National Judo President in Town

On Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011, Gary Goltz, United States Judo Association (USJA) president was in town for a Judo clinic. The clinic was hosted by the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Judo Club and the c.

Stevens Point Judo Club

Approximately 60 judo students came from around the state to listen and learn from the national president. The age range for students ran from 6 to 78 years old. There were some participants that were along the edge taking notes while parents were present taking pictures or running video cameras of their children participating in the clinic.

Clinic Participants

Sensei (teacher) Goltz started Judo when he was 10 years old at the Jewish center in Pittsburgh, PA. At the age 14 he used his Judo training to subdue two attackers. At age 16 Goltz began teaching Judo at several area YMCAs in Pittsburgh. He was awarded his 1st Degree Black belt when he was 21. He then went on to become Judo Chairman for the Allegheny Mountain Region of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Currently he holds a Seventh Degree Black Belt and is a regular contributor to Black Belt Magazine. Sensei Golts graduated with a BA Degree “cum laude” from the University of Pittsburg in 1976.

Moving to southern California Sensei Goltz started Goltz Judo in 1987 which has been the largest club for more than a decade of the 25,000 Judokas in the United States. He currently serves as president and CEO of the USJA. Goltz coached the US Blind Judo Team at the 1991 Tokyo World Championship. In 1997 he volunteered to be the Defensive Tactical Advisor to the Los Angeles Police Department. He started Judo Winter Nationals in 2006 uniting the USJA with the United States Judo Federation (USJF) a rival in Judo for many years. Today this event draws in more than 600 competitors.

Sensei Tom Gustin (left) and Sensei Gary Golts (right) at the Stevens Point Clinc

Goltz started the clinic with a variety of stretching exercise working the neck and back. After everyone was warmed up Goltz explained the basic falling (ukemi) skills. He said “knowing how to fall properly you have the confidence to be thrown and not worry about injuries.” Next he explained that boxers are trained to keep their elbows in. Judo students are told to keep their elbows in also. With elbows in next to the body the response time for throws, counters and defense is that much faster. Example; law enforcement officers are trained to keep elbows in next to the body when talking with individuals and just outside the personal space of the individual. The officer learns to read body language for that edge. The Judo student keeps his elbows in next to his body as well and works inside that personal space of the individual. The Judo student must learn to read muscle tensing along with body movement in order to defend, counter or throw opponent. What Glotz was getting at was the main element is to keep elbows in next to the body for a faster response and practice, practice, and practice.

Demonstrating a technique

Demonstrating a Ouchi

Students Practicing

Goltz demonstrated the next stage of the clinic to crafting a basic foundation; it was a drill he picked up from the French. Partners faced each other with their hands on the other’s shoulders. The students took turns moving left and right trying to develop a sense of timing. The next step students took turns moving outside of the opponent’s legs both to the left and right leg. Then he had the Judo student’s move in between their partner’s leg. Then he had students pivot in front of the partner doing a 180 degree turn to face in the same direction as their partner to do a forward throw. While doing these drills their hands had to remain on their partners shoulders. This drill helped to develop a solid foundation to perfecting throws, counters, combinations, and defense movements.

In the closing minutes of the clinic Sensei Goltz received a round of applause and a handmade bamboo flute from the UWSP Judo Club and the Stevens Point Judo Club. Goltz next stop on his road trip across the country will be the North Star Judo Club at the Rice Recreation Center in St. Paul, MN with Tom Crone.

Presenting the flute.

Tom Gustin