NewsJack Yonezuka

USA Judo Membership Update Letter

by USA Judo Chairman Joe Ragan and CEO Keith Bryant

As we begin 2023, we thank you for being a member of USA Judo!  This is the first public joint correspondence from new USA Judo Chairman, Joe Ragan, and CEO, Keith Bryant, which will share with you some of the highlights from 2022 and the organization’s strategic initiatives going into 2023.

2022 was a very successful year for USA Judo as it continued to emerge from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic with increased growth in membership (high of 10,409) and the highest participation numbers in the last 12 years of recorded data regarding USA Judo National Events (3,118 individuals/3,745 registrations).  USA Judo also recorded 429 official clubs in 2022 which continues to be the lifeblood of our organization along with their individual members.

In 2022, USA judo experienced several top international performances among the senior, junior, cadet, para, kata and veteran, including:

  • Angelica Delgado, LA Smith III, Mariah Holguin and Maria Laborde stood on the podium on the Senior World Tour.
  • Dominic Rodriguez became the youngest U.S. man to win the Senior Pan Am Championships, taking gold at just 17 years old and leading Team USA to a six-medal finish.
  • Maria Laborde earned Team USA's first top-seven finish at the World Masters since 2016.
  • Jack Yonezuka made history as the first U.S. man to win a medal at the Junior World Championships, taking bronze.
  • David Leiva became the first U.S. athlete ever to medal at the Cadet World Championships, winning bronze.
  • Liana Mutia won bronze at the IBSA World Championships, becoming the first U.S. woman to do so in 11 years.
  • Sandy North (gold), Doug Tono (silver), Hector Negron (bronze) and Ray Marquez (bronze) reached the podium at the Veteran World Championships.
  • Fourteen athletes represented Team USA at the Kata World Championships.

From a development perspective, USA Judo continued growing the PlayLA Judo Program in Los Angeles through its partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks with funding from LA 2028.  Judo is currently being taught in 22 recreation centers throughout greater Los Angeles where more than 1,700 youth have been introduced to the sport. A highlight of this program occurred at the 2022 USA Judo Junior Olympic Championships where a member of the PlayLA program won a bronze medal in the novice division. Check out the story here:  In 2022, USA Judo also launched a pilot program with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at the San Gabriel Judo Club where athletes and parents alike learned about nutrition, mental health, sports medicine and received individual motion assessments for injury prevention and recovery.

2023 will be a breakthrough year for USA Judo in supporting and growing its five strategic initiatives:

  • Grow the sport of judo in the USA
    • New group membership categories, as amended in the bylaws last year, with collaborative state partnerships
    • Partnership with France Judo Federation to implement judo in French and international schools throughout the United States
    • Continue to bring foreign athletes and coaches to the United States for diversity of training and instruction
    • Expand Judo in Schools program and create regional competitive leagues
  • Promote the sport of judo in the USA
    • Build additional video streaming and/or digital channel capabilities
    • Continue expansion of coverage through mainstream and social media outlets
    • Expand Play LA, Healthy Judo-LA and other programming in Southern CA
    • Make plans to host national events in larger cities with more affordable flight options and family activities in 2024
  • Create infrastructure to support growth, promotion and development of judo
    • Expand digital ecosystem to include:
      • Improved Sport:80 membership user experience
      • Broader implementation of Smoothcomp competition system
      • Continue growth of clubs using MyStudio club management system
      • Increase resources for USA Judo member clubs
      • Enhance coaching and referee education programs
  • Support U.S. judokas to achieve competitive excellence in domestic and international judo competition
    • Launch Development Program at US Performance Center in Charlotte, NC
    • Increased training opportunities and locations in France through partnership with France Judo Federation
    • Increased funding for international training camps in Europe and Asia
  • Expand and increase diverse revenue streams
    • Increase grant funding
    • Create new fundraising task force
    • Pursue additional sponsorships and partnerships

USA Judo can only be successful through the support and collaboration of everyone in the membership.  We will continue working hard to provide members with increased and improved programs and services and we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Here’s to a breakthrough year in 2023! 

                      Joe Ragan                                        Keith Bryant

          President                             CEO/Executive Director

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