The governance of U.S. Judo started in 1952, through the efforts of Dr. Henry A. Stone, Major Donn Draeger (USMC), and others. At that time there was no national authority to give guidance to local judo communities and insure the logical and orderly development of judo as a sport. The Amateur Judo Association (AJA) was a first attempt at establishing a national governing structure in conjunction with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Dr. Stone served as the first president.
In 2002 the fiftieth anniversary was celebrated with a book of USJF history. In it were a number of biographies. including this:
HENRY A. STONE
Henry A. Stone, Ph.D., Godan, (1901-1956) was a veritable giant in the American Judo panorama. He was able to accomplish many things from his position as Chairman of the Physical Education Department and wrestling coach at the University of California, Berkeley. He was responsible for or was deeply involved in at least three major American Judo cornerstones; introduction of weight categories into senior contest Judo (against the wishes of the Kodokan and many American yudansha), unifying five reluctant Yudanshakais to form the Judo Black Belt Federation of the United States of America (J.B.B.F.), and helped to fucilitate the entry of Judo into the 1964 Olympics.
Henry Stone and Yosh Uchida had been credited with establishing senior weight categories in contest Judo. This was a necessary step before Judo could affiliate with the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States (A.A.U.) and segue into the Olympics. The ruling also gave lighter weight competitors a chance to become a champion in his weight category and reduce the opportunities for injuries. Dr. Stone was the first “Chairman, AAU National Judo Committee.”
In 1932 after Dr. Jigaro Kano invited Hawaii, Hokka, Nanka, and Seattle to form yudanshakais and affiliate with the Kodokan it became obvious that their unification was necessary for the betterment of the sport. Henry Stone organized and was the first president of the Amateur Judo Association (A.J.A). Yosh Uchida was vice president and Bill Godfrey, secretary. The AJ.A. soon dissolved and gave way to the J.B.B.F. (Beikoku Judo Yudanshakai Renmei) which held its first meeting in Los Angeles, CA, on May 25, 1955. Henry Stone, of Hokka, was a voting member of the J.B.B.F. Board of Directors. The AAU. had a close contractual arrangement with the J.B.B.F.
Prior to the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo there was considerable antipathy toward Japan and its national sport, Judo. Early on, it was not clear or probable that Judo would be included as one of the 1960 or even the 1964 Games. Henry Stone, Yosh Uchida, and Avery Brundage, working together, were able to help convince Asian countries to allow the sport of Judo to participate in the Tokyo Olympics.
Dr. Henry A. Stone was a member of the consulting committee during the formation of the Internatjonal Judo Federation. As a member of Hokka Yudanshakai he served on many boards and committees. He was a true American Judo Pioneer and Judoka.
Submitted by: Joseph J. Fitzsimmons. MD