Late walk-ups bolster number of participants for judo tourney

Tyler Kanoa/50th State Judo Association
Tyler Kanoa/50th State Judo Association

HONOLULU, Hawaii (July 3, 2014) — With the surprise turnout of more than 300 walk-up competitors at Thursday’s weigh-ins, the number of total participants in this weekend’s three days of competition eclipsed the 1,100 mark.

The Fifth Annual Grassroots Judo Junior, Youth, Team and Kata National Championships will take place over Friday and Saturday while the inaugural United States Judo Federation Senior and Masters National Championship will play out Sunday. All events will be held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena.

“We had more than 300 walk-ups this morning — most of them coming from the mainland,” said tournament director Ray Imada. “It’s made things a little hectic around here, but it’s a good sign that there is a high-level of interest surrounding the tournament. It should make for an exciting weekend.”

All judoka weighed-in Thursday; draw sheets for Friday and Saturday’s divisions will be posted at approximately 10 p.m. Thursday at the Ohana Waikiki East Hotel, which is serving as the tournament headquarters this week.

Draw sheets for Sunday’s divisions will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday in the NBC Arena. More than 110 total divisions will be contested over the weekend.

Late Thursday night a luau dinner was held at the Manoa Grand Ballroom, with nearly 300 attendees.

An opening ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m. Friday before matches get underway at 9 a.m. All boys and girls divisions in all bantam, intermediate and juvenile-B age groups will compete Friday. Kata, juvenile-A, IJF-junior and IJF-open divisions will take the mat Saturday.

The last time the junior nationals were held in Honolulu was 2004, when it was also held at the Blaisdell Center. In 1994 the tournament was held at the Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium in Hilo.

Media will be sent a daily e-mail recapping the day’s full results with photos at the conclusion of the competition.

Kata conference comes to a close

The third and final day of the 14th Annual USJF National Kata Conference wrapped up Wednesday at the NBC Exhibition Hall.

Two of the most well-respected kata practitioners in the country — Noboru Saito and Eiko Saito Shepherd — led the seminar, which was held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall Hawaii Suites. Saito is an 8th degree black belt from Birmingham, Mich. and Shepherd a 7th degree black belt from St. Louis, Mo.

More than 40 individuals took part in the conference.

Blue vs. White

Judoka are distinguished on the mat — and on the scoreboard — as either blue or white. If both players wear white judo gi, the blue player must use a blue belt and the white player a white belt. If the blue player has a blue judo gi, the white player shall wear a white judo gi. Both judoka will then be permitted to wear their own belt.

2013 tournament highlight video online

This is the fifth consecutive year that the United States Judo Federation and the United States Judo Association have joined efforts through Grassroots Judo to put on the annual Junior, Youth, Team and Kata National Championships.

More than 500 judoka participated in last year’s tournament in Pittsburgh. A highlight video by the USJF is available online at 2013 Grassroots Judo Junior Nationals.

Next year’s tournament will take place in Indianapolis in July 2015.

-Other links:

50th State Judo Association website

Grassroots Judo website

Schedule of events

Friday, July 4 (All events at Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena)

Grassroots Judo Junior, Youth, Team & Kata National Championships

7 a.m. – Doors to arena open to public

8:30 a.m. – Opening ceremonies

9 a.m. – Competition begins for bantam, intermediate and juvenile-B division

Saturday, July 5 (All events at Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena)

Grassroots Judo Junior, Youth, Team & Kata National Championships

7:30 a.m. – Doors to arena open to public

9 a.m. – Competition begins for kata, juvenile-A, IJF-junior, IJF-open & team divisions

11 a.m. – Draw sheets for Sunday’s divisions posted at NBC Arena

Sunday, July 6 (All events at Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena)

USJF Senior and Masters National Championships

7 a.m. – Doors to arena open to public

8:30 a.m. – Opening ceremonies

9 a.m. – Competition begins for brown belt, masters, kata and senior divisions

Tickets still available for tournament action

The tournament starts on Friday, July 4 and continues through Sunday, July 6 at the Blaisdell Center Arena. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com) or at the Blaisdell Center Box Office (808-768-5252). The box office is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Media Contact: Kalani Takase [808-221-2167 or kalanitakase@gmail.com]

blog comments powered by Disqus