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Joseph J. Fitzsimmons Scholarship Fund

This Scholarship is named after Joseph J. Fitzsimmons, M.D. in honor of the years of service he has provided overseeing USJF events. This scholarship program is dedicated to USJF members who are pursing a medical degree in a recognized academic institution.

The Joseph J. Fitzsimmons, M.D. Scholarship Fund is supported through donations made from judoka, families, and friends of judo. All contributions to the fund should be channeled through the United States Judo Federation and have a designation to the Joseph J. Fitzsimmons, M.D. Scholarship Fund.

The United States Judo Federation is a Federal not-for-profit tax exempt and educational dedicated to the teaching and promotion of judo in the United States as provided by law. Contributions will be treated as tax deductions accordingly. Contributions should contact their tax advisors to determine tax deductibility in each individual case.

Community Leaders and Supporters

Thank you for considering contributions to the Joseph J. Fitzsimmons, M.D. Scholarship Fund.

Helping physicians with their first two years of medical school costs while they continue their judo learning is the goal of this program. Helping young physicians will encourage them to give back to judo at the dojos and shiajo, and on yudanshakai and national levels.


Applicants should apply to:

United States Judo Federation National Office
Joseph J. Fitzsimmons, M.D. Scholarship Fund
PO Box 338
Ontario, OR 97914-0338

The application for the Joseph Fitzsimmons Scholarship fund is available in PDF format.

  • United States citizen of good moral character and social conduct
  • USJF Membership
  • Must be USJF member for three consecutive years
  • Must be currently registered
  • Must be member of USJF charter club at time of application
  • Must be a yudansha
  • The applicant send a copy of his/her letter of acceptance to a School of Medicine located in any one of the fifty United States and expects to graduate as a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathy (MD or DO)
  • Any applicant who has a full government scholarship for Medical School is not eligible.
  • An applicant who has received a late acceptance to a Medical or Osteopathic School will be considered.
  • Applicants must be in their 1st and/or 2nd year of medical school.
  • Applications are available online and through the USJF office. Applicants are responsible for gathering all the information required for review. Applicants are evaluated on the information supplied. Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of financial need and the potential to give back to judo.
Scholarship Fund Committee Process

The Joseph J. Fitzsimmons, M.D. Scholarship Fund Committee of the United States Judo Federation will judge applicants and select the recipient(s).

This program will be administered by the Medical Scholarship Committee.

Pre-Selection Process

Before the selection process begins the committee will determine the total amount of money available for that year.

Applicants can receive an award for their freshman and sophomore years.

Applicant must submit a fully completed written application to be received by the selection committee by EOB of July 15th. Applications are available on line and through the USJF office.

Applications received by the due date will be validated and reviewed by the committee based on the above criteria.

Applicants must make themselves available to respond to any committee questions within 96 hours of the questions. Failure to respond in a timely manner may result in the applicant’s rejection.

Post selection process

Candidates will be notified regarding the success of their application by August 15th.

Awarded checks will be written to and endorsed by the applicant and the School authority.

My Story

Joseph J. Fitzsimmons, M.D.
Saratoga, CA
April 28, 2010

I was born January 31, 1924 in Piqua, Ohio. I almost flunked kindergarten but managed to do that in the second grade. I recovered and attended Catholic grade and high school and graduated in 1942. While in high school I always had two or three part time jobs varying from taking dance tickets and waiting table in a dance hall to being a gandy dancer (a member of a railroad section gang that lays or maintains track) for the Pennsylvania Railroad. During my stay in high school I took a lot of quiet time to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life by eliminating those things I knew that I could not do or certainly did not want to do. It worked out that everything I wanted to do or be was a Doctor of Medicine. The bleak side was given by a good and respected teacher, Dr. Kenneth Schraut, (and others), a Doctor of Mathematics at the University of Dayton. He stated to me that “You have to be practical. You do not have the financial backing.”

I served in the military during World War Two as a Private First Class in Company D, 263rd Regiment, 66th Infantry Division. During the time of the Battle of the Bulge we were diverted to St-Nazaire where there was a pocket of Germans.

I graduated from Marquette University of Medicine in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1952 and began the process of becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon. I opened my private practice in San Jose, California in 1957.

In 1963 as I was waiting for my two sons to finish their Judo class I asked Sensei Tosh Higashi of the Santa Clara Judo Club if I could “walk around on the mat with someone?” He said “Yes, but be careful!” Before I knew it this Brown Belt threw me four times in about two minutes. It is hard to describe the feelings of wonderment, joy, freedom, and fear as I was floating three feet above the mat. The landing on the mat was beautiful. I wanted to be a part of this deal. Besides that, the Sensei and all of the people associated with Judo were “good people” and I signed up immediately. I was promoted to Sankyu (third degree Brown Belt) about nine months later. I believe I was more excited, happy, proud and surprised about that promotion than my recent promotion to Shichidan. Over time the practice and competition of Judo gives you a different kind of inner satisfaction and confidence than the usual strong, tough-man model. Of more importance is the benefit derived from the exercise you give to your heart, lungs, and brain.

Soon enough Sensei Mits Kimura asked me to take care of the Medical aspects of a National Tournament that was coming to San Francisco. At that time there were many more serious injuries than now and consequently Judo was a target rich zone for legal action if an injured Judoka was not taken care of properly. I wanted to become a referee but I could best serve as a Medical Doctor at any and all tournaments that I could attend.

As money goes in Medical School this stipend is not very much, but every little bit helps, especially on Saturday night. Good luck to all and if you get a chance “Pass it on!”

By the way, the Brown Belt who first threw me later told me that he got me with a combination of Hiza Guruma and De-ashi-harai.

Further reading about and by Dr. Fitzsimmons

Ben Campbell on Dr. Fitzsimmons

1973 Judo Injury article by Dr. Fitzsimmons