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USA Judo Celebrates World Judo Day, October 28th, as well as every day of the year
By: Cecil Bleiker, USA Judo Communications Specialist

World Judo Day is celebrated annually on October 28th, the birthday of Jigaro Kano, the founder of judo, but judoka really honor Kano each and every day of the year by living the values of the sport he practiced, taught and loved. FRIENDSHIP, RESPECT, HONOR, COURAGE, COURTESY, HONESTY, MODESTY, SELF-CONTROL; these are the eight values of the judo moral code taught to every judoka from the first time they enter a dojo. If nurtured properly, even with stumbles along the way, these values will guide a judoka throughout their lives inside and outside the dojo. In a typical year judoka around the world celebrate World Judo Day through various ways such as USA Judo member clubs opening their doors to the public and invite community members to try our great sport. Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic this is not possible in 2020; therefore the International Judo Federation has marked this year’s World Judo Day theme as “Stronger Together” and encouraged judoka to be creative in finding safe ways to celebrate the great sport of Judo.

USA Judo found a creative way to bring judo to life for the masked and physically distanced visitors to the brand new United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Olympic City, USA on Saturday, October 24, 2020, just 400 short meters from the USA Judo headquarter offices in Colorado Springs, Colo. USA 2008 Olympian, Ryan Reser (Monument, Colo.) along with former USA Judo National Team members Alexa Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Toshiya Nishimura (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led three judo demonstrations followed by question and answers sessions. Following the demonstrations in a ceremony emceed by USA judoka and USOPM benefactor Pat Mika (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Michelle Dusserre Farrell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USOPM Vice President of Athlete Engagement and 1984 Olympic silver medalist in gymnastics presented lifelong memberships to the USA Judo Olympians and Paralympian in attendance including: Stephen 'Scott' Moore (Denver, Colo.; 2000 Paralympic Gold medalist; 1996 2004 Paralympic Bronze medalist), Ed Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo.; 1984 Olympic Bronze medalist, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Coach and USA Judo High Performance Director), Joe Marchal (Las Vegas, Nev.; 1988 U.S. Olympian), Clifton 'Clif' Sunada (Colorado Springs, Colo.; 1996 U.S. Olympian), Charlee Minkin (Lakewood, Colo.; 2004 U.S. Olympian) and Ryan Reser (Monument, Colo.; 2008 U.S. Olympian). At the conclusion of the ceremony, Liddie was surprised and greatly honored to be presented with his Hachidan promotion or eighth degree black belt. The day wrapped up with a special Zoom presentation by former USA Judo National Team member Jean Kanokogi, PhD. (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in which she presented an overview of the life of her mother, Rena ‘Rusty’ Kanokogi, also known as ‘the mother of women’s judo.’ The presentation showcasing how and why Rusty fought for equality which ultimately led to the inclusion of women’s judo in the Olympic Games included rarely seen archival video of Rusty providing a glimpse into history brining her-story to life.

USOPM Judo Demo Video


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On the same weekend in Budapest, Hungary USA Judo’s current elite athletes rejoined the ‘Road to Tokyo and the now 2020NE Olympic Games’ with the resumption of the IJF World Tour for the first time since late February 2020 with the Grand Slam Hungary. The last competition for Team USA and most of the rest of the judo world was the Dusseldorf Grand Slam in Dusseldorf, Germany, February 21-23, 2020 at which USA Judo’s Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla./Ki-itsu-sai National Training Center/New York Athletic Club) won bronze.


These weren’t the only ways in which USA Judo has found to creatively celebrate and bring the great sport of judo to others in 2020. To celebrate the International Day of the Girl, USA female judoka from all around the country submitted videos about how judo has had a positive impact in their lives.

Similarly in June 2020 as part of Olympic Day celebrations worldwide, USA judoka participated in the ‘Why Do You Do Judo?’ virtual video campaign.

And we’re not done celebrating yet. Please stay tuned as we continue the celebration of women in the sport of judo with 40th Anniversary recollections of the first ever Women’s World Judo Championships, November 29-30, 1980 in New York City, USA.

#StrongerTogether   #WorldJudoDay