Friday, March 25, 2011
The Main Line Y.M.C.A. Judo Team in 1974. The team was organized and coached by Howie. He had won a spot on the 1968 U.S. Olympic Judo team. However, a severe knee injury just before the trip to Mexico City crushed his Olympic prospects. Howie brought that level of Olympic discipline and dedication to teaching a bunch of kids the Martial Sport founded by Dr.Jigaro Kano in Japan in 1882.
We had regular practices and fervent competition and participation. The work-outs were tough but fun. We all learned life lessons about discipline, combat sports and team spirit. The team competed in local and regional matches and many of us had significant success. I managed to win a Gold Medal in the regional Junior Olympics and a Bronze in the East Coast Regionals. I still have those medals and I am proud of the fierce work and competition they represent. I reached Purple Belt at 13. Sadly, the call of after school jobs, girls and school sports, coupled with the increased level of dedication required to try for a Brown Belt and move to the Junior High division, put an end to my career.Equally sad is how Judo was overshadowed by Kung Fu and the like with the advent of various movies and TV shows glorifying the more agressive forms of Martial Arts.
But man, check out the Afro's on some of my buddies!