Delgado Olympic Judo
Getty Images

Judo at the 2020 Olympics is now winding down. Kudos to NBC for their excellent coverage. The United States had four players who made the cut.


Angelica Delgado Judo

Angelica Delgado -52kg had a tough match that went almost 3 minutes into golden score where she was able to pull off a brilliant ippon!

Colton Brown Judo

Colton Brown -90kg had a fabulous match that he won by a wazari and an ippon in regulation time.

Colton Brown Judo
USA judo
Colton Brown Judoka
Colton Brown Judoka

Nefeli Papadakis -78Kkg lost to H. Yoon of South Korea by wazari uchimata follow by kesa gatame.

Nina Cutro- Kelly +78kg lost to A. Velenšekvs by ippon.

Clearly the country that prevailed throughout competition undoubtably is the host one, Japan. This included the Abe siblings a brother and sister which was a first in the history of Judo at the Olympics.

Abe siblings

One of the longest matches was the Russian Madina Taimazova, who fought one the hardest matches in Olympic Judo history to win a bronze medal.

Olympic Judoka

The ugly theme of anti-Semitism also creeped in to this event with several players opting to forfeit matches rather than fight an Israeli. I hope the IJF will do something about this once and for all! It goes against the core principles of judo and everything that Kano stood for.

Israel Olympic Judo

Photo AP/ Vincent Thian

However kudos to Tahani Al-Qahtani of Saudi Arabia was under heavy pressure to boycott match against Israel's Raz Hershko went forward and according to Hershko: I'm glad the sport won out! He later dedicated his medal to Israel.

A similar incident involving Saeid Mollaei last year originally from Iran resulted in his defection to Mongolia which he represented in Tokyo and took a silver medal.

Since resuming my active class schedule in July at my dojo in Claremont, California I've been teaching five days a week. With no local tournaments it has renewed my commitment to teaching the philosophy of judo to my students in terms of character development, entering the arena, and focusing on the present and not worrying about the outcome.

Having my students go to lots of tournaments becoming obsessed with winning medals now seems silly to me. Simone Biles dropping out of the US Gymnastic Team competition demonstrates the negative effect an over emphasis on a winning outcome can have a player. Mushin or staying focused on being in the present is the key.

On a happy note, it was nice to see 101 year old Yosh Uchida, Sensei of San Jose University's Judo Program who coached the US Judo Olympic Team in 1964 featured in support of his player Colton Brown.

Yosh Uchida

LA Times

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'.

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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.

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