USJF President New Year Message


Mitchell Palacio, President
USJF President (1996-2000)
Professor of Kinesiology at City College of San Francisco.

Happy New Year to all USJF members and your families.

It is an honor to be elected again, to lead our organization into the New Year. I appreciate your confidence in my ability to lead USJF into 2021 and on.

USJF continues to be a strong and financially stable organization. The strength of an organization is in its members. One or a few people can get some things done; our organization of many are able to accomplish a great deal together. The USJF and the Yudanshakai system, the organization of the many dojos, will lead and guide our path forward out of this Covid-19 pandemic.

The USJF is known for its experience and its drive for continued excellence. We are not content to sit on our laurels and we know there is much work to be done for our judo clubs and our sensei’s to prepare for our USJF judo emergence.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce your elected USJF executive team, who represent multiple geographic regions of the USA. We have a college professor, bank executive, high school vice principal, elementary school teacher, certified public accountant and a retired EPA specialist.

Ed Hanashiro

Our USJF First Vice President is an Assistant Vice President at the American Savings Bank in Honolulu and functions as a Bank Regulatory Compliance Senior Specialist. He brings to USJF considerable leadership skills and distinctive experience in customer service and customer relations.

Mr. Hanashiro oversees the USJF marketing, public relations, website, technology and social media committees. He is responsible for leading the development and rebuilding of our USJF administrative infrastructure, enhanced educational website content and USJF on-line presence across multiple platforms. He was a former USJF Treasurer for many years.

Boris Munoz

Our USJF Second Vice President, is the Vice Principal at Maspeth High School in Elmhurst, New York. Mr. Munoz brings a considerable amount of leadership experience from his years of working in the Elmhurst Unified School District. As the coordinator of all committees, he will guide and facilitate the standing committees to create, produce and launch grassroots development programs. He will assist the startup of specific programs with current objectives based on a review of concepts and viewpoints from the USJF community.

Krista Tsutsui Steele

Our USJF Secretary to the USJF Board of Directors is Krista Tsutsui Steele. She is an elementary school teacher living in Seattle, Washington. Krista chairs the USJF Social Media Committee. She is responsible for the USJF virtual Open Mat Segments, Instagram and Facebook posts.

The Open Mat program she coordinates is an excellent program created during this Covid pandemic time and is a must-see experience. The Open Mat program will change your perspective of judo by sharing a positive experience for your judo students.

Ken Teshima

Our USJF Treasurer is Ken Teshima. Mr. Teshima is a professional certified public accountant, and he will manage the finances of USJF. His firm, Teshima & Co., takes a holistic approach to accounting, tax and business consulting and specializes in small to mid-sized business. As USJF Treasurer, he brings his considerable financial acumen and experience to effectively manage the USJF finances.

Matsuo Takeda

The USJF Chair of the Board of Examiner is Matsuo Takeda, 8th Dan. Mr. Takeda is a retired Program Supervisor of the Environmental Protection Agency. He has been the Chair of the USJF Board of Examiners since 2016.

“Making a Difference”

On Sunday, February 21 at 1:00 pm (Pacific), I will host a “Making a Difference”, zoom meeting. I want to hear from you, the sensei, coach, teacher, and assistant teacher, your experiences and concerns you endured during this pandemic. I’m committed and the USJF is committed to assist you, the dojo sensei, and to help you to reopen your dojo with the proper education, protocol and resources. The USJF is building a network of professionals to deliver our membership dojo resources, pathways toward success and a positive experience. I will listen and take your concerns to our USJF Executive team and committees. Come and be part of the experience, “Making a Difference”.

Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something, it starts with you!

Believe in and be Proud of your USJF

Mitchell Palacio
President, United States Judo Federation

New Background Screening Information Memo

Years ago, USJF adopted the US Center for SafeSport’s programs and standards for education and training to protect athletes and participants from abuse. SafeSport has begun to require more rigorous background screens. Thus, our background screening has been updated to meet these new standards. Our screening vendor continues to be National Center for Security Initiatives (NCSI). NCSI is now wholly owned by SportsEngine. SportsEngine is a National Broadcasting Company (NBC) Sports Group Company.

The major changes are that background screening is now required to be completed annually and there are more data sources available to conduct a wider, more thorough background screening. The screening fee has been increased to $35.00. The new screening program is compliant with the newer, stricter SafeSport standards and includes two (2) annual background screens/checks.

  1. Under the new screening standard:
    1. You are paying for two (2) background screens over two (2) years.
      1. 1st background screen – upon application for the 1st year.
      2. 2nd background screen – upon anniversary for the 2nd year.
    2. 2nd background screen is done AUTOMATICALLY at end of 1st year (NO ACTION BY APPLICANT NECESSARY).
  2. Please download the USJF Background Screening/Check Consent & Release Form.
  3. Please complete the form by typing into the PDF document. Please NO HANDWRITTEN applications.
  4. Please print, and SIGN the application.
  5. Please mail completed, signed form, along with your $35.00 check (made out to “USJF”) to the USJF National Office.
    1. Results of both the 1st and 2nd screenings are automatically provided to USJF.
    2. AFTER the 2nd year screen EXPIRES, the applicant must REAPPLY for a new screen.
    3. The cost for this new screening is $35.00. This cost covers both screenings for the 1st and 2nd year.

These statements are based on the assumption that your background screens return clear and free of any disqualifiers.

There is a new background check/screening application form that will be available on our website. It is also included as the last page of this memo. The application form is a fillable PDF document. Please use this form to apply for your screening.
If you have recently completed a clear background screen, it will be grandfathered and will be valid for a maximum of one (1) year. Once the grandfathered background expires, you will need to obtain a new screening through the new system.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. Thank you very much for your continued service to judo and USJF

SafeSport Background Screening Application 201115 (pdf)

Important announcement for USJF registered dojos and clubs

The USJF Board of Directors has waived the USJF dojo/club registration fee for Fiscal Year 2021 (9/1/2020-8/31/2021).

You do not have to pay the USJF portion of the dojo/club registration fee ($25). Please check with your yudanshakai regarding your yudanshakai’s dojo/club registration fee to see if they are making any changes/adjustments in their dojo/club registration fees for FY 2021.

Insurance is an important part of the USJF dojo/club registration, and many rely on the certificate of insurance from the USJF office. Please ensure you have completed the USJF Club Registration & Insurance Application (USJF form 509) as well as your dojo/club registration renewal.

We realize that many/most dojos are closed and/or prohibited by public health edicts/guidance to ease operations, we encourage you to get your dojo/club registration in now. It puts you in position for quick/immediate start up when the opportunity presents itself.

Please see the full text of this announcement here.

Notice: Extension to George Balch 2020 Scholarship Application Deadline

Notice to all high school seniors and graduates intending to continue judo and attend college – In the light of the disruption to both academics and judo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the application deadline for the 2020 George Balch Scholarship has been extended to August 15, 2020. This year, in addition to funding the one continuing scholarship awardee, the Committee will strive to fund at least one additional scholarship. Please read the qualifications and application form on the Scholarship Fund webpage carefully and be sure to provide the required information.

Thank you.

Click here to see the Balch Scholarship Fund webpage

Pete Catlos
George C. Balch Scholarship Committee
Telephone: (810) 300-3639

Hall of Fame nomination deadline changed

It has become necessary to move up the deadline for HOF nominations. We originally announced May 23 as the deadline and then our national meeting schedules necessarily changed.

We’ll be holding our HOF Committee telephonic meeting on either May 16 or 17. The new deadline for required materials for any further candidates being nominated by yudanshakais is now Saturday, May 9. Respondents need to refer to the original notice for details on making a nomination.

ALL nomination materials should be .

International Judo Federation – The Great 8

What do the judo values mean to you? Show your favorite value in action and win fantastic prizes!

Talk about the values with your friends, parents, teammates and send us an illustration of how you “see” the judo values in everyday life.

For decades, judo has been teaching us several of these important life values. These values are present in each judo lesson all around the world, where we learn and teach our judo community about Courage, Respect, Modesty, Friendship, Honour, Sincerity, Self-control and Politeness.

If you are less than 14 years old, this contest is for you!

Go to this IJF page to find out more about this contest.

Let the values of our sport inspire you to stay strong and positive!

The judges are Clarisse Agbegnenou, Varlam Liparteliani, Christa Deguchi and Rafael Silva.

Recommendations from the USJF Medical Committee about COVID-19

COVID-19 Pandemic 2020

(March 14, 2020)

Thank you very much to Dr. Ricardo Joseph and Dr. Eric Chen of the USJF Medical Committee for their time and expertise in helping to put together this information along with recommendations for our community. This will be helpful for everyone as we all work through the trying & difficult times ahead.

This document provides recommendations from the USJF Medical Committee on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  • We must all behave responsibly to protect own health, but also to protect everyone’s health by not contracting, carrying, and transmitting the COVID-19 virus to others.
  • These recommendations are based on the current and most up-to-date information and data available at the time of creation. This was accomplished by researching and reviewing guidelines published by various sports medicine organizations, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
  • We remind you that the COVID-19 pandemic is a rather fluid and sometimes chaotic environment with occasionally conflicting medical information.
  • Keep yourself informed with the latest information, developments, and situation by visiting the CDC’s COVID-19 page.
  • Also visit your state’s health department website, and keep up with your local news. Empowerment though knowledge and education is critical.
  • It is vitally important for everyone to be mindful that each individual’s health situation is unique and may require different strategies. Thus, we strongly recommend that people consult with their primary care physician/doctor/medical professional to ensure that they are taking the appropriate measures that are what is safest and most effective for their
    personal situation.
  • These are general recommendations. It is NOT our intent to circumvent or replace the advice or directives from your primary care physician/doctor/medical professional.
  • We encourage compliance with government recommendations, regulations,
    requirements, and laws.
  • Our intent is to help keep all of our members safe while still retaining some flexibility for our high-level elite athletes.

Here is a pdf for distribution

Continue reading “Recommendations from the USJF Medical Committee about COVID-19”