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Dear USJF and Mrs. Julie Koyama,

Thank you for sponsoring my judo trip to Japan. The trip was very fun, and I enjoyed it a lot. The judo in Japan is almost all technique and very little strength. They did foot sweeps very fluidly and their uchi mata was very smooth. They gave me techniques to come home and work on, including a variation of yoko sankaku and an uchi mata drill. After experiencing the judo in Japan and taking home these techniques, I expect my judo to become much better.

One thing that was good for me was practicing with people from different countries. Russia and China had big and strong competitors while Japan and many other countries from Asia had very good technique. The types of judo I experienced while practicing with people from different countries really helped me understand my judo better.

Our team from America bonded immediately and we had lots of fun together. We enjoyed practicing together and at the tournament we were each other’s biggest supporters. Global Arena was very beautiful and the people there were very nice and helpful. We ate every meal together as a team and I enjoyed my experience with my team at Global Arena and Taisei very much.

My trip to Japan wasn’t only to Taisei and Global Arena. Before I went to Global Arena, we visited families in Tamana, which is where my sensei was from, and who had sent judoka to Fresno in the Summer of 2018. In Fresno, my family hosted two of the boys, and it was fun to get to see them in their homes. Me and my friend Brandon, who is also from Fresno, were there for four days. While we were there, we practiced with the Tamana teams and experienced what it is like to live in a Japanese home. We went to two castles and ate lots of fabulous food.

Thank you very much to USJF and everyone else who helped sponsor my trip to Japan. I really learned a lot from my trip and am very grateful for it.

Tyler Speir