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Hollis Park Judo Invitational 2018

Hollis Park Judo Invitational took place on January 7, 2018 at the Hollis Park Recreation Center in Mapleton, Illinois. The legendary Randy Pierce was the senior official for the tournament. It was a low turnout to this event due the incumbent weather. Manareldeen Fajors represented Team White Dragon in the junior division. M. Fajors kicked the year off on a good note with a gold medal showing. The junior judoka executed a beautiful morote seoinage in the gold medal match. Manareldeen had a breakout year in 2017 and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in 2018.

2017 Christmas Eve Judo Workout

White Dragon Judo Club held a special judo workout on Saturday, December 23, 2017. There are not many holidays that the dojo is closed and Christmas Eve is no exception. Saturday’s practice featured former members Andrew Lazarz and his wife, current World Veterans Judo Champioships bronze medalist, Anna Feygina. The practice, ran by Nidan Demonn Smith, consisted of judo warm ups, kumi kata randori, a brief instruction on sankaku jime and newaza randori. Anna Feygina and Andrew Lazarz have been mainstays in the Saint Louis judo community. The two both received there black belts under Sensei Derick Wellman. Anna Feygina is the most decorated female judoka in the history of White Dragon Judo Club. She has won numerous medals and matches under the White Dragon label. The couple recently moved to Texas to further their careers. JUDO brings many people from different backgrounds together. The friendships are unbreakable. We the members, staff, and instructors of White Dragon Judo Club would like to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

2017 Dallas Invitational/President’s Cup

The 2017 Dallas Invitational/President’s Cup got underway on the weekend of November 18-19, 2017 in Irving, Texas. The Irving Convention Center was the venue for this event. David Burke took on the coaching duties for Team WHITE DRAGON. Team White Dragon displayed two of the most talented brown belts in the dojo. Jay Baker has made steady development in his judo journey. Jay took a break from competition after the 2017 Senior Nationals to focus on his education. Jay showed no signs of mat rust scoring a silver medal in the veteran’s middleweight category at the Dallas Invitational. Phillip Vojta rebounded from a tough Dallas Invitational to win GOLD at the President’s Cup. Vojta got off to a tremendous start with a beautiful uchimata in his first match. He vaulted himself into the semifinal with a win by osaekomi. The gold medal match featured an awesome double sleeve osotogari for ippon. This was Vojta’s third consecutive gold medal. It is more than safe to say that Phillip Vojta is having a breakout year.

Nick Delpopolo Clinic 2017

Members of White Dragon Judo Club were in attendance at the Nick Delpopolo Clinic from November 3-5, 2017 at the Kokushi Midwest Judo Club in Urbana, Illinois and Tohkon Judo Academy in Chicago, Illinois. Nick Delpopolo is a two time Judo Olympian from Westfield, New Jersey. The clinic, ran by Grace Talusan, had junior and senior sessions. Both sessions consists of games and warm ups exercises that focused on the judokas coordination, balance and athleticism. Delpopolo demonstrated his favorite techniques like tai otoshi, uchimata, yoko tomonage, sasae tsuri komi ashi, osoto gari and “the BEAR” turnover. He had a Q&A session which consist of questions about kumi kata strategy, training regimen, motivation, and diet. Of course, there was a tachi-waza randori session. Delpopolo gave a few pointers to a number of judokas during this portion of the session. It was a great weekend supporting Nick Delpopolo in his journey to the 2020 OlympicsPhoto courtesy of Grace Talusan.

2017 Irwin Cohen Memorial Judo Tournament

Over 400 competitors participated in the 2017 Irwin Cohen Memorial Judo Tournament. The contest took place at the East Leyden High School in Franklin, Illinois on October 15, 2017. The living legend 7th dan Randy Pierce and Sensei Derick Wellman assisted in the officiating of this event. Phillip Vojta represented Team White Dragon in this tournament. Vojta came into this tournament with a 14 match winning streak. In his first match, Vojta got off to a splendid start with a victory by wazari. He out maneuvered his opposition to earn a respectable silver medal for the day.

7th Annual Gateway Invitational Judo Tournament

The 7th Annual Gateway Invitational Judo Tournament got underway on October 7, 2017 at the Overland Community Center in Overland, Missouri. Judokas from all over the Midwest region attended this tournament. Tournament director and national referee Sensei Derick Wellman worked countless hours with parents and volunteers to make this event happen. The legendary 7th dan Randy Pierce was a part of the quartet of officiators for this event. David Burke was the head coach of Team White Dragon. Team White Dragon had number of new faces to step on the mat for this contest. The rookies came in bunches. In the junior division, Edward Ter-Hovhannisyan made the extra practice payoff winning gold in his division. His brother Mark, took silver in his category. Isabella Ter-Hoyannisyan made the biggest mark of the trio going 4-0 on the day and a gold medal for her efforts. The Hayes quartet made their long-awaited debut an impressive one. Meghan Hayes, the captain of the crew, dominated her weight class and won gold. Ryan Hayes faced formidable opposition but persevered and won silver. Bobby Hayes showed significant promise going undefeated on the day for gold. The youngest sibling, Caitlin Hayes, has only been in judo for 7 month but fought like a caged lion. Consistent attacks from the young judoka got her a silver medal in her weight division. The multi-talented Duffields made their presence known by making a highlight reel of all who opposed them. Big brother Cameron Duffields was in a large division. Cameron hit some nice takedowns and won all of his matches via osaekomi. Avery Duffield was out for RESPECT in his debut. The young judoka/wrestler annihilated his division with good osaekomiwaza. Bella Stephens took silver in her debut at middleweight. Alex Halon went 2-1 and won a respectable silver medal. Trevor Judge collected his second consecutive gold of the year. In the senior category, Byron Helmrich continue to progressively get better. He took a silver in this event. Ryan Morrow won his second consecutive silver of the year. 

Glenn Trotter had a  good day scoring a silver in the veterans division. Anthony Weeks matches were filled with suspense. He was behind in his first match winning it by submission with 4 second left in the contest. Weeks stayed focused against opposition that brought the very best out of him. Anthony won the gold with a tremendous uchimata in the championship match. The MVP of the Tournament was Phillip Vojta. Vojta came in to this tournament on fire. The nikkyu had won his last 6 matches and had won first place in two divisions. The workload did not decrease in this tournament. Vojta was allowed to fight in multiple divisions including the open category. 7 of his 9 matches were won by ippon. Vojta won the open championship with a thunderous seoiotoshi. His opponent never saw it coming. Phillip Vojta also got the Throw of the Tournament and three gold medals to add to his growing judo resume.

2017 AAU Freestyle Judo National Championship

Dan Raney (top) in action at the 2017 AAU Freestyle Judo Championships

The 2017 AAU Freestyle Judo National Championships took place on September 30, 2017 at Kansas City North Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The rules were different in this tournament. The tournament was officiated under the Kodakan Judo rules. Dan Raney was the lone representative for Team White Dragon. The veteran place his stamp on the event by capturing the gold in his category. Raney put on a tremendous display of judo takedowns in his first match winning it by osaekomi. The opposition had no answer for Raney’s setups and superior newaza. It was Raney’s first national championship of his long judo career.

2017 America’s Cup Judo Championships

Muncie Central High School in Muncie, Indiana was the venue for the 2017 America’s Cup Judo Championships on September 16, 2017. Yondan Derick Wellman helped officiate this tournament. Manareldeen Fajors was the lone representative for Team White Dragon in this event. Fajors went undefeated on the day taking gold in his category.

2017 Konjo Dojo Fall Judo Championships

Team White Dragon

The 2017 Konjo Dojo Fall Judo Championships took place at the Hillsboro Intermediate School in Hillboro, Missouri on September 9, 2017. The legendary Randy Pierce, the creator of this tournament series was the tournament director for this event. The Konjo Fall Championships was officiated by Randy Pierce, Bryan Enlow and Derick Wellman. Head coach David Burke led a young Team White Dragon against formidable opposition. Glenn Trotter took 1st in the veterans division. Adnan Gutic continued his reign of greatness winning first place in his weight class. Sam Coln fought some tough matches and showed significant improvement. Bryan Enlow returned to the mat and fought in the open weight category. Byron Helmrich broke out of his 1st place drought with a first place showing. Helmrich had the Throw of the Tournament executing a thunderous morote seoinage in the 1st place match. Phillip Vojta was the MVP of the Tournament. Vojta went undefeated on the day winning his division and the open category.

Tuesday Night Adult Classes

Derick Wellman

Tuesday Night Adult Classes are back 😮! YES!! Tuesday Night Adult Classes are back starting August 29, 2017! Want to learn good judo from a quality instructor? Yondan Derick Wellman is a national referee and one of the best instructors in the Saint Louis area. Whether you are a competitor, judo enthusiast or novice, you will learn from the best. Tuesday Adult class starts at 7 pm. There is plenty of room on the mat. Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity. Check out our website at www.whitedragonjudo.com. We will see you on the mat.