May 5, 2005
The USA Judo Collegiate, High School and Middle School Championships, hosted by San Jose, CA were held on March 19th, and 20th. This event featured over 450 competitors, and served as a preview of what can be expected from this year’s elite level competition. Three competitors from East Bay Judo Institute (EBJI) fought for national honors; two, in the collegiate division, on Saturday and one in the High School division on Sunday. Collectively, they brought home two gold medals for their efforts.
First up for EBJI in the Collegiate under-48 kilogram division was Ann Shiraishi, a freshman at Consumnes River College. Receiving a first round bye in a three-man pool, Shiraishi advanced straight to the finals, where she faced off against Adela Garcia of Texas. In a contest lasting just under twenty seconds, Shiraishi threw Garcia with a left-sided Seoinage, for ippon (equivalent to a K.O. in boxing) giving her the title as the Collegiate National Champion.
Also representing EBJI was Molly O’Rourke, a senior at San Francisco State University, who fought in a four-man pool for the under-78 kilogram crown. O’Rourke’s first match pitted her against Marcie Taketa of San Jose State University. Taketa came out aggressively, outgripping O’Rourke and making numerous unsuccessful attempts at drop-knee Seoinage. However in the third minute of the match, O’Rourke finally got a grip and threw Taketa with Haraigoshi, for ippon, sending her to the finals against Sara Drake of New York. After a slow start in her first match, O’Rourke came out strong and threw Drake with Ouchigari in the first ten seconds, ending the match and crowning O’Rourke as the -78 kilogram champion.
The second day of competition featured the Middle School and High School competition. Dale Hata, a sophomore at El Cerrito High School was the lone competitor for East Bay Judo Institute that day, competing in the under-60 kilogram category. In a division of eighteen competitors, Hata opened his day with a preliminary match against Jean-Pierre Durand of Florida. Hata came out strong in his first match, gripping well and controlling Durand. After many exchanges, Hata was able to surprise Durand with an Uchimata for ippon, advancing him into the next round. Round two pitted Hata against Joseph Hashimoto of Colorado. This fast paced match, lasting the full five minutes, featured numerous attacks by two very equally-matched competitors for the majority of the match. Then in the last minute of match time, Hata made a solid attack, looking as though the match was about to end, but Hashimoto spun out, landing on his stomach, and sending Hata to his back. A score of wazari (half-point) was called for Hashimoto, which was the defining factor for the match. Hata then dropped down to the loser’s bracket to fight for a chance at third place. His third match was against Adam Thalhofer of Washington who he swiftly defeated with a Kouchigari for ippon advancing to face Jeff Fujimoto of Los Angeles, California. Hata and Fujimoto appeared to be evenly matched for the first few minutes but Fujimoto found the first opportunity, throwing Hata with Ippon Seoinage, for the win, ending Hata’s pursuit for a medal.
The East Bay Judo Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the teaching of Kodokan Judo. It’s head instructor is Dr. David Matsumoto, 6th degree black belt. For information about classes, schedules, location, and contact information, see www.ebji.org or call 510-237-0607.