Onikusu Judo Club Shares the Judo Spirit

Sept. 04, 2019, 2:15 p.m. (ET)

Ernest Olotch is a Shodan at the Onikusu Judo Club in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Last year, in 2018, he had an idea of donating judogis to a judo club in his hometown in Nairobi, Kenya.

At that time, Onikusu Judo Club and head coach, Gabe Carmichael, were able to collect and donate 10 used gis for Ernest to take with him to Nairobi on his yearly trip to visit his family.

Ernest is now a US Citizen but was born in Kenya. The local dojo in Nairobi, Kenya is Rongai Dojo Club, which is run by Head Sensei Muhindi, a former Kenyan National Champion. The club consists of approximately 30 children between the ages of 8 and 18. During practice, athletes would have to switch gis with another athlete in the middle of randori.

Onikusu Judo Club is sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale Branch of the NAACP. The president of the Fort Lauderdale branch, Marsha Ellison and Sensei Gabe Carmichael worked together to send another set of gis with Ernest this year (2019) on his trip to Nairobi.

Through their collaboration, they reached out to Lia Hatashita, president and owner of Hatashita Sports to see if she would be interested in getting involved in their project.

“I contacted Lia through my daughter Hana, who was an employee of Fuji at the time and asked to be connected with Lia about a possible donation,” said Gabe Carmichael.  “Lia’s answer to me was simply, ‘Where do we send the gis?’”

Hatashita Sports donated 9 brand new tournament quality gis to go along with Onikusu Judo Club/NAACP’s donation. During the second week of August 2019, Ernest presented the gis to Rongai Judo Club.  All the children were very appreciative and no longer need to share gis during randori!

Ernest Olotch has been a member of USA Judo since 2012 and was the -100 kgs Masters National Champion for the male division ages 35-40.

Thank you, Hatashita Sports, USA Judo’s Official Gi Provider and Onikusu Judo Club, USA Judo Official Club since 2007 for your support of judo worldwide.