American Judo Development Model


The American Judo Development Model’s (AJDM) Foundational Task Force (FTF) wanted to establish a baseline of what commonalities make a successful Judo Club so they can identify and replicate those traits to help fulfill one of the American Judo Alliance’s (USA Judo, USJA and USJF) goals.

A process was developed to go to dojos directly to help define aspects of success. A general survey was conducted where 14 dojos responded to a high level survey and a group of 8 were willing to do an in-depth survey While some of the survey findings and characteristics of a successful club seem elementary, what differentiates a successful club from others is its commitment to implementation, intentional observation and continual improvement of the club and its students, were insightful.

It was found that characteristics of a successful clubs are unique to their individual circumstances including purpose, location, business model, longevity, reputation etc. However, the repeated characteristics of the successful clubs interviewed revealed the following formula:

  • Respect & Recreation = Returning members

  • Returning members + Reaffirmation = Retention

  • Retention = Reputation

  • Reputation = longevity, legacy and Referrals/Replacement (new membership)

  • All these Rs = ROI/Revenue

  • What “R” you doing to retain and grow membership in your dojo?

If you would like to review an Executive Summary and Analysis or the Compiled In-depth Survey Results, please contact

As the AJDM continues to grow please watch for courses that address how to implement many of these successful traits and characteristics at your dojo. Please send question comments, and/or ideas to