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Stevens Point Guest Judo Coach Marc Barbaccia

The Stevens Point Judo Club’s “Guest Coach” program continues to be a highlight each semester at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, (UWSP). The UWSP Judo Club and community Judokas (judo participants) host judo Sensei’s (coaches) from different clubs within Wisconsin. Students have the opportunity to listen to different styles of Judo instruction.

Judo clinics featuring a guest coach are sanctioned by the United States Judo Association. Waivers are prepared for the event and notices are sent to all local members and to State Judo clubs. For the UWSP Judo Club, this is one of its two main fund raisers. Clinics are held on a Tuesday evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on a regular practice night.

This semester’s guest coach was Sensei Marc Barbaccia who began Judo when he was 15 years old. Sensei Marc is a Shodan or first degree black belt. His coach was Sensei Rick Olstad of the Edgerton Judo Club in Edgerton, WI. Sensei Marc has trained and competed with many different clubs in the country.

Mr. Barbaccia was the founder of the Reedsburg Judo Club in Reedsburg, WI. That club has since split into two clubs. One club is in Lake Dalton, WI, where Sensei Jeff Boyer is head coach and the other club is in Mauston, WI where Sensei Marc is the lead instructor at Paragon Martial Arts and Fitness Center.

Sensei Marc’s style of teaching and coaching is to help students develop a style for themselves. They learn to work on their strengths and weakness by making Judo fun. He believes “adversity introduces us to ourselves.” Sensei Marc said, “I don’t teach Judo, I build character.” He is currently working on his national referee certification and coaching certification. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force and has trained law enforcement agencies, educators and community members.

On Tuesday evening March 11, 2014 there were 43 participants interested in learning Yoko Shiho Gatame techniques from Sensei Marc. He used the analogy of a table to break uki down by removing at least two of the table’s legs. Once uki was down and on his back, Sensei Marc explained that maximum efficiency was to go directly into Yoko shiho gatame because it was right there in front of you. Students were educated in the meaning of “removing space” from uki to prevent escaping. Once in the hold Sensei Marc demonstrated a drill he learned years ago moving clockwise into modified yoko-shiho-gatame, ushiro-kesa-gatame, to ura-yoko-shiho-gatame, to kesa-gatame.

Students were given plenty of time to try the drill. Nine Black Belts were on hand to assist students duplicating the maneuvers around uki as the instructor had demonstrated. Sensei Marc emphasized split second movement and removal of space to maintain control of uki.

Sensei Marc Barbaccia concluded the clinic with three important words, “Practice, practice, practice.”

Tom Gustin
Stevens Point Judo Club


Participants during the guest coach program


Sensei Marc Barbaccia giving a short review of what will take place.


Marc helping two new students with the break-down.


Marc demonstrating a throwing drill.