WWU Judo to Japan 2020
The WWU Judo club is currently working towards sending its members to Japan! As a club we hope to help improve relations with universities that Western has exchanged with historically. We want to make it known how great the opportunities are here for a judo exchange. We hope to accomplish this feat through the cooperation of the study abroad office whom would help us make contact with these programs. If you didn't already know Japan is the most visited country by Western students!!
As an AS club at Western we are open to students of all ability, race, gender, and skill. Judo is a sport in which anyone can participate. We use Judo as a tool to grow community and camaraderie. Since Judo has been going on at WWU it is amazing to see the alumni that help the club continue. Many of them are able to come back and visit our community sometimes even bringing back young judoka!
Western Judo Lore:
In the late 70s a man named Joel Carlson traveled to the west side of the mountains after attending WSU and spending some of his 20s abroad in Japan. He had hopes of continuing Judo and to bring the sport onto Western's campus. With the help of a few students they were able to make it happen. In 1979 the club hosted what is called a gashuku or group practice. A senior from Snohomish High School, Mark Glaser took part in this practice and felt as though WWU was a place he could attend for college.
A few years later Mark moved to Bellingham to finish his studies at WWU. He started to look around for the Judo club but found it had been mostly inactive after Joel had departed. Initially working out on his own he became antsy to restart a club. He began by opening the club with the assistance of the Associated Students and reserved the wrestling and gymnastics mat room upstairs in Carver gym. Eventually other judoka joined and the club moved on to become part of the club sports at WWU.
As the club matured gym space at WWU became tough to consistently secure. In the fall of 2015 Judo lost its association with the sport club and was forced to move off campus. For a good three years the club fizzled out of existence. With the help of Mike Sullivan and the Whatcom Judo Dojo as well as support from other alumni we were able to get back on our feet and hosted some practices at the WWU Rec Center. Since then our club has grown from a few members to hosting practices with as many as 20 students and sending one to compete at the US Nationals last June!
With your support please help the Judo club grow! Any donation is appreciated, even if it is a donation of time by spreading the word via social media and/or other communication.
We hope to send 5-8 students along with an adviser or two to the Tokyo area to practice Judo, promote WWU, and make connections with universities abroad. Within a ten-day trip we hope to visit three university Judo clubs that Western exchanges with, including, Asia University, Yokohama National University, and Seikei University. In addition, we hope to make contact with Tsuda University and the International Christian University of Japan.
Outside of traveling to universities there are two to three other clubs we hope to join during their practice times. We would also try to make a pilgrimage to the Kodokan. It is the national hall of Judo in Japan which includes a museum of Judo history and in this hall there are also evening practices for the community at large. Last spring we were fortunate enough to have two students from Japan join us at our practices while they were studying at Whatcom Community College. One of these students is from Saitama which is north of Tokyo. His father is one of the senseis at a club in that city. Using this connection we hope to widen our scope for the future of other students to possibly visit our club. This makes five different places for us to practice Judo and create relationships across international lines!
We are also fortunate enough to be heading to Japan during a very exciting time. The Olympics are being hosted by Tokyo this year! While it is too expensive for our club to attend the Olympics, we hope to watch some Paralympic Judo and support underrepresented athletes from all over the world.
We figured it will be an estimated cost of around $1,420 per student for flight, in-country transportation, housing, entrance to the Kodokan, and a ticket to a session of Paralympic Judo. We hope to get these costs covered through fundraising so that the trip can be accessible to students of any background.
We at WWU Judo love the practice of Judo. We love the community that it brings, as well as the sense of belonging it gives us. We hope to spread the joy that Judo can bring to as many individuals as we can.
We thank you for your support in advance. Anything helps even if it is just talking about us.