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.
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.
The Irwin Cohen Memorial Judo Tournament took place on October 15, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. Derick Wellman assisted in the officiating of this event. Derick also passed the national judo referees test and is an official National Judo Referee. Derick’s service to judo is second to none. The 4th dan black belt has been in judo for 43 years. Despite his tight schedule, Sensei Wellman dedicates countless hours to learning, teaching and practicing judo. His passion for the martial art is contagious. Many judokas have benefited from his mentorship and have made great achievements on and off the mat. The need for judo referees is immense. If you are in judo and no longer compete, officiating the sport is another way of giving back. So get involved. We will see you on the mat.
White Dragon Judo Club has brought back Tuesday nights to the training schedule. Tuesday night is an Open Mat practice. This means that anyone can attend this practice. This informal session, facilitated by Sensei Demonn Smith and Adnan Gutic, concentrates on judo technique. The judoka will be doing a lot of uchikomi exercises and judo drills set to improve the judokas technical competence. Don’t worry you will still get a nice rewarding workout. Want to know more about White Dragon Judo Club. Feel free to browse the website www.whitedragonjudo.com.
Kirkwood Judo Club was the host of the Veterans Training Camp on October 7-8, 2016. This is the third of four training camps held in the Midwest region. Members of White Dragon Judo Club were at Finney’s MMA gym for this camp. Sensei Russ Little and Tom Kuhne were the facilitators for this event. The purpose of this camp is to prepare the veteran judokas for the upcoming . Both days consisted of numerous drills for newaza and tachi waza. After the drills there was randori for standing and groundwork. It was a great workout and the veterans were making great use of their precious time.
The 6th annual Gateway Invitational Judo Championships got underway at the Overland Community Center in Overland, Missouri on October 1, 2016. Tournament director, Derick Wellman had worked countless hours building this event into one of the most competitive judo tournaments in the Midwest region. Dan Dillion and player/coach Anthony Weeks guided Team White Dragon for this event. In the junior category, Hayden Gost made his tournament debut. “The Big Gost” maintained an offensive strategy in route to a bronze medal. The youngest of the Fajor clan, Dina Fajor, made a name for herself in her tournament debut. Still a work in progress, Dina displayed massive determination needed to be successful in this martial art. She took home a bronze medal. Fred Heidmann won silver in his first shiai. Ryland Darevsky, executed great newaza that was good enough for bronze in his debut. In a weight class that he was clearly the underdog, Issac Valdez De Soto pulled off three epic upset victories to collect his third consecutive Gateway Judo Tourney gold medal. Issac’s gold medal match was one of the most exciting matches in the history of this event. Clearly behind by a wazari, Valdez De Soto executed a splendid koshi guruma with time running out to win the match. Julius Amann grinded out a bronze medal in his second tournament of the year. Alex Halon finished third in the junior middleweight class. Jeric Gumahin had a busy day against strong opposition. Despite the obstacles he took silver home for the day. Riesen Riley rebounded from her third place finish at this year’s Konjo Dojo Judo Fall Championships. She went undefeated and was all smiles when she stood no. 1 on the medal stand. Saba Fajor went 3-1 on the day and placed second in her division. Manareldeen Fajors picked his opponents apart with his relentless attacks. He collected his third consecutive gold medal of the year. In the senior division, Taylor Brown displayed a well rounded judo game going 2-1 on the day and a silver medal in her White Dragon debut. It was a rough but positive learning experience for Dennis Williams in his first shiai. Although he did not medal, the ambitious young judoka showed raw potential and a desire to learn. Veronica Booker took home bronze in her third tournament. Adam Young won silver in light heavyweight category. After a two year hiatus from this event, Demonn Smith won gold in the senior heavyweight category. In the gold medal match, the veteran hit a nice sasae tsuri komi ashi to osaekomi and hung on for the victory. Philip Vojta had his slingshot out for this tournament. He continues to improve and tally up a list of upset victories. He collected his second consecutive gold of the year. In the veterans division, Jay Baker placed second respectfully. Glen Trotter took gold in the middleweight division. Dan Raney displayed superior newaza in route to a gold medal in the veteran heavyweight class. The MVP of the tournament was Anthony Weeks. “The fighting patriarch of TEAM 3D” mauled the competition in the open division taking gold and convincingly going undefeated in this tournament.