Sensei Jim Haferman
you start practicing Judo?
I started practicing Judo at the Stevens Point YMCA
the fall of 1974.
you interested in doing Judo in the first place?
There was an incident at our office in April of
1974 at the same time my wife was in the hospital with the birth of our
son. She decided I needed a martial art
and that summer called the YMCA. Judo
classes were starting that fall so she signed me up. Neither of us had any clue about any of the
martial arts, especially Judo.
your first Sensei? Were there any other
significant teachers for you?
My first Sensei was Edward Happ. He taught until sometime in 1978 when he
moved because of a job transfer. Classes
were then taught by Bob Glief and Then by Tom Guston and Jim Weidner from about
1981 to the present.
you reach Black Belt?
Judo affected your life outside the Dojo?
Judo sneaks up on you. Initially it is just a sport and an evening
class. I realized as time went by Judo
affected my life both in and out of the Dojo.
Friendships both in and out of the Stevens Point
area, the pleasure of seeing students continue and progress in Judo, and a
feeling of confidence in situations that would have been troubling without the
training are just a few out of many examples.
some of the most important lessons Judo has taught
Lesson one is the importance of teachers. I was surprised and pleased to experience the
impact I and others have had on young children over the years. The smiles of pleasure when they meet you
outside of class and the way they tell their friends and family that I am their
Judo instructor is priceless.
Lesson two is the relationship between effort and
what other martial art(s) have you studied? How far did you progress in it/them?
I have not formally participated in any other
some of your proudest achievements in Judo (Tournament victories, awards
received, rank received or other?)
Probably my proudest moment was the award of my
first degree black belt. Similar moments
are when I see former students teaching or active in competition or
made you stick with Judo for all these years?
First, and most important, I was having fun. Judo was exercise, I got to associate with a
lot of really great people, and also learned self defense (no I have never had
to use it).
your path to black belt like?
started Judo when I was in my thirties. I, with the demands of a new career and family could only devote a
limited amount of time to Judo. I
competed for about a decade and then decided that competing with people twenty
years younger was getting too difficult. I then turned to the Kata and because some knowledge of the kata’s is a
requirement for promotion, started working harder on
advice would you give to a brand new white belt on what it takes to achieve a
First, don’t focus on the black belt rank, but
focus on your first belt, having a good time, and then the next belt. Promotion then becomes a habit and eventually
the black belt takes care of it self. The focus on a good time is essential as Judo like any life time sport
will only hold your attention if you are having fun.
the transition from student to teacher like for your?
First of all we are all students. Judo is not easy and I learn something new
from each class. Little insights
suddenly become apparent. Officially
after I became a brown belt, Ken Camlek and I became the designated instructors
of the juniors at the YMCA for several years. Ken Camlek is a natural teacher and I learned a lot teaching with
him. I suspect the hardest part of the
transition was learning there was work before and after class. Teaching requires more than the ability to
perform the technique. The instructor
must be able to simplify the technique and break it down into separate and
understandable parts. Formal or informal
lesson plans are also a necessity.
have you been teaching Judo?
The junior classes taught by Ken Camlek and me
began in the 1980’s.
have you taught Judo besides the YMCA and UWSP?
The Nelson Center in Amherst June July and
August 1993 to 1996. We also taught Judo
at Pacelli High School in 1980.
are some of the places you have taught Judo clinics?
I have not taught any
your current rank in Judo and when did you receive it?
Nidan (second degree) which was awarded November 3,
your goals in Judo?
I want to continue participating and teaching as
long as I am physically able.