Sam S. Imoto, Sensei

It is with great regret to inform you of the passing of our head instructor Sam S. Imoto Sensei, who established the Visalia Judo Club in 1965.

It is with great sadness to announce the passing of Sam S. Imoto Sensei on April 29, 2020 after a lengthy illness. Imoto Sensei was born in June of 1927 in Lindsay, California to Yaohachi and Sami Imoto. He would have been 93 this coming June. He dedicated his life in giving back what he had learned in Judo and passed his knowledge to those who studied under him. Many of his former students were fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of his lifelong journey as a judoist.

Sam Imoto Continue reading “Sam S. Imoto, Sensei”

Revised COVID-19 Guidance

A revised statement of practice has been issued. The full text is here and it includes the USOPC statement. The major addition to the document is below.

Return To Training Phases 1-5

The following is a very brief summary of the USOPC’s April 28, 2020, Return to Training Considerations Post-COVID-19 document. It is appended to the end of this guidance document.

Please be sure to read it in its entirety. Please be current and cognizant of the situation in your locale to ensure proper compliance with current rules and requirements.

Please keep in mind that the handling & treatments for the COVID-19 pandemic is a live, real-time experiment worldwide. It is impossible to impose a definitive timeline on the phased resumption of normal activity as the situation is very dynamic and fluid. Consequently, the return to activity phases depend on the situation and circumstance in your local jurisdiction. Your local public health authority’s assessments will determine the mandates/edicts they issue. It is vitally important that you are current and have a good understanding of these mandates/edicts. Please follow them closely to be compliant with public health standards. This will help you to protect the health and safety of your students, yourselves, and your community.

Regarding COVID-19 Testing:

There are now many different COVID-19 testing protocols and kits available. There are huge variations in pricing with little detailed information available regarding the accuracy and validity of these tests. Also, not all tests are available everywhere. This being so, though testing is important, it is difficult to recommend a particular protocol/test for people to take. Therefore, WE ARE NOT MAKING TESTING A REQUIREMENT.

Mandatory Temperature Checks:

Temperature checks are MANDATORY for everyone prior to entering the dojo/club/training facility once we reach Phase 3 & 4. The maximum acceptable temperature for entry is 100.4°F/38° C. Someone with a temperature that is higher than this is considered to have a fever.

Phase 1: Public health authorities require shelter in place, public training facilities are closed Dojos/clubs remain CLOSED. Individual home training & Virtual coaching ONLY.

Phase 2: Public health authorities lift shelter in place requirements, but continue to prohibit group activities and public training facilities remain closed Dojos/clubs remain CLOSED. Individual home training & Virtual coaching ONLY.

Phase 3: Public health authorities allow small group activities (< 10 people), but public training facilities remain closed Dojos/clubs remain CLOSED. Individual home training & Virtual coaching ONLY.

Phase 4: Public health authorities allow public training facilities to open, no limitations on group size.

Dojos/clubs may OPEN. Direct contact allowed to resume during this phase.

Phase 5: A vaccine or cure for COVID-19 is developed

Same as Phase 4. Continue infection prevention methods.

Regarding Sensei Kinya Sakamoto

On April 10, 2020, Kinya Sakamoto, Sensei, 8th dan, passed away at the age of 96. Sensei retired as a successful landscaper. He is survived by two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Kinya Sakamoto

Sensei Sakamoto started judo at the age of 13 at the Bakersfield Buddhist Church. Under the guidance of Senseis Abe and Tamanaha, he was promoted to the rank of Shodan at the age of 17. Along with Dr. Jerry Young, Sensei Sakamoto helped start the Bakersfield Judo Club in 1958 and joining the Chuka Yudanshakai the same year. He held the position of Chairman of the Board of Examiners in the yudanshakai organization for many years. He remained active with the Bakersfield Judo Club as Head Instructor and advisor for over 60 years, still attending practice as recently as last month.

Sensei Sakamoto left a lasting impression on all his students, not only for his judo knowledge but for his calm demeanor and clear instructions. He had a profound influence to promote the art of judo. Our organization has lost another of our founding members but mostly we will miss the leadership he provided us. One of his proudest achievements was the passing of his knowledge to his family, his two sons and four nephews all achieved the rank of black belt.

Covid 19 Guidance updated

On March 14, Covid 19 Guidance was issued for United States Judo Federation. At that time an update was anticipated which has now appeared.

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.

Everyone Must Be Responsible & Diligent

Everyone involved (including coaches, parents, and spectators) will have to closely monitor their health and truly strive to remain healthy. We all have to realize and accept the fact that if anyone in our group gets sick/infected, with the COVID-19 virus, we will have to assume that we are ALL INFECTED until proven otherwise.

Some of the changes in the document …

Stay At Home/Shelter In Place

The federal government is recommending that the general public stay at home. Many state and municipal governments are recommending/mandating that the general public stay at home and shelter in place. We encourage you to support these recommendations and mandates. Avoid exposure to COVID-19 and stay home as much as possible. Be mindful of “social distancing” and put distance between yourself and other people, six (6) feet or more whenever possible to avoid contact with respirator droplets when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs. Try to avoid contact with people who are sick and people who have been exposed to COVID-19. Studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people when they appear to be asymptomatic.

USJF Sanctioned Events

We are cancelling all previously USJF approved sanctions for events scheduled to occur on or before May 15, 2020. We will not accept sanction applications for any event to be scheduled to occur on or before May 15, 2020. We encourage event planners, organizers, and sponsors to wait until the current pandemic has subsided and the government restrictions and recommendations are lifted.

USJF National Office Update

In compliance with government recommendations and mandates, the USJF National Office will continue to operate with the staff generally working remotely from home as much as possible. We are observing social distancing by having only one (1) person in the office at any time. Much of our communication comes through the USPS mail. We will pick up and process our USPS mail as normal. As much as possible, work will be distributed and handled remotely. Though we will continue to answer the telephone, we strongly encourage you to communicate with us via email during these times.

Here is the pdf for distribution

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 .

Kodokan Instructor, Sensei Murata 8th Dan, Dies

It is with great sadness that I make this announcement. On April 9, 2020 Kodokan master instructor, Sensei Murata, 8th Dan, passed away from complications with his heart. He was living in Japan.

Many of us in the United States were fortunate to receive his very knowledgeable instruction. From July 24-28, 2017 Sensei Murata together with Sensei Utsugi 8th Dan were our Kodokan clinicians at the USJF National Kata Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri.

The USJF Kata Development Committee was able to invite these master instructors from the Kodokan. We spent 5 amazing days with Sensei Murata and Sensei Utsugi. Conference participants expressed their appreciation for their teaching style and kind and cordial manner.

Certainly it is heart breaking news to learn of Sensei Murata’s passing. He is a great loss. He left us with the gift of his teaching. Through our own practice we will continue his legacy.

If anyone would like to send a card of sympathy to his family please address it to to Sensei Murata’s Family at the Kodokan International Office, 1-16-30 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0003, Japan.

Eiko Shepherd
USJF Kata Committee Chair

Sensei Murata is seated in the front row, center, to the right of Sensei Eiko Shepherd and Sensei Utsugi.

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.

Letter from the American Judo Alliance & American Judo Development Model Leadership

Hello Everyone,

A joint letter from the Presidents of the American Judo Alliance with regard to financial resources that may be available to individuals and dojos due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Please distribute to any interested parties.

Thank you very much.
Take care, be careful and mindful.
R.S. Fukuda

Dear American Judokas, Coaches, and Club/Dojo Owners,

As we deal with the unprecedented circumstances brought on by the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 virus, it’s important for all of us to know that we are here for one another and that we stand united in helping each other, working together in the best interest of our sport. As many of you know, the American Judo Alliance made up of USA Judo, USJA and USJF, has been working together for some time in exploring and implementing collaboration opportunities for the greater good of judo in the United States. In that regard, we are pleased to provide American Judo Alliance members and organizations information that will hopefully be helpful in navigating these difficult times. Our thanks to the American Judo Development Model’s Coaches Task Force for initiating the idea of this joint communication.

Read the whole letter …