White Dragon Judo Club is the Saint Louis area’s fastest growing Judo club. We offer classes to students of all levels, children and adults alike. Please take a look around our website to see what’s new with us, and learn a little about the wonderful sport of Judo. Thanks for stopping by!
White Dragon Judo Club is committed to providing the Saint Louis area with instruction in Kodokan Judo. It is our goal to attract and develop high quality judoka (Judo players). Keeping in mind that Judo is an art concerned with improving ones physical fitness and above all the character of the judoka. We encourage diversity so our club is a rich cultural experience as well as a ton of fun.
It is not unusual for judokas to cross train or compete in other martial arts. Olympic judo silver medalist Jason Morris was an All American wrestler at Syracuse University before he achieved judo greatness. Judo Olympians Dr. Rhadi Ferguson and Travis Stevens are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts respectively. The 2017 FUJI BJJ Missouri State Jiu-Jitsu Championships got underway on February 18, 2017 at Saint Charles West High School in Saint Charles, Missouri. Manareldeen Fajor was the lone representative for Team White Dragon with Demonn Smith as coach. The young judoka displayed a masterful takedown game which was too much for his opponent. Despite a late rally in the gold medal match, Fajor stayed focused and won his second consecutive BJJ Missouri State Jiu jitsu championship in the lightweight gi division. Other judo notables who represented their BJJ dojos were Bobbie Jo Ridenhour who practices BJJ for Gracie Humaita Saint Louis (JW Wright). She won silver in her category. Dennis Williams is a blue belt in BJJ under Gracie Humaita Saint Louis. He currently cross trains in Judo under Demonn Smith. He dominated his weight class to win gold. Former visually impaired judo national champion Adnan Gutic trains in BJJ under Bryan Guidry at North Broadway Jiu jitsu. Adnan took on a talent heavy division and made it look easy on his way to a gold medal in his division.
The 2017 Midwest Collegiate Judo Championships got underway on February 11, 2017 at the Savoy Recreation Center in Savoy, Illinois. Derick Wellman officiated the tournament. Team White Dragon was led by the legendary Randy Pierce. In the team competition, Team Missouri which comprised of members of White Dragon Judo Club was eliminated in the first round. Ryan Morrow made his return to judo competition after a long lay off. Ryan shook the rust off and earned a silver medal in his bracket. Derek Clardy made his tournament debut in spectacular fashion executing koshi guruma to win his first match. The rising star displayed strong superior athleticism on his way to a bronze medal. Taylor Brown won bronze in the female lightweight division. Philip Vojta went 4-1 overwhelming his opposition with superior skill. He won silver. Byron Helmrich took silver in the lightweight advanced category. Elder statesman Demonn Smith showed that he still got it taking silver in the veterans division. Jay Baker dominated the middleweight class for gold. The MVP honors goes out to Tsengee Erdenebayer. TJ went undefeated in his division winning gold by osaekomi.
The 2017 Wahadachi and WJI (Wisconsin) State Judo Championships took place at the Milwaukee Lutheran High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 29, 2017. Team White Dragon consisted of the Fajor trio of Manareldeen, Saba and Dina Fajor. In the junior novice division, Dina Fajor show significant progress against tough opposition. The rookie showed great resilience on the ground as she escaped a number of pins. Dina continued to be persistent earning a wazari in second match. Although she did not medal, the novice judoka is beginning to show a judo maturation unknown to judokas at her level. Saba Fajor went 3-1 on the day. The Warrior Princess took silver in an eventful gold medal match. Brother Manareldeen Fajor was the MVP of the tournament. The young judoka displayed a fast and accurate morote seoinage that made short work of his opposition. He steamrolled his way to his first Wisconsin State Judo Championship.
The Annual White Dragon Judo Club Holiday Party was on January 21, 2017. This event was a time for members to get to know each other off the mat. Members brought their families and lots of tasty food and beverages. This celebration was time for the White Dragon family to reflect on how wonderful 2016 was. The junior program made great strides in attendance, medals, and skill. The Friendship Tournament Series help build students confidence and enhance their overall skills. Juniors Cameron Duffield and Manareldeen Fajor dominated their weight classes. Parents were very impressed with quality instruction that their children were receiving. The Adult program increased in membership and also witness the promotion of many deserving judokas. Notably Dan Raney and Anna Feygina were promoted to Nidan, 2nd degree black belt. Jay Baker, The Batman Bat Unur Erdenebayer and Philip Vojta had the most entertaining judo matches of the year. Adnan Gutic had an awesome year scoring gold medals in almost every judo tournament he competed in. Bryan Enlow and Ryan Morrow returned to the mat after a long hiatus and made significant contributions to the judo program. The Gateway Judo Tournament is going strong and is still the largest tournament in the state of Missouri. The judo club sent three members to the 2017 IJF World Veterans Judo Championships. Lastly, Sensei Derick Wellman continues to evolve and set the example in his judo journey. Sensei Derick became a National judo referee in October 2016. The year 2017 has the potential to be AWESOME year as this dojo continues to grow. White Dragon Judo Club would like to take the time to thank the parents, friends, and volunteers who take time out of their busy lives to help this dojo grow. There are so many activities that go on at this dojo. Don’t miss out. Check out the club’s website and two facebook pages. Happy 2017 from White Dragon Judo Club! We will see you on the mat.
The first tournament of the White Dragon Judo Club schedule was the Hollis Park Judo Invitational. The event took place on January 7, 2017 at the Hollis Park Recreation Center in Mapleton, Illinois. Sensei Derick Wellman was the senior referee for this tournament. EG3 Eugene Hamilton was the official coach for Team White Dragon. The junior division featured Issac Valdez De Soto. The young judoka came focused and hungry. Issac went 3-1 on the day and took silver. Manareldeen Fajors continued his gold medal winning ways into the new year. He was one of four judokas who went undefeated for the day. In the senior class, Taylor Brown won her first gold medal with an explosive tsuri goshi in the final moments of her gold medal match. Byron Helrich won silver in his weight category. Phillip Vojta had the throw of the tournament and a gold medal for his efforts. Bobbie Jo Ridenhour fought up in weight class and won a silver medal. Demonn Smith had a very busy day against a very improved and talented weight class. He won silver. Jay Baker got two upset victories in this tournament on his way to a silver medal finish in the veterans category. Adnan Gutic took the MVP honors again. Gutic persevered a competitive class of judokas, going undefeated and winning two gold medals, one at 81kg and one in the open division.
The last promotion of 2016 was given to Taylor Brown. With Blair Watts presiding over the examination, Brown executed near flawless technique and received the promotion to Gokyu orange belt. Taylor is from Rolla, Missouri. She studied taekwondo and judo at a young age and continued to practice judo because she liked it more. One of Ms. Brown’s attributes is that she is a hard worker. Brown is always practicing and very dedicated to her martial art. The college freshman makes the commutes to the dojo from Rolla, Missouri at least 2 days a week. As a result, she recently medaled at the 2016 Gateway Judo Tournament. 2017 will be a spectacular year for this judoka with unlimited potential.
One of the most coveted tournaments on the world judo circuit has come to the United States. This year’s IJF World Veterans Judo Championships was at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 17-18, 2016. Sensei Derick Wellman and Blair Watts lead a veterans version of Team White Dragon in an event for the ages. Demonn Smith, Dan Raney and Dan Dillon represented Team White Dragon for this illustrious event. Demonn Smith fought in the M3 100kg category. Smith faced Oscar Naccacci of Italy in the first round. Smith had a lot of good attacks throughout the whole match. Despite having three shidos in the match, Naccacci countered Smith for yuko and escaped with the victory. The win quickly eliminated Smith from medal contention. Dan Raney received a first round bye and faced Markus Diel of Germany. After being assessed two shidos, Raney picked up the pace with an osotogari counter attack and a beautiful sasae tsuri komi ashi attempt. Raney got the game to the ground but was unable to solidify the pin or establish a submission. Diel countered Raney’s uchimata attempt with thirty seconds left in the match for ippon. Dan Dillon got the most work in this tournament. Dillon faced a very formidable opponent in the first round. Russian Azer Dzhaforav hit Dillon with two successive kosotogaris for wazari score to advance to the next round. Dillon was pulled through the bracket to fight for bronze. He faced France’s Jean Marc Cantais. Dillon pressed the attack in this showdown. He was able to takedown his opponent but could not advance position on the ground. Cantais scored a wazari on Dillon at the 1:53 mark in the match. Dillon continued to push the pace with his opponent. Dillon launch two good attacks but was unable to get a score. Cantais executed a second kosotogari for ippon. Although there was no favorable outcome, the judo players gained some well needed international judo experience. The deck will be stacked again next year and Team White Dragon will be ready.
The 14th Annual Red, White and Blue Classic got underway at the Saint Paul Parish School in Marion, Indiana on November 12, 2016. Sensei Derick Wellman assisted in the officiating of this tournament. Team White Dragon was loaded with young talent for this event. In the junior category, Dina Fajor gave an outstanding effort and placed fourth. Manareldeen Fajor’s athleticism overwhelmed his opponents on his way to a second place finish. Saba Fajor took the MVP honors for this tournament. Saba was unblemished with her dominant kumi kata to get the gold medal. In the senior division, Phillip Vojta hit an awesome ippon in his first match. He took home a silver medal. Jay Baker shook off the mat rust with a silver medal showing.
This year’s Minooka Halloween Judo Open took place at the Minooka Community High School in Channahon, Illinois on October 22, 2016. Team White Dragon comprised of Manareldeen Fajor, Saba Fajor and Dina Fajor. Saba Fajor got off to an excellent start in this tournament with an awesome ippon in her first match. Saba took silver, her third medal of the year. Dina Fajor looked to improve from her tourney debut. Although she did not medal the young novice displayed a better understanding of the technical concepts of judo. Manare was the MVP of the tournament. Manare took the gold with a wazari and pin in his final match.
Adam Young was promoted to Yonkyu green belt in Judo on October 17, 2016. Adam has come a long way in such a short period. Adam started judo in 2015 in order to lose weight. Fascinated by the Olympic sport, Adam began attending judo practices at least 3 times a week. Although he got thrown a lot and submitted in groundwork randori sessions, he did not quit and stayed the course. Workout after workout the pounds kept sliding off of his body. Adam has lost more than 30 lbs. Adam went a step further in his judo journey and started competing. He made his tournament debut in March 2016. The road has been tough at times but Adam’s persistence will pay off in the very near future.