Select Page

Dale Swett, Head Instructor, Tohoku Judo Club, writes:

Tohoku Judo Club is saddened to share the news of the passing of our revered Head Sensei Clark Edson on April 29, at age 78.

Clark Sensei began Judo in Berkeley, CA, where he was raised. He trained extensively at Heian Dojo in San Diego while he earned his PhD in virology at UC San Diego; and he did post-graduate studies in Kyoto, Japan, where he furthered his Judo.

Clark Edson, Sensei Tohoku Judo Club

In the early 80’s Clark Sensei moved to Boston to work at Tufts University. He became deeply involved with Tohoku Judo and the Greater Boston Judo community and became Tohoku Judo’s Head Sensei, a position he held for decades. He earned the rank of Rokudan and proudly represented our Rokushu Yudanshakai.

Off the mat, Clark Sensei was an accomplished virologist, with a PhD in Biochemistry from UC San Diego in 1967, followed by 3.5 years post doctorate study at Kyoto University under an NIH grant. Upon returning to the US, he was a researcher at Harvard Medical School for many years and published some key papers on viruses such as the chicken pox, Epstein Barr, and herpes viruses. He was a well-cited researcher who was involved in the final development of the chicken pox vaccine. Clark Sensei continued to work in industry for several years but while his mind was heavily involved in scientific work, his heart was always with Judo and the students and colleagues in the dojo.

In addition to a huge Judo family, Sensei leaves his wife, Catherine; daughter, Elise Rukavina; granddaughter, Naomi Rose; brother and sister-in-law Jeffrey and Kuhoo Edson; sister and brother-in-law, Marjorie and William McLaren. He was a very loved uncle to Jarrod and Asha.

Sensei Clark was quick to smile and even quicker to get a tap from his infamous shime-waza. Over his decades at Tohoku Judo Club he taught many hundreds of Judoka, adults and children. The lessons and techniques he passed on to his students will keep his legacy alive. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten by the Judo community he built and fostered.