A small judo club sponsored a referee clinic and the first North Bay Developmental Shiai in Petaluma, CA on the weekend of August 29, 2009. As the newest club to join the USJF Central Coast Yudanshakai (CENCO), DeLeon Judo Club and Seika Ryu Martial Arts, a USJA club, had been collaborating together to host quarterly clinics for the judoka in the north bay. Both clubs had seen growth with around 60 students combined, but less that a dozen having any competition experience. Both clubs had wanted to be able to provide an opportunity for the newer students to try shiai and figured other clubs had similar needs.
The shiai would need referees and the clubs realized that this was a great opportunity to be able to hold a referee certification clinic which would allow the experienced adult judoka of the clubs a way to participate in the shiai and further their own development as judoka. DeLeon Judo Club sponsored the certification course and clinician Cal Kitaura from Palo Alto Judo Club, and Vaughn Imada from San Jose Buddhist Judo Club and President of USJF Central Coast Yudanshikai provided the excellent instruction for the 19 judokas who attended. The certification class and written exam were held on Saturday August 29 and included discussion, hands-on exercises and video examples of real competition which allowed the students to evaluate calls. The practical exam portion was held at the shiai which allowed the students to be critiqued in real situations. Cal and Vaughn were joined by Dan Israel of EBJI to provide the budding referees with helpful analysis of each person’s time on the mat as a referee and judge.
The shiai, directed by Henry Kaku of DeLeon Judo Club, was at the Petaluma Community Center which attracted almost 70 participants from the the North Bay and East Bay area and as far away as Grass Valley. There were 20 divisions aged from 5 yrs to adult with beginner and intermediate groups. For many of the judoka competing, it was their first time and the sponsoring clubs wanted everyone to have a good time and enjoy the competition aspect of judo. The clubs provided medals for all participants. Overall this was a very positive experience that allowed everyone an opportunity to grow in judo.