Athlete Scholar Of the Year winners announced

The 2017-2018 scholastic year award winners are

    1st Abigail Sigurdson, Western Idaho Judo Institute, Daiheigen Yudanshakai

    Abigail Sigurdson

    2nd Torie Yumi Oishi, Taishi Judo Club, Nanka Yudanshakai

    Torie Yumi Oishi

ASOY will recognize them at the 2020 Summer Nationals as well as announcing the 2018-2019 scholastic year recipients. Due to the timing of the selections, award ceremonies will be at local events to be conducted by Low Dong awarding to Tori Oishi and Bryan Matsuoka to Abigail Sigurdson.

Tori is attending UCLA and Abigail is a student at Boise State University. Congratulations to both athletes.

The Athlete Scholar of the Year Committee will be inviting interested members of USJF to apply for scholarships for the 2018-2019 scholastic year in the next few weeks so please be on the lookout and apply!

Janet Ashida Johnson recipient of the 2019 Jeremy Glick Award

An apppreciation by Bill Gugino

Bill Gugino, Janet Ashida Johnson and Barbara Shimizu

photo © Bill Gugino

From my earliest memories in Judo, the name Ashida has always been synonymous with the highest of character. Janet holds the values her father Sachio, instilled in her with high regard and continually sets the example for others to follow.

photo © Bill Gugino

Janet is that go-to person you can lean on as a mentor not only in sphere of Judo, but in life as well. Over the past five decades she has worn many hats promoting the sport of Judo in various aspects from shia, kata, refereeing to club management; while holding seats on several state and national level committees, commissions and boards. Whether it is developing players from the grass roots level up to and including collegiate and national medalists she is continually coaching and nurturing Judoka through-out the entire process… Through her dedication to the sport and her students, she has produced two PJC-C referees, one IJF-B referee and one IJF-A referee, along with a host of national and regional level referees along with International Kata medalists. Subsequently, through her tutelage two (2) of her students achieved the rank of Kodokan Rokudan. She has ALWAYS given 110% of herself to ensure the best for others….

photo © Bill Gugino

Since her retirement from formal teaching, she has taken the teaching modality for referee seminars and clinics to another level. Referees now have lessons delivered in a more efficient and structured format. Which in turn is helping to develop a consistency in presentation and application of material coast to coast. Many fellow referees thoroughly enjoy attending her seminars and clinics. For the past several years, Janet has led the day long clinic at the Am Can International Judo Challenge and has drawn officials, coaches and referees from across the US and Canada. Every year Canadian participation continues to grow. A true testament to her educational talents.

In 1976, her father was the U.S. Olympic Judo Coach tasked with running the Olympic training camp in Brockport, N.Y… At the time Janet was entrusted with MANY duties along with managing the youth camp as well. She had one little participant (bugger), whom we’ll say was a bit of a challenge. As a young inquisitive and active little fella, I was… let’s say… curious and liked to explore. When she caught me on the roof of the high-rise dormitory one evening, during bed checks, I wasn’t feeling a whole-lot-of-love.

photo © Bill Gugino

Personally, I want to thank her for not only being a presence in my Judo career as a referee, but throughout the journey as a Judoka spending countless hours mentoring me through the ranks, also proof-reading college papers for me during roundtrips to events. Whether through her loving (not always perceived as) concern to keep me focused on being the best I can be; she also, helped me remain on track after my Step-Father Sensei Tony Grisanti passed away. I was devastated and losing interest in becoming an IJF-A referee. This was an extremely difficult and tumultuous time for me. It is with sincere heart felt gratitude; I owe this achievement to her. I will never be able put into words the appreciation and respect I hold for her. Janet stood by me through some difficult moments and had to tug on the reins rather delicately at times and had to yank on them from time to time.

photo © Bill Gugino

In my humble opinion, the award committee this year has selected an excellent recipient to represent this distinguished honor. Janet is a true Sempai whom celebrates her teachings through the achievements of her Kohai.

Jita Kyoei,
Bill Gugino*

The winner of the Jeremy Glick Award this year unfortunately was not in New York at the Summer Grassroots Nationals but Barbara Shimizu accepted the award for Janet Ashida Johnson.

Barbara Shimizu with Mark Muranaka

photo © Roy E Nanjo

The award and letter which Barbara Shimizu received on behals of Janet Ashida Johnson.

the Jeremy Glick award and letter to Janet Johnson

photo © USJF

* note

Bill Gugino confesses he is “one of the four Buffalo Boys as we are known from the Kin Tora Judo Club in Buffalo, New York. Janet made us the Buffalo Boys plus one.

“In the late sixties the family with Mom leading the way signed up for Judo lessons. Judo in Western New York in those days was an offshoot from the Canadian practitioners just across the Niagara River. There was only one sanctioned Dojo in the area, Manson’s Judo Club, headed by Canadian sandan Mr. Bill Manson; with a couple of small clubs operating out of Y.M.C.A.’s during the sixties and into the early seventies.

“My stepfather Sensei Tony Grisanti obtained his Shodan in 1971 through the Ontario Judo Black Belt Association (O.J.B.B.A), and his brother Marty followed in 1973. This association has developed a bond with our fellow brethren north of the border; which continues as strong as ever today. We are extremely well-known and welcomed in Canada; participating in approximately six events a year.

“After deciding to expand Judo in the Buffalo area with the help of their father Salvatore, Tony and Marty formed the Kin Tora Judo Club and opened her doors in 1974. Shortly afterwards under the guidance of senior Sensei Dr. Sachio Ashida, Kin Tora became a USJF member club.

“Janet has always been a part of the family. Over the years she has filled many roles from mom at times to a BIG sister. After the passing of Tony Grisanti in 2014 and then the passing of his brother Marty in 2017, Bob and I continue in memory of the two Grisanti Brothers with Janet’s guidance and support attending events across the country and abroad.”

photo © Bill Gugino

2019 USJA JF Summer Nationals Photos

2019 USJA JF Summer Nationals took place at Wagner College in New York on July 6-7, 2019. Happily we can provide links to three collections of photos.

Links to photos from 2019 USJA/USJF Summer Nationals provided by Roy E Nanjo are below.

Highlights (approx. 50 images)

Portfolio (approx. 275 images)

Please note although these photose are on Google Drive, you do NOT need a Google Drive account for viewing. You can use any web browser or device to view.

Another set of photos by James Kinder can be viewed.

summer nationals 2019

You are welcome to forward these links to others who may be interested.

May and June 2019 Self Defense Committee Oahu, Kona and Shufu Workshops

The Self Defense Committee has been assisting several Yudanshakais in launching their own self defense committees. Over that last three years, the Committee has offered grants to Yudanshakais through the development committee to launch programs. Several Yudanshakias worked together to develop their self defense programs and curricula to help consolidate resources. Many of the smaller Yudanshakais did not have the resources to start a new committee so they chose to work together to have a self defense program.

The last two Yudanshakai grants were utilized in May (by the two Hawaii Yudanshakais) and in June (by Shufu). There were a total of 21 participants in the three Hawaii workshops (13 in Oahu and 4 in Kona for the two certification classes and 4 in the Kona re-certification class). Shufu had 19 in its certification class and will have a follow-up re-certification class at a later date. All three organizations recognized the opportunity a self defense program could offer them in order to bring new members into judo.

Oahu Workshop Attendees

Kona Workshop

Shufu workshop

Shufu President Roy Englert sent out the following email which summarized the event well.

On the heels of a very successful self-defense instructors’ clinic, it may be worth clarifying what we are doing and why.

It is Shufu’s leading goal, as determined by the black belts at a retreat held a couple of years ago, to grow judo. Bringing people into judo through their interest in self-defense is one under-used path.

As every instructor knows, it is important for a dojo to maintain insurance coverage. The USJF self-defense program is the product of negotiations between USJF and our insurance carrier to make sure that there is agreement on how a dojo can incorporate techniques beyond IJF shiai judo and retain coverage. 

There are techniques — including de-escalation and situational awareness, not just waza — that can be taught in a one-day seminar to help people defend themselves in common situations, and presenting those techniques can be a public service as well as a gateway to judo. But anyone interested in waza useful in self-defense needs to learn the waza over a period of time and practice them so that they become part of muscle memory. And that is where we judoka can set up a win-win situation, gaining judo students and providing those students with something they want. 

The clinics that USJF puts on are not waza clinics. The waza we should teach are existing judo waza (including atemi waza used in the self-defense katas such as kime no kata, koshiki no kata (added) and Goshin Jutsu). The goal of clinics is to explore ways to teach self-defense through the waza we already know, and to learn more about common situations calling for self-defense and about de-escalation and escape techniques, all taking into account learning from neuroscience and other fields of study. The team USJF sends out to the Yudanshakai for this purpose includes a police officer, a lawyer, and a former USJF President familiar with relevant scientific learning as well as strategic planning.

The Self Defense Committee has introduced 17 Yudanshakais to the USJF Self Defense Process. The Committee will now transition into an oversight role for the program, which will include continued outreach to the Yudanshakais with support and guidance, creation of different additional training opportunities, Continuing Education Unit development, overall program coordination, and when asked provide specific Self Defense Training classes.

The Committee is also in the process of establishing a website for the general public as well as having a private section for trainers, teachers and assistant teachers. This private section will contain information that can be used by the certified members as well as a discussion forum so specific issues can be discussed.

2019 Keiko Fukuda Scholarship

The 2019 Keiko Fukuda Scholarship recipient was Totie Oishi. Unfortunately, she was not able to attend the Senior National this year. Torie sent me, as Chair of the Scholarship Committee, this letter of appreciation after receiving the check.

letter from Totie Oishi

Matsumae Judo Juku Study Abroad Program

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn and experience the essence of Japanese judo in addition to learning about Japanese culture. The program is hosted by Matsumae Judo Juku (part of the Tokai University Educational System).

  • Dates: July 12-23
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Male & Female judoka ages 13-19
  • Must have been a USJF member for at least 3 years
  • Club must be a USJF registered club
  • Recommendation from sensei describing good character and work ethic
  • Funding Available

For More Information Contact:
or by telephone (404) 273-5007

Deadline to Register May 31, 2019

PDF poster available

Assistance Requested for the IJF Refugee Project

Dear USA Judo Clubs & Coaches,

The International Judo Federation is actively working to help refugee judoka all around the world, in line with the principles and values of our sport. They are already supporting participation in the IJF World Tour for some of them and their goal is to build a refugee team for the World Championships 2019 in Tokyo, as well as possibly the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. Needless to say, this will provide judo an exceptional status and media coverage on the world’s stage

In light of the above, we are kindly asking you to inform us about any refugee judoka you may be aware of and provide us with basic information in order to determine their eligibility for this project. Historically, the United States has offered refuge to more people than all other nations combined, so your participation in this project by providing a list of refugees you are aware of will be instrumental to the IJF in successfully achieving this initiative. To clarify, refugees are people who flee to another country for safety and asylum due to violence or persecution experienced in their home country.

Should you have one or several athletes matching the conditions, please send the following information to Corinne Shigemoto at by FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2019, and USA Judo will then compile a list to send to the IJF:

  1. Name
  2. Date and place of birth
  3. Legal status of immigrant and rightful residency
  4. Contact to the athlete and his/her coach/club
  5. Judo history, participation in competitions, results

Thank you in advance for your collaboration and contribution to this project.