The Aging Judoka

Gary Goltz Judo

I recall Floyd Burk who is also a regular writer and contributor to Black Belt Magazine once asked for my input on article he had in the works entitled 'The Aging Martial Artist'.

Specifically he wanted to know the biggest change in your martial arts ability that you've noticed over the years? (Answer could be physical, philosophical, strategic, etc..)

Because judo is so physical, many of the moves I can no longer do because of prior injuries and trying to avoid future ones, (after 60 it takes much longer to recover). So my role have gravitated towards being involved in running the judo organizations, promoting large events, refereeing, developing future leaders, as well as providing wisdom that comes with age and experience.

He also wanted my advice to younger martial artists? 

Focus on the big long term picture. Competition only lasts till you're too old to really get out there and do it. In judo we do have master divisions but I think there are better ways to serve the development of judo by developing dojos and students. I'm much more into using the principle of judo (maximum efficiently with minimum effort) then I was when I was younger.

I noticed it's harder for me to pull off big throws that require getting under an opponent's center of gravity. I favor small throws such as foot sweeps but these require perfect timing and skill to pull off. As I get older being smooth and in touch with the flow of the opponents movement becomes extremely important.

I'm also much more into judo as a life style than simply for competition. Judo has effected every aspect of my life, from my family to friends, even business, I see the tie in between what is done in the dojo as a microcosm of what happens in the real world.

Finally he asked; What can people do to best prepare themselves for those transitions? 

Read books on judo's philosophy that are now more available compared to when I was growing up. These include Mind over Muscle by Naoki Murata, The Art of Peace by George Ohsawa, Judo Heart and Soul by Hayward Nishioka, Three Budo Masters & The Way of Judo by John Stevens, The Second Life of Judo by Alan Rafkind, Judo Memoirs of Jigoro Kano by Brian Watson, which all give terrific insights on the true meaning of judo. Also take good care of your mind and body by doing things in moderation.

Paul Schollmeier a judoka who's also a Barrick Distinguished Scholar and Philosophy Professor and I talked about the importance of understanding the samurai concept of mushin being focused on the here and now or being present.

Paul recommended these additional books; The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman, The Heart Sutra and its translation and commentary by Red Pine. In Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Live by Shantideva. Epectitus might be a stoic to start with. There is a short collection of his thoughts that served as a handbook for Roman soldiers. It's official title is Encheiridion, but it is also known as the Handbook.

To this end I really appreciate Jeff Przybilla's Life Skills Test which he incorporates into his atSCSU classes.


Jeff in action

Life skills


Nanka will be hosting a free Zoom seminar from 2:00 to 4:00 PM (PDT) on Saturday September 18, 2021.

Dr. Jigoro Kano

Watch Video Trailer Promo

Click here to Register

Nanka Judo Yudanshakai's relationship with Kano Shihan goes back to 1933, when during his then visit to Los Angeles he supported the formation of Nanka. So our interest in being able to present and enable conversation on Kano ideas and intentions is relevant to us and we believe the judo family at large.

It is our pleasure to be able to present this seminar featuring Lance Gatling – Jigoro Kano and Judo, the Secret Behind the Man.

It is well known that Kano frequently spoke about his judo philosophies for many decades, but he never ever disclosed their origins, nor their exact meaning which has escaped judoka ever since. His writings were not only influenced by ancient Eastern philosophy, but also from 19th century English philosophers.

While living in Japan, Lance Gatling has studied and researched Jigoro Kano for the past 15 years, discovering much that has not been seen for nearly the past 100 years.

During this seminar Lance will be present materials originated by Kano on a wide range of topics that include; Kano's judo philosophy; its origin and meaning, Kano's view of education, his thoughts on judo vs. today's sport judo, the five historic judokas, and his Twelve Principles of Judo.

Many of these concepts have never been discussed before and through his unique understanding of Kano, Lance will reveal a side of Kano we were not aware of. We expect a very large audience to this seminar. Register now at the link above!

​The USJA's Board of Director's Election


(Voting has begun Eligible Voters have been notified)

Here are the best choices based on their judo, business, and educational experience

USJA Nominees

From left to right: Paul Bova, Jan Finkbeiner, Bonnie Korte, Dr. Ray Marquez IV, Paul Rivera

Detailed Bios can be found on the USJA's Election Website


Challenge of the Champions

Jefferson City Judo Club is excited to begin hosting Challenge of the Champions! We wish to extend an invitation to everyone, near and far, to participate in this spectacular event. Judoka and grapplers from all styles are welcome to participate. This tournament will be a great opportunity as we will offer BOTH Freestyle Judo and IJF Judo. Contenders are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in both rule sets.

As this event continues to gain momentum, we anticipate a tremendous turn out. Participants, coaches, referees and spectators can expect a great experience as you are greeted into one of the finest dojo facilities in the Midwest. Our school is 9500 square feet with two, full sized competition mats, which will be running simultaneously to keep the day flowing smoothly. You can also expect highly qualified and experienced Freestyle and USA (IJF) referees on the mat.

We will have Junior, Senior and Master's brackets ages 5 and up. Registration/weigh-ins are Friday, Oct. 8th from 3-8:00 p.m. Brackets will be available to view and we will start promptly on Saturday, Oct. 9th at 9:00 a.m. Preregistration is encouraged and can be completed by calling 573-301-1738 / 573-680-4694 or emailing jcjudoclub@yahoo.com to receive a registration form which can be mailed/emailed back to us.

Payments can be taken over the phone, check by mail and we also accept cash. Cost is $40 per competitor.

Head over to visitjeffersoncity.com to find places to stay while in Jefferson City.

Other useful links include:

Challenge of the Champions is sure to be one of the most impressive tournaments you will experience this year. Please come, be our guest and allow JCJC to serve you a memorable day full of judo as you step out, share the mat and challenge yourself with other champions. See you on the tatamis!

I'm always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to gary@garygoltz.com, thanks.

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