SF State’s judo club is back for another semester and is hoping to enter a local tournament to test their skills against other colleges, such as UC Berkeley.
Nick Mitchell, president of the judo club, discussed their plans for the fall semester, which include practicing with SF State’s jiu-jitsu club and judo clubs from other colleges.
“Nothing is official yet, but we are looking into setting up an open-mat practice with UC Berkeley’s judo club,” Mitchell said. “Some of the guys might enter City College’s tournament at the end of the year.”
City College of San Francisco hosts a judo tournament for local clubs and colleges. SF State graduate and judo instructor Oscar Montoya believes that even with the laid-back atmosphere, there are members who have the skills to enter the competition.
“We can compete with other dojos, even those who focus on competition,” Montoya said.
One reason Montoya believes they could compete is because of their sensei, Yevgeniy Sosnovskiy. Sosnovskiy is a third-degree black belt and has competed in tournaments around the world as well as being a part of the USA judo team in the 20th World Maccabiah Games.
“We only pay $10 per semester It’s a great value for the type of training we are getting,” said Phillip Kilmer.
Kilmer, an SF State alumnus, has been a part of the judo club for three years, and although he is not an SF State student anymore, he continues to be a member because he loves martial arts and the group of people in the club.
Kilmer’s goal by the end of the semester is to compete in the City College tournament. He is currently a brown belt, which is the second highest belt rank in the group. Kilmer wants to test his skills against other opponents and see what it feels like to compete in judo.
Team building exercises are also something the judo club wants to focus on this semester. They want to incorporate exercises outside of campus, such as hiking, into their routine.. The goal of these off-campus get-togethers is to find different ways to exercise as well as strengthen the bond of the club.
The new semester also brings new recruits. One of those new members is Eric Tran, a computer science major who found out about the club while playing Pokémon Go and thought judo would be a good way to stay in shape.
“I was doing Muay Thai but I felt it was getting too repetitive,” Tran said. “Here we’re constantly learning new things and you can pace yourself and go at your own speed.”
When talking about his goals for judo this semester, Tran said, “I just want to climb the ladder and get better.”
The judo club meets every Monday and Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. and Sundays from 7-9 p.m. in GYM 149. The entry fee is $10 and both students and non-students are welcome to join. The judo club can be contacted through the SFSU judo Facebook page or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.