USJF President’s February Message

letterheadMitchell Palacio

“Making a Difference”

On Sunday, February 21 at 1:00pm – 3:00pm (Pacific), I will host a “Making a Difference”, zoom meeting. I want to hear from you, the sensei, coach, teacher, assistant teacher and member. Share your experiences and concerns you endured during this pandemic. Participate and be part of the experience, “Making a Difference”.

Link to Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 852 6981 2688 Passcode: 322958

USJF Executive Committee appointments

In the process of establishing a network of skillful professionals in the USJF membership, I have met many members with talent and expertise across the country who are part of the make-up of the USJF membership.

As President of U.S. Judo Federation, I have the privilege of appointing additional members to the USJF Executive Committee.  The following appointments reflect diversity and regional representation as well as strategic talent of the USJF.

Grace Talusan

©2021 USJF all rights reserved

USJF 3rd Dan

Grace Talusan is the owner and head instructor of Kokushi Midwest Judo in Champaign, Illinois. She is only one of a handful of people in the U.S. who have completed the International Judo Federation Academy Level-2 Coaching Certification.

She is the current president of the Chicago Judo Black Belt Association. Her competition record includes two senior national championships, a bronze medal at the 2016 World Masters and several state championships.  She lives in Champaign, Illinois with her husband and two children.

Jason Harai

©2021 USJF all rights reserved

USJF 5th Dan

Jason Harai was born and raised in Lakewood, Washington. He started judo when he three years old at his father’s dojo, Tacoma Judo Club. He is the head instructor of Ippon Judo Dojo at the Lakewood Family YMCA. He is the current president of the Northwest Judo Yudanshakai.

Joshua Kindelberger

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USJF 5th Dan

Joshua Kindelberger is the head instructor at Mushin Judo Club in Boise, Idaho. He is also the president of Intermountain Yudanshakai.

As a law enforcement officer, Senior Deputy Josh Kindelberger was awarded the Certificate of Recognition for establishing the Training Academy at Ada County Sheriff’s Office for new jail deputies. He is recognized for his efforts to enhance standards for Idaho law enforcement.

Charles Medani

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USJF 7th Dan

Dr. Charles Medani is the USJF Marketing Coordinator and an assistant instructor at D.C. Judo in Washington, D.C. He is a USJF Life Member and was instrumental in the formation of the USA Judo Masters Competition.

Dr. Medani’s past experience includes past Chairman USA Judo Masters Program (1982-1992), First President Maryland Judo, Inc. (1982-1988), Manager for the USA Olympic team mission during the  Eastern Europe tour (1984), Former National Referee, USA Team Physician for 1987 World Championship, IJF Accredited Photographer & Journalist for five World Championships (2009-2017).

Sheldon Konno

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USJF 4th Dan

Sheldon Konno has practiced judo for 24 years and is a member of the Salt Lake Judo Club in Honolulu and 50th State Judo Association Yudanshakai. He has an International Judo Federation Referee Class “A” license.

Mr. Konno has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  He is the current Vice-Principal of the Hawaii Department of Education and he is also a lecturer at Leeward Community College.

Did you know…

image of book cover, Judo in the US

Judo in the U.S., A Century of Dedication by Michel Brousse and David Matsumoto

©2021 USJF all rights reserved

From the book, Judo in the U.S., A Century of Dedication by Michel Brousse and David Matsumoto

In 1952, the judo leaders of the Yudanshakai of Seattle, Hawaii, Northern California, Southern California, and Chicago formed the first U.S. national organization, the Beikoku Judo Yudanshakai under the leadership of Dr. Henry Stone.  … During the first meeting held one year later, the name of the organization was changed to the Amateur Judo Association (AJA).

In 1955, the AJA changed its name to the Judo Black Belt Federation (JBBF) and in 1963, “upon recommendation of the JBBF executive committee, the Board of Governors unanimously adopted the ‘United States Judo Federation’ as the additional name to be used by the Federation”.  And in 1969, the JBBF was officially renamed United States Judo Federation with a new constitution and by-laws.

Believe in and be Proud of your USJF

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

James Colgan

Russ Scherer wrote:

I am extremely saddened to have to relay notification of the passing of Jim Colgan – a Judo Great. Jim was well known throughout the U.S. and indeed most of the world. He had major accomplishments as a competitor, coach, manager, referee and administrator. But most of all, he was a great guy. To many heavyweights of his time, he was known as the person who kept them off of the awards stand. As a member and coach of the Uptown Dojo in Chicago, Jim passed his knowledge onto such outstanding Judoka as Irwin and Steve Cohen, Bobby Berland and many others. He also was the manager for many U.S. Judo Teams around the world, including the Olympics and World Championships. Jim also provided service and leadership in refereeing as an on-mat referee (up to IJF-B), jury member for many years and mentor for many other referees. For his overall accomplishments, he was awarded an honorary IJF-A in 2011. He served in many capacities at the national level, including Chairman of the Promotion Board.

He will be greatly missed, but his memory will continue to provide guidance through the many examples he gave us.

Athlete Scholar of the Year announcement

Scholarship recipients of $1,000, $750, and $500 awards for 2021 will be selected by the Athlete Scholar of the Year Committee on behalf of the USJF Board of Directors by April 2021. Applications are due to the United State Judo Federation no later than March 29, 2021. Forms for applying are available on-line or from your USJF Representative.

Continue reading “Athlete Scholar of the Year announcement”

Changes to Background Screening Procedures

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).

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 REDUCED to $30.00. The new screening program is compliant with the newer, stricter SafeSport standards and includes two (2) annual background screens/checks.

Thank you to Mr. Keith Bryant, CEO, at USA Judo for helping to obtain NGB pricing for USJF as a Group A member.

Read more about the program and see the new form

Preparing for the Future

Calvin Terada

Calvin Terada, Chair USJF Referee Development and Certification Subcommittee

Calvin Terada writes:

Without dojos being open for practice and tournaments being held in our community, I am sure that many of us feel a strange sense of uneasiness since judo has been a part of our entire lives for so long.

While there is uncertainty and challenges all around us, one silver lining is that I have been utilizing the extra time to work on updating policies and develop strategic planning for the USA Judo Referee Commission (RC). Each of you will see some of the work being produced by the RC very soon. I have been also doing a lot of thinking and planning for us (USJF RDCS), especially on next steps for judo referee development, but also on succession planning for the RDCS which has come to fruition.

Continue reading “Preparing for the Future”