Hello SJSU Judo family! It has been a while since the last update on the new and improved website. We’ve been busy, and we would love to share with you one of the highlights of our summer so far.
About two weeks ago, many prominent members of the US judo community gathered at the Crowne Plaza in Foster city to celebrate the Lifetime Achievement Awards of Mr. Willy Cahill and Mr. Yosh Uchida. Guests enjoyed a wonderful evening with delicious food, and listened to anecdotes about these men who have pioneered the way for US Judo. Both senseis have been recognized by state and federal government officials, and we were lucky to be able to gather and celebrate all their work.
In addition to the awards, the guests heard stories and wise words from Mr. Cahill and Mr. Uchida themselves; they spoke about overcoming adversity and applying the philosophy of judo to life. Keynote speaker and SJSU coach Mike Swain also spoke about his experiences with both Mr. Cahill and Mr. Uchida; using silly pictures and funny stories, Swain offered the audience an endearing picture of both men. Swain explained how “coaches” lead their athletes not only through their sport but through life as well. For Swain and many other athletes, Cahill and Uchida are judo AND life coaches. They have inspired success, integrity, and love, all while imparting their judo knowledge to others.
After all the awards, Mr. Uchida was promoted to 10th dan! This is the highest rank that a judoka may attain in his or her life. In order to reach this level, the individual must not only master judo technique, but also contribute back to the judo community. Mr. Uchida admitted he was pleasantly surprised and honored to receive such recognition.
SJSU assistant coach and Olympic bronze medallist Marti Malloy was also recognized for her performance in London. She received the Champions Award! In addition to giving her a shiny glass trophy, USA Judo chose to focus on Marti as the athlete of the night; in honor of her journey to 2016, the event doubled as a fundraiser support during her training. It was a successful night and Marti felt very honored to receive the award on the same night as legendary coaches like Mr. Cahill and Mr. Uchida.
Once all the speeches had finished, silent auctions had closed, and judoka had reunited, the night concluded. A huge thank you to Jan Cougill, Sherrie Wilson, and all the other helpers for planning a successful night. This event reminded us all that judo is about more than accolades and achievements; it is about community, remembering good times, and inspiring new generations to reach new heights in the sport we love: judo!