Yoshihiro Uchida

USA Judo Lifetime Achievement Award

Yoshihiro “Yosh” Uchida is the founder and head coach of the San Jose State University judo program, one of the most important dojos in the country, producing numerous national and international champions including Olympic medalists Bobby Berland, Mike Swain, Kevin Asano and Marti Malloy.

Uchida led the nation’s first U.S. Olympic Judo Team to the very first Olympic judo competition, held in 1964 in Tokyo, where U.S. judoka Jim Bregman took a bronze medal. His dojo at San Jose State was named a USA Judo National Training Site in 2007.

Uchida was the child of Japanese immigrants who worked on farms in California’s Imperial Valley. He graduated from San Jose State University, became a student-coach of the school’s judo program and was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II as a medical technician. He completed his degree at San Jose after the war and restarted the judo program there.

He joined efforts with Henry Stone, UC Berkeley’s judo coach, to develop competition rules, including a weight-class system, and created the first AAU National Championships in judo in 1953. Uchida went on to organize the first National Collegiate Judo Championships in 1962.

Having served several terms as President of the USA Judo Board of Directors, Uchida’s contribution to the sport remains strong to this day. Last summer, he was present at the Olympic Games in London to watch his student at the San Jose State University National Training Center, Marti Malloy, take a bronze medal.