The West Bend Judo Club is planning its 44th annual tournament on Saturday, May 7 beginning at 11 a.m. at UW-Washington County (gym), 400 S. University Drive, West Bend.
Judo instructor, Jon Sanfilippo will make a special presentation to long-time student, Lynn Roethke, two-time Olympian and 1988 Silver medalist.
“The fact Roethke started her Judo in West Bend in 1967 with me as her coach when I was just 16 years old and she was just 6 years old and that we are both still highly involved in the sport we love so much is a testament to a true life commitment,” said Sanfilippo. “That was 49 years ago when we first started the West Bend Judo Club. This makes the event a very special honor for me in that she ask me to present her promotion to her where her Judo all started.”
Roethke was recently promoted to 8TH degree Black Belt by USA Judo (the highest authority of Judo in the US and recognized by the International Judo Federation, IJF). At 55 years old, she will be the youngest Judoka promoted to that rank and also becomes the highest woman Judoka currently alive in the US.
The West Bend Judo Club will also make a special presentation of a set of 3 real Samurai Swords to show a direct connection of Judo to its martial warrior roots of Japan.
The event is sponsored by UW-Washington County, the West Bend Park, Recreation and Forestry Dept. and the West Bend Judo Club.
Other info: Tenth degree Black Belt is the highest rank in Judo and currently there is no Judoka alive at that rank in the US with maybe only one or two 10TH degrees currently alive in the world. These high ranks are really tough to come by in the world of Judo. Besides the approximate 120 Judo competitors in uniform, they expect this gathering will draw over 20 Judo Black Belts of all rank levels in full Judo uniform to be in attendance.
The tournament involves competition matches like high school and college wrestling. Matches are usually 3 minutes. Divisions are set be weight, age and gender, from 6 years old to masters who may be in their 50’s.
Photo courtesy Lynn Roethke