USA Judo Self Protection Instructor Course Launches in California

by Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The first class of USA Judo Self-Protection instructors were certified on July 30 following a six-hour session led by Taybren Lee, a member of USA Judo’s P3 task force and instructor at Hollywood Judo PAL.

Held at East Bay Judo Institute, the SP1 course included instruction on how to use throws, newaza, submissions and strikes as self-protection techniques. The course was attended by 16 black belts from clubs throughout the Bay Area and included 2008 Olympian Sayaka Torra and Annie Shiraishi-Cang, a 2008 U.S. Olympic Team alternate who recently conducted a P3 course at EBJI.

After the successful launch of the P3 program to teach police officers non-lethal judo techniques to deescalate conflict and subdue suspects if necessary, Lee said he received requests to develop a similar program for civilians and the SP1 program was born.

“The course teaches how to protect yourself, safety awareness and, overall, how to teach it. This will help grow judo because most people don’t come into judo to become an Olympian. Most people come for exercise and some form of self-defense and that’s what SP1 provides,” Lee said. “It teaches people who already know judo how to do the self-defense part which is not often taught.”

Lee believes self-protection training will help grow the sport and not only teach self-defense techniques, but introduce the sport to a new base of potential athletes.

“The problem for judoka is that, to us, the big throws are cool, but, to the average person, that’s scary. So our goal is to show judoka how to teach more than just the sport. Judo’s a curriculum. It’s supposed to be for the betterment of mankind and society, but we’re not doing that if we’re only teaching the sport,” Lee said. “Through SP1, we can broaden what judo is and reeducate the average judoka that it’s more than just a National Championship. This is going to help grow the sport because now other people can find a place in the sport.”