoul (Incheon Airport) Korea directly).

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Joon Chi by email.


New Referee Licenses at World Cup/US Open (updated)

On behalf of the United States Judo Federation’s Referee Development and Certification Committee, I would like to congratulate the following members on passing their IJF A Referee License Exam (the world’s highest level referee license) at the Miami World Cup, which was held in Doral, Florida on August 27 and 28.

Mrs. Meredith Commender
Mr. Edson Mallo
Mr. Dean Markovics
Mr. Dan Takata

We would also like to recognize and congratulate Ms. Julia Van Helder, who was the United States’ sole candidate for the IJF B Referee License candidate, for passing her examination at the US Open on August 29 in Doral, Florida.


In a continuing effort of referee development and certification, we would like to report that three United States referees took and passed the examination for a C Referee License, issued by the Panamerican Judo Confederation at the North and Central American Judo Championships in Doral, Florida on August 30.  We would like to congratulate:

Mr. Ralph Palmer
Mr. Neil Simon
Mr. Charlie Wall

Donations & Bequests of Tax Favored Assets to USJF Endowment

The USJF Endowment Trust Fund (Endowment Trust) is a special fund established to accept gifts & USJF life membership fees none of which CAN EVER BE SPENT.  In fact, your donations count towards your USJF life membership status!  Our endowment will continue in perpetuity with the requirement that only Endowment Fund income may be disbursed & disbursements can only be used for judo development around the USA.

Most gifts take the form of cash donations of after tax income & savings; however, gifts of appreciated property (real estate, stocks, etc.) or funds from a tax deferred retirement account can produce much more bang for the donor’s dollar where tax deductibility might include the fully appreciated-before tax-value.  Neither you nor the USJF Endowment Trust will pay any income tax on the untaxed appreciation or retirement account income but you still get to write-off the full property value on the owner’s income tax return..

Donations to the Endowment Trust also come from our members’ & friends’ estate plans but where payment or transfer is deferred to the time of death in many cases.  Charitable estate planning is very easy to accomplish by simply providing “The sum of $10,000 from my [estate, trust, etc.] upon my demise to the USJF Endowment Trust Fund”.   Once again there can be some income tax savings to other estate or trust beneficiaries if “income in respect of decedent” or IRD property is used to fund this bequest.  Your retirement account is a good example of an “IRD” asset.  If other beneficiaries were to receive such IRD property, they would be required to pay income tax on the retirement account proceeds as received; however, our Endowment Trust, being a 501(C)(3)  tax exempt entity pays no income tax.   Our bequest might read:  “Upon my demise…shall pay the sum $10,000 to the USJF Endowment Trust Fund, a IRC Section 501(C)(3) tax exempt charity with headquarters in Ontario, Oregon (FEIN_________________), such sum, where ever possible to come first from any income in respect of decedent (IRD) assets of my estate….”

An even simpler donation can be set up by naming our Endowment as beneficiary (100% or to be shared with others) of a life insurance policy.   Often times the insurance which may have been a very valuable form of financial security when the children were young is no longer as critical to spouse or other family members & thus, can become a desirable source for making a charitable bequest.

Another simple method of giving at death is to name the Endowment as either a “PAID ON DEATH BENEFICIARY” or a joint account holder of a bank or brokerage account which will result in the Endowment Trust receiving some portion of bank account funds, securities, etc. left after death.  Those who may not be comfortable deciding on a specific dollar amount to bequeath sometimes prefer this method as the gift can remain a fixed % of what ever balance eventually is left in the account & it is also easy to modify such a bequest.  Such inheritance schemes are sometimes thought of as a will substitute.

The USJF Endowment Trust Fund currently holds about $793,000 in assets of which approximately $158,000 constitutes the total of funds from nine separate scholarship programs.  With this very special fund, the US Judo Federation will continue pursuing its mission “…to serve and support its members in the American judo community while upholding the principles of mutual welfare and benefit.”

To learn more about the USJF Endowment Trust Fund, contact the USJF Planned Giving Director, Dr. Leslie Minot through the national office at:

P.O. Box 338; Ontario, Oregon 97914

Telephone (541) 889-8753

Fax (541) 889-5836 or (413) 502-4983

Passing of Yoshito Vince Tamura

Passing of Yoshito Vince Tamura

Vince Tamura passed peacefully this afternoon following his having a series of strokes a week ago Monday and never regaining consciousness.

For those of you who do not know, Vince was our representative to the First World Judo Championships held in 1956 where he made it to the semi-final.

He was also a referee when Judo was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1964.

He started Judo in Seattle where he saw his older brother, Mas, promoted by Jigoro Kano to yodan. Vince was a decorated veteran of World War II and joined his brother after the war in Chicago where they built a very strong club and Vince won several national championships.  Vince eventually got married to Yuri and they moved to Dallas with their two sons, David and Bob – both strong judoka.  Vince’s legacy includes the long standing Dallas Invitational Championship, being the only person promoted to 9th Dan by USA Judo, and having trained a long list of national and international champions.

Hiro Fujimoto, Konan Pioneer, Passing Away at 88

To all Judokas,

Hiro Fujimoto, 88 years old, a pioneer of Konan Yudanshakai and a past president of the USJF, passed away peacefully in Naples Florida, early morning 4/8/2010. His
family was at his side.

Sensei Fujimoto was a co-founder of the Detroit Judo Club and helped produce champions and administrators. He did much for the development of the USJF, and we enjoy
the fruits of his labors.

His family has requested no flowers, but messages of condolence may be sent to the family care of his son, Paul Fujimoto

68 Palos Drive
Naples FL 34104

Donations may be sent to :

Avow Hospice of Naples
1095 Whipperwill Lane
Naples FL 34105-3847

Please pass this information along.

One of his many students,   James Walmsley
Morning Star Judo Club
Arizona Yudanshakai

High School Seniors – Apply now for Balch Scholarship

Balch Scholarship

It is time for High School Seniors to apply for one of the George C. Balch College Scholarships. Applications and qualification requirements are available through the USJF Administrative Offices. These scholarships vary between $500.00 to $1000.00. Scholarships are limited and selective.

Deadline for applications is 1 June 2010.

Assistance for college is important and your interest and attainments in judo can help improve your further education. Please go to the Scholarship page for further information.