The consummate team manager, Chris Skelley has been an overseer and caretaker of some of the most successful U.S. judo teams in history, including the historic 2012 U.S. Olympic Judo Team – Kayla Harrison took the nation’s first Olympic gold medal, Marti Malloy captured a bronze medal and Travis Stevens took a fifth place.

The best part about that role, Skelley said,“is the impact I see that I’ve made on our athletes,of giving them the sense of security, the time and ability to just focus on winning and not worrying about travel, food, registrations, draws, match order … “

Skelley opened his own dojo this year. What he likes most about this new venture, he said, is”teaching the kids’ programs, not just the judo but the philosophy of respect, discipline and honor.”

Skelley opened Skelley Judo under the banner of Renzo Gracieof Fort Lee, NJ, led by head instructor and partner Alan Teo, a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jujitsu who trained under Renzo Gracie of the famed jujitsu family of Brazil.

Most of Skelley’s students are coming from the jujitsu side of the dojo. “Our mix is mostly jujitsu students looking to improve their game and learn not just throws but also our newaza techniques.” That formula has worked really well, said Skelley. “I found it so easy to advance someone’s jujitsu game by teaching them some simple judo.” Never one to stop learning, Chris continues to hone his Brazilian jiujitsu skills and climb the BJJ belt ladder.

Skelley got his own start in judo in June of 1976 when his parents decided he needed a martial art for self-defense, given his small stature. He soon found the Fort Lee Judo Center under head instructor Bill Camal. Skelley took a break to attend college and start his professional life. He returned to Camal Judo when he and his wife, Amy, started their son, Dylan, in judo at age 5. By this time, the head instructor was Bill Camal’s son, Anthony. Skelley trained and instructed at Camal Judo Center. The family enrolled daughter, Taylor, in 2008 and the sport has been a family affair ever since. Currently, both children have taken some time off from judo to play ice hockey. The competitive nature of judo has helped both children achieve success on the ice.

While it might seem like a no-brainer that someone with Skelley’s skills and experience would wind up having his own club, that goal has never been a burning desire.

“I was never interested in having my own dojo but when I started teaching judo to BJJ guys I realized an opportunity was there. I was fortunate to have Tony Camal support me and very fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with a class act, Renzo Gracie black belt Alan Teo, a wonderful person and well-schooled BJJ black belt. We share the same teaching methods and philosophy. We complement both our martial arts.”

As a testament to the success of the school, the partners soon found out that they were going to run out of space for classes. They have already started the process to add another 2200 square feet of space for their second mat. Chris has no signs of slowing down and looks forward to providing both amateurs and professionals alike the support to reach their individual goals. If the past is any indication of the future, we are sure that this new school will be a success … just like the 2012 Olympic Judo Team.

For more on Skelley Judo and Renzo Gracie of Fort Lee, go to the WEBSITE.