Southwest Judo Academy celebrates Olympic Day

July 07, 2014, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
Southwest Judo AcademySouthwest Judo Academy in Mesa, AZ celebrated Olympic Day

On Saturday, June 21, seven Judo Clubs from around Arizona came together at Southwest Judo Academy in Mesa, Arizona, a USA Judo Club member, to help celebrate Olympic Day and observe the Olympic values of Fair Play, Respect, Perseverance, and Sportsmanship and the international effort to promote fitness and well-being.

We were very fortunate to have Martin Boonzaayer, a two-time Judo Olympian (2000, 2004), three-time member of the World Team, seven-times National Champion, 2003 PanAm bronze medalist, and ninth place winner in the 1999 World Championships, along with Dave Faulkner, a two-time Olympic Alternate (1988, 1992), three times US Open Champion, eight times US Senior National place winner, member of the 1993 World Team, and eight year trainer at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, of our country's elite judo competitors, as speakers who helped make the Olympic experience real.

Martin Boonzaayer did an excellent job of personalizing his Olympic experience and the need for coaches and parents to help students, especially kids, gain a vision of who they can be and what it takes to get there. Boonzaayer told the audience, "It was my coach, Peter Renik, who told me I had the potential to be an Olympian if I worked hard and practice my judo. Prior to that I never even considered the possibility." Dave Faulkner followed Martin and spoke on the values that all champions possess, "preparation, perseverance, and ownership". The messages were very well received by the audience, especially the parents.

As a first time event, we were able to help educate and entertain the audience on the history of the modern day Olympics, judo in the Olympics, and judo in general. We were pleased by the attendance and number of judo clubs and schools that participated, it turned out better than anticipated, and it looked like everyone had a good time. We had almost 90 attendees with seven judo clubs and schools represented, including Blue Collar Fighter, Desert Judo, Heart Judo, NAU (Northern Arizona University) Judo, Riki Dojo USA, Tucson Dojo, and Southwest Judo Academy. Each of the participating judo clubs or schools shared more about themselves, told interesting judo stories reinforcing the Olympic values, and had the time to demonstrate their judo skills and techniques. "This was a great opportunity for Arizona Judo to collectively help observe Olympic Day and the values our judoka demonstrate in practice and competition.", said Steve Owen, Arizona State Judo, Inc. and Arizona Yudanshakai President.