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This year’s recipient of the Jeremy Glick Memorial Spirit of Judo Award is Mr Yoshisada Yonezuka of Cranford Judo & Karate Center in Cranford, New Jersey.

Link to letter to Sensei Yonezuka

From an early age, Sensei Yonezuka showed the guts, grit, and grim determination needed to become a champion at Judo. It took him just 2 years to earn his 3rd degree in Judo. He then went on to earn Japanese championships in the amateur arena.

When he could no longer fight in amateur tournaments, Sensei Yonezuka tuned his talent to prize fighting. Each fight built upon Yonezuka’s growing reputation. And, by 1965 he was known as the best Judo fighter in the nation.

And with his long record of wins and championships, Sensei Yonezuka finally earned himself recognition by the AAU as a professional.

Sensei Yonezuka went on to fight in the National Master’s Championship in 1970 and won for seven (7) consecutive years.

Some highlights of his career

  • More than 50 years of training under his 8th degree black belts (in Judo and Karate).
  • Taught Judo at the West Point Military Academy.
  • Coached the U.S. Air Force Judo Team with Mr. Takahiko Ishikawa.
  • Three (3) World Championship Titles (1982, 1985, and 1987)
  • Olympic experience as the US Head Coach in 1988 and 1992.
  • Brought the U.S. Sumo Team to the World Sumo Championship from 1993-1999.

When Sensei Yonezuka took himself off the training mats, he began teaching Olympic and World athletes. Some went on to win medals, even titles. All were champions.

Link to streaming martial arts site about Sensei Yonezuka.

Link to the cranford judo and karate club article about Sensei Yonezuka