Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Judo Opportunity

I’ve just learned that the Recreation Center will be open until noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This gives us an opportunity for our Thursday training. 

Join us at 8am December 24th and 31st for special Holiday Judo!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Invitation from Sensei Shepherd

Sensei Eiko Shepherd
Let us know if you will be coming. We'd like to organize a road trip! Here's Sensei Shepher's email:


Dear Judo Friends,

The Ki To Kan Judo Club would like to invite you to an OPEN JUDO WORKOUT to celebrate the NEW YEAR 2016!

Date: January 3, 2016  Sunday

Time: 10:00 am to 1:30 pm

Location :  James J. Eagan Florissant Civic Center   
                 1 James J. Eagan Dr, Florissant, MO 63033

This practice will be sanctioned with USJF. Participants need to bring a current  USJF, USA Judo, or USJA membership card to participate.  If you do not have a membership card, application forms will be available for all 3 organizations at the event. 

Also, we are asking participants to bring a food or drink donation suitable for everyone to enjoy following the practice. (Please no alcohol. The Florissant Civic Center prohibits alcohol on the premises.)

I will be at the Civic Center at 9:00 am to put down the mats. Practice begins promptly at 10:00 am and will end at 12:30. We will then put up the mats and enjoy a social time with food. 

Please let me know if you will be attending. Thank you.


Eiko Saito Shepherd
cell (618-781-5157)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Blaine Medals at President's Cup

Over the weekend Blaine and I traveled to Dallas, TX for the Dallas Open Judo Tournament and President’s Cup.  Blaine’s, +100kg division, was populated with 13 hungry heavyweights, most of whom were as big as or bigger than Blaine.

During the two events, Blaine proved the old adage ‘that which does not kill you makes you stronger’. Blaine’s movement and form were off. In spite of the lack of normal form, he persevered, and captured bronze in the +100kgs in the Dallas Open and Presidents Cup and the Open weight Silver. The two medals from the President’s Cup bring Blaine’s total national medals to 5. I suspect that he has a few more to earn.

Congratulations Blaine! You provide a shining example for the Hollis Park Judo Team.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Cohen Tournament 2015 - Videos

Below are the videos of the Irwin Cohen Memorial Tournament 2015.

Blaine Duhs in white - win by pin

Blaine Duhs in white - win by ippon

Stefan Habsburg in white - lost to ippon

Stefan Habsburg in white - lost due to injury

Joe Taylor in white - lost to ippon

Joe Taylor in white - lost to ippon

Joe Taylor in blue - lost to ippon

Coach's Report - Cohen Tournament 2015

Report from Coach George Weers on our team's performance at the tournament yesterday. Way to go team !


Aaron Prosser, Joe Taylor, Stefan Habsburg, Blaine Duhs, Coach George Weers
Hollis Park Judo was, heavily, represented at the 2015 Irwin Cohen Memorial Judo Tournament. This year our team of players consisted of one 90kg, Stefan, two -100kg, Joe Taylor and Aaron Prosser as well as Blaine at  +100kg. For Aaron and Joe it was their first experience at a National level event and they comported themselves well.

Joe’s first match was against, international player and multiple National Champion, Mark Fletcher. Joe played well and was able to execute a few attacks. Mr. Fletcher’s experience, however, prevailed.

Aaron faced a, more, experienced opponent in a, two-out-of-three, situation, which provided a valuable bench-mark for Aaron’s future development.

This event was Stefan’s first venture into the -90kg division. In his first match, Stefan faced a visually impaired (VI) athlete who was able to match Stefan’s ground play skills, tit for tat. It was a very entertaining match, over which the VI player was able to persevere with a small score. Unfortunately, Stefan tweaked his knee in his second match.

In a bizarre twist of bracket bungling, Blaine dominated the +100kg division. Blaine’s superior footwork, grips and  transitions made easy work of all comers. The Cohen’s event served as a good warm-up for Blaine’s trip to Dallas and the President’s Cup next weekend.

I would be remiss in not thanking our support group of Natalie, Marisa, Melissa and Julie. Their efforts in soothing boo-boos and bolstering egos was an invaluable asset.

Congratulations to all! You have upheld the reputation of Hollis Park Judo and provided your Coach with great pride!


View of the venue

View of the venue

Blaine Duhs and Stefan Habsburg warm up before the tournament

Blaine Duhs wins gold in +100kg division

Congratulations Blaine! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day to some of our favorite judo peoples. Coach George Weers and his wife Marie have spent their lives serving our country in the airforce. Coach Dave Bleeker has spent his military career in the army. And Trent Williamson has defended our freedom on tours overseas with the army. Thank you to each one of these amazing people. 

(If anyone knows any of our other team members who have served, please let me know!) 

Thank you, George and Marie

Thank you Trent and Dave

Monday, November 9, 2015

Size Is An Illusion

Ok, maybe not. Maybe size does actually matter. But being small should never be an excuse. It's simply a challenge. 

As many on our team are out for various reasons, those who show up must sometimes be paired with a slight size difference. This Thursday was one of those nights. But working with someone of a drastically different size can open up a whole new world of learning. The smaller opponent realizes that he can, indeed, throw a bigger opponent with the right technique. And the larger opponent is forced to practice his control in throwing (so as not to smoosh his friend). It's a win-win learning opportunity for both. 

Below are some pictures from class. 

Garrick practices a new throw with his father, Steve


Both National Champions, Alex Wolfe (white gi) and Blaine Duhs (blue gi) help each other drill

I mean...they're BASICALLY the same size...almost...kinda...

Ok, maybe there's a slight size difference...

Coach George Weers teaches a new technique

Alex and Coach George practice some groundplay 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cohen Brothers Judo Tournament

Coming up November 14th is the Irwin Cohen Memorial Tournament. So far from our team Stefan Habsburg, Natalie Habsburg and Coach George Weers will attend. See our 'Upcoming Event's' page for more details.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Ilias Iliadis Judo Clinic - PICTURES UPDATE

Stefan and Natalie Habsburg with Ilias Iliadis

It was an exciting weekend as part of our team headed up to the Cohen Brothers Judo Center for a clinic with Olympic Champion Ilias Iliadis from Greece. Members of our team who attended were Coach George Weers, Stefan Habsburg and Natalie Habsburg. Unfortunately, video and photos were not allowed but as soon as the official photos are posted, we'll share those. (see updated pictures below)

The highlight of the day was when our own Stefan Habsburg was able to throw Ilias. Ilias offered to take on anyone who wanted to fight him for 30 seconds. Lots of judoka stepped forward for a chance to take on the Olympian. Stefan was about 12th in line. He moved around with Ilias for a few seconds before throwing him with a kouchi gari (little inside foot sweep) and rolled him into an English hold-down. They stood up and Stefan again took Ilias down be getting around his back and rolled him into an arm bar. Stefan was the only judoka to throw Ilias. This was extremely encouraging to Stefan to see that he could indeed go toe to toe with a world champion.

Also extremely encouraging, was the fact that Ilias taught aspects of judo that our team already practices on a regular basis. This included, staying loose and not stiffening up during drills; not deciding before-hand a throw but reacting to your opponent's movement; and realizing how important grip fighting is in a match. Ilias demonstrated his famous over the back grip and also his signature seo nagi throw.

Another highlight of the day was Natalie Habsburg getting to meet and work out with Lynn Roethke. Lynn is an Olympic Judo Champion and has done so much for women's judo. You can read more about Lynn HERE.

It was an intense four or five hours of judo but an incredible experience for our team members. Those who went are excited to share their experience with the rest of our team so be sure to come to class these next few weeks!!

Below are some pictures taken by the Cohen Brothers Judo Club. See if you can spot our team members!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Stefan Habsburg Wins Gold At Gateway Tournament

This weekend Stefan Habsburg competed at the Gateway Invitational Tournament in Missouri. After 11 months recovery from knee surgery, this was his first competition back. As expected, he did amazing and took home the gold medal. Below are the videos of his matches. The first match was won by kouchi gari (little inside) and the second match was won by pin. Congratulations Stefan! The team is proud of you!


Stefan's mainly wanted to focus on stand-up as opposed to ground-play. In the 2nd match you can see him let his opponent up when they go to the ground. At the end of the match, Stefan had his opponent in a pin. His opponent verbally tapped, meaning Stefan won by pin/submission.

We're excited to have Stefan, one of our top competitors, back on the mat. His knee is doing fine and we look forward to seeing him win many more tournaments this coming year.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hollis Park Judo Tournament 2016!!

Hollis Park Judo
Invitational Judo Tournament

You are cordially invited to attend a Judo Tournament hosted at the Hollis Park Recreation Center.

Tournament Venue: Hollis Park Recreational Center
10107 Vine Street
Mapleton, IL 61547 (see attached map) 309-697-2929

Event Date: Sunday January 10, 2016 Awards: Medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place Entry Fee: $20
Weigh-in: 10:30am – 12pm Competition: 1:30pm

Two Competition Areas

All matches will be three minutes in duration
All players are guaranteed, no fewer than, two matches
Golden Score will be used where neither players earns a score during regulation time.

Kata Competition:
The Hollis Park Judo Tournament will include Kata Competition. Kata competition will take place
before the Shiaii matches.

Referees: For  each  volunteer  Referee,  one  contestant,  from  that volunteers Team, may be
registered, in the competition, free of charge.

This tournament is not a preregistration event. However, for the sake of convenience, the
registration form and Liability Waiver have been included in this package. Preparing the forms in
advance will make registration much more efficient. Registration forms will be available at the
registration table.

Tournament Director: George Weers

Pioneer of Women's Judo

Coach George Weers sent out an interesting article about Rena Kanokogi. You can read it HERE.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect

Wanna know how to get good at judo? Practice. Drill. In just two weeks, part of our team will be heading down to Missouri for the Gateway Tournament on Sept. 19. We look forward to seeing all that hard work put into action. But before the medals, comes the hours of drills, perfecting throws and practicing judo. Hope to see you on the mat!  

Joe catches his breath while Coach Alex and Natalie have some randori in the background 

Coach Mitch and Coach Blaine demonstrate a new throw

The team gathers to learn a new drill

Coach George and Coach Alex

Controlling the fight all the way to the mat

More drills

Coach George and Coach Alex

Practice, practice, practice

Coach George and Coach Alex 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fall Judo Is Here!!

This is most likely the last week of miserably hot weather. Hooray! Here comes beautiful crisp fall evenings perfect for judo! We hope to see you on the mat! 

Below are a few pictures with some of our team who toughed out the humidity and suited up in giant gi coats despite the heat. That's dedication for you. Way to go team! 

Coaches Stefan and Alex keeping each other on their toes

Coach Blaine works out with Will

Julien shows Aubrey a new throw

It's Aubrey's turn! 

Amber and Naomi work on foot sweeps

Coach Stefan throws Alex