Here is the outstanding report prepared by my good friend and USA Judo Veteran Judo Coach, Edgardo Rodriguez, JD a Federal Judge in Orlando, Florida.
Team USA successfully concluded its participation in the IJF World Judo Veterans Championships that were held from September 8 to 11, 2022, in Krakow, Poland.
Team USA brought to the World Judo Veterans Championships thirty (30) athletes. In addition, the supporting staff was composed by: Brad Daniels (Judan Judo, Indiana), Vicky Daniels (Judan Judo, Indiana), Ed Rodriguez (Sasaki Judo, Florida), Tracy Crawford (Northglenn Judo, Colorado), and Jayson Oldfather (Northglenn Judo, Colorado).
- One gold - Sandy North, FL (M8 -60kg)
- One silver - Doug Tono, IL (M7 -66kg)
- Two bronze: Ray Marquez, SC (M5 -81kg) and Hector Negron, TX (M4 100+)
Eight 5th places: Tyler Blocker, TX (M1 -66kg), Lincoln Han, ITA (M3 -73kg), Alan Shebaro, TX (M4 -100kg), Pamela Moye, CA (F4 -63kg), Gyula Kalman, TX (M5 -81kg), Joe Ragan, TX (M7 -100kg), Shane Hudson, NY (M8 -81kg), George Van Ansom, NY (M9 -81kg)
Five 7th places: Edwin Vallejo, MD (M2 -81kg), Russ Hogan, TX (M5 -81kg), Kevin Butler, CA (M6 -81kg), James Kinder, NJ (M9 -90kg), Arthur Canario. NY (M9 -90kg)
I can attest that all other Team members played with their hearts and gave their best and their efforts made us feel proud.
This time we had a cohesive Team that looked after each other. In the past, athletes went on their own, fought, most of them entered the mat without a coach, and then left. I saw different trends starting in Portugal (2021) and the Pan Americans in Brazil (2022). Team spirit was very much present this time. Everybody had a very positive mindset and athletes cheered for one another every day, and the coaches made sure that every athlete would be supported from the coach’s chair.
One of our team members, Andy Woopel, with his amazing loud voice, did an amazing job cheering up our players.
Team USA had many first timers who experienced the high level of competition that is expected from the World Veterans Championships.
In addition to the stress and the sense of satisfaction of competing at the top level, everybody also had the opportunity of sightseeing and taste a flavor of the host city. Krakow was a beautiful city, and everything from meals to Uber rides was quite affordable.
The organizers did a fantastic job putting together this event. Special appreciation to Mariusz Winnicki and his wife from Judomarket, who worked tirelessly and gave an extra mile to look after the U.S. delegation, and Sylwester Gawel who was so supportive and always offering help if we needed any assistance. They were fantastic hosts and great friends to our delegation. Charly Mo (AUT) a talented musician and World Champion, put up a great show playing the theme song at the venue for the enjoyment of everyone.
The IJF Team was very accessible and we established good channels of communication that will help us stay on the loop.
Judo Veterans categories, previously known as Masters, have existed for a long time. Without entering into specifics, the late Liz Roach from Canada was one of the masterminds that, along with other leaders, founded the World Master Athlete Judo Association. Many major international cities served as venue, including Tokyo back in 2003 at the Kodokan. Later, by 2009, the IJF assumed its leadership in establishing Championships for Veterans. Initially, up to the first four editions, the IJF labeled these categories as Grand Master Judo Championships. To avoid confusion, the IJF re-labeled the name to Judo Veterans. Krakow made the 13th edition of this event.
Every country has now come to realize that this is not a tournament between people from different countries. This is a high level World Championship, and every country delegation appears to be well organized.
This is a turning point for Judo Veterans in the United States. Many of us are committed to host training camps in different cities throughout the year. This will guarantee better preparation and an opportunity for team and potential team members to gather and exchange information.
Lastly, our appreciation to USA Judo for the support. CEO Keith Bryant has been closely monitoring the performance of our team and values the effort that every athlete and volunteer is putting into the Veterans Team and Austin Leath, Special Projects Coordinator, works tirelessly to always keep the team updated and on track. Special thanks to Nicole Jomantas for updating the event results in social media.
Brad Daniels and Vicky Daniels offered their experience helping the organizers maintain a flawless registration process and helped in diverse administrative matters in such a professional way. Coaches Tracy Crawford, Jayson Oldfather and myself (Ed Rodriguez) worked from early in the morning until late at night. It was an honor for me to work closely with such high caliber coaches such as Tracy and Jayson.
Big thanks to Sensei Pat Burris, Coaching Director, and Sensei Ed Liddie, Director of Athlete Performance, for overseeing the coaching and delegation staff.
Special acknowledgment to Sensei Doug Tono who trained the whole Team USA weeks before departure. Additionally, he was not only the trainer, but a silver medalist who fought a final that could’ve gone either way and was decided by shidos, and he also competed in Kata. He is a true inspiration not only to the whole team but to every judoka.
I can’t finish without mentioning Dr. Sandy North. He obtained one more World Championship. I could write many pages about his impressive record and his outstanding traits. I will sum it up by saying he is the heart and soul of the team.
For those who are excited and eager to participate in the next edition, no venue has been chosen yet. However, I encourage everyone to start training and stay attentive to training opportunities that will help getting your game plan to another level.
Please find below photos and the USA Judo Kata Team results.
World Judo Veterans Team Coach for USA Judo
USA Judo Kata Team Results
In addition to the fourteen Kata athletes, USA was also represented by the team coach, Kuniko Takeuchi (Calif.), three IJF Kata Judges, Eiko Shepherd (Illinois), Frances Glaze (Ohio) and Carla Martin (Texas), and one IJF Kata Judge candidate. Congratulations to Theodore Schwalm (Texas). After passing the exams for Nage no Kata, Katame no Kata, Ju no Kata and Kodokan Goshin Jutsu, Mr. Schwalm became the seventh Kata Judge from the United States to qualify for the IJF Judges license (and the first male IJF Kata Judge for USA).
2nd Place Team David O’Donnell of Shoshinkan & 3rd Place Team Miguel Leon of Ryoku
Thanos Syntrivanis of Goltz Judo 1st Place 94kg Black Belt Division
Cesar Lazcano Top Club Nevada Kosen Judo Championship, Milestone’s Leandro de Lorenco Lima, host
September – 2022
- 24th Saturday – Referee Clinic Tijuana, Mexico
October – 2022
- 1st Saturday – Goltz Judo Dr. Z Memorial Scrimmage, Claremont, CA
- 23rd Sunday - Fight for the Cure Women's Tournament, Riverside, CA
- 27th Thursday & 28th Friday - Nanka's Hands-On Police Judo Workshop
- 29th Saturday – Las Vegas Tournament, Henderson, NV
- 2nd Friday to 4th Sunday - Grassroots Judo Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa, CA
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