The USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center on Saratoga Road in Glenville, New York had its formal ribbon-cutting opening ceremony on Dec. 2. Hosted by the JMJC and the Schenectady Chamber of Commerce, the event was highlighted by a memorable demonstration of "Real Judo" conducted by 10 of Jason Morris and Teri Takemori's students aged 5 through 21.
Chamber of Schenectady County President Chuck Steiner served as Master of Ceremonies. In his succinct address Steiner said that "it is an extra privilege to open a new business facility in the community for an entrepreneur who is born and raised in the community and then chooses to reinvest capital, time and energy in that same community."
Steiner pointed out that: "Jason could have opened his training center virtually anywhere in the country" as his pedigree of being a four-time Olympian, 1992 Olympic silver medalist and 2008 Olympic coach gives him access to many communities and resources.
Morris's return to the community where he first was exposed to the sport of judo at Parkside YMCA in Glenville as an 8-year-old in 1975 is a testament to the community that fostered his early success.
"I'd like to provide for the community a world-class training opportunity in the town where I grew up in what I am sure is the best sport in the world, especially for kids. It's a dream come true and it's a dream that's just getting started," Morris said after thanking the dignitaries from the podium.
Morris's presentation made strong mention of Teri Takemori (his wife of nine years) who is also a highly-decorated judo player from a judo family and an International Judo Federation "A" referee.
Morris humbly offered that he would be able to do none of this without the support of his mother Chris and wife whose tireless efforts give him the support necessary to be free to teach the sport he loves.
Schenectady County can expect the USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center to be a hub of future activity on Rt. 50 as it attracts elite judo players from around the world as well as home-grown competitors like 2008 US Open Champion Hannah Martin who was one of the featured demonstrators along with Schenectady's own Ronni Aragona who is currently the #2-ranked junior in the 63kg division.
Certainly Jason Morris, his wife and family have put Schenectady County on the world's judo map and brought with them a unique, grassroots business the commercial and social benefits of which grapevine throughout our community. The long-overdue ribbon-cutting celebrated that fact.