For the past year, EBJI has been proud to host Mr. Jun Konno
of Japan as a guest instructor.
Mr. Konno has a superlative judo record and reputation. He
is a former two-time winner of the All Japan Judo Championships, a tournament
thought by many to be the toughest tournament in the world. He is also a former
gold medallist of other prestigious tournaments such as the Kodokan Cup, Asian
Games, Shoriki Cup, and Pacific Rim Championships.
| Konno Sensei working with students
at the USJF Elite Level Judo Clinic
After retiring officially from competition in 2000, Konno
sensei was sponsored by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) to go abroad to
learn English and to learn about judo in another country. His mentor, Nobuyuki
Sato (who himself is a former Olympic, World, and All Japan Champion) is a friend
of EBJI?s Matsumoto sensei, and through their relationship, it turned out that
EBJI would be host to Konno sensei.
Konno sensei has been in the states since September 2000.
Since that time, he has kept himself busy with his English studies, first at
the San Francisco State University American Institute, and then later at UC
Berkeley Extension. In addition to his full course of study, he has attended
all EBJI judo practices regularly, has traveled to various competitions around
the country and internationally, and has given judo clinics to many different
areas and yudanshakais of the USJF.
Konno sensei has been a rare treat to know for all of us.
While many champions with his record of accomplishment are so willing to sit
back on those laurels for the rest of their lives, Konno sensei constantly
pushed himself to learn as much as he could during his stay here. Many nights
he stayed up late to finish his homework from school, or writing reports for
the JOC or All Japan Judo Federation. The image of him continually striving to
learn, and to actually put considerable effort into studying, was to many of us
the mark of a true and real champion, both on the mat and off.
Above all, Konno sensei brought his humble ways to our
world. He was never arrogant, or never said a bad thing about anyone. When in
today?s world we see so many "champions" who cannot think about anyone other
than him or herself, Konno sensei was a refreshing breath in our lives.
Wherever he has been, Konno sensei has brought his warm
personality, in addition to his excellent judo skills, to motivate, encourage,
and inspire many people. We at EBJI know of his skills, and mostly his
excellent character and way of being by having the privilege of being his host
dojo during his one year stay here in the states.
Along with his wife Yumi and son Koudai, all of the members
will miss Konno sensei?s warm smile, his friendly chats, and his advice and
teachings about judo. Although he unfortunately has to return to Japan prior to
our annual tournament, I join all EBJI members in wishing him and his family
all of the success and happiness in the future, in whatever paths of life they
choose. And of course we welcome him back with open arms anytime in the future
to his home away from home in El Cerrito.
Good luck, Konno sensei, and thank you for all you have done
And Welcome Tadahiro Nomura Sensei
As we bid farewell to our guest instructor Jun Konno sensei,
at the same time we are welcoming to our dojo another guest instructor from
Japan, Tadahiro Nomura sensei. Mr. Nomura?s name and reputation, of course,
precedes him. His is one of only six individuals in the history of judo to
capture two gold medals in Olympic competition ? one in Atlanta in 1996, and
the second in Sydney in 2000. He was also the world champion in his weight
category in 1997, and a gold medallist in many other international competitions
around the world and in Japan.
Mr. Nomura is joined by his wife Yoko during their one year
stay here in the SF bay area. Like Mr. Konno, they both will be attending the
American Language Institute at San Francisco State University, learning
English, American customs and culture, and making new friends. Of course, he
will also be doing judo at EBJI.
Nomura sensei comes to EBJI via an introduction from Mr.
Hashimoto of Mike House in Osaka, Japan, where Nomura sensei is currently an
employee. Many Daiheigen members will remember Mr. Hashimoto and Miki House, as
our 2001 Japan Tour team spent four days at the Miki House facilities in Osaka
this past August. Mr. Hashimoto took good care of all of our members, and
Nomura sensei and his wife visited our team there prior to coming to San
All of us at EBJI look forward to spending lots of time with
Nomura sensei and his family, both on the mat and off, learning from him not
only about judo, but about many other things as well. Hopefully, there is
something we can give back to him, too.
Welcome, Nomura sensei!