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2018 Midwest Collegiate Judo Championships

The Savoy Recreation Center in Savoy, Illinois was the site for the 2018 Midwest Collegiate Judo Championships on February 10, 2018. Derick Wellman, Jay Baker and the legendary 7th dan Randy Pierce officiated the tournament. Bryan Enlow was the designated player/coach for Team White Dragon. In the team competition, Team White Dragon represented the state of Missouri. The 5 man squad got off to tremendous start but was eliminated in the first round. Derek Clardy made his second appearance at this tournament. He ended the day 4-2 winning silver in his weight class. Byron Helmrich had his work cut out for him in his category. Byron managed to win some critical matches on his way to a bronze medal. The veteran Demonn Smith hit a thunderous drop seoinage in his bronze medal match. He ended the day at 3-2. Phillip Vojta took the MVP honors by scoring gold in his weight class. Vojta went undefeated in a stacked middleweight category. His showing was highlighted by a beautiful osotogari to the corner.

2018 Wahadachi and WJI State Judo Championships

The 2018 Wahadachi and WJI State Judo Championships took place at Milwaukee Lutheran High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 28, 2018. The event was officiated by the legendary 7th dan Randy Pierce and 4th dan Derick Wellman. Manareldeen Fajors represented Team White Dragon and took his division by storm. In his gold medal match he executed a good takedown into a splendid hadaka jime. He won the match by submission. M. Fajors went 3-0 on the day winning his second consecutive gold medal of the year. Photo courtesy of David Malek.

Winter Friendship Tournament 2018

Joplin Judo and Jiujitsu hosted the first Friendship Tournament of the year on Saturday, January 27, 2018. Members of White Dragon Judo Club participated in this dojo’s first Friendship Tournament. Owner, Amber Jones, was the tournament director and head referee for this tournament. Joplin, Missouri has a big and growing judo community. There are 2 judo dojos in this town. The attendance was solid despite the inclement weather. The tournament consisted mainly of junior judo students. For most of them this was their first exposure to shiai tournament play. The students performed well and had a lot of fun. THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. After the tournament, there was a ton of exhibition matches for these kids had a lot of energy. Some students stayed around to practice more with members of White Dragon Judo Club. Overall, the junior judokas displayed a humble yet eager, hungry spirit that will make you successful in the martial art of judo.

2018 Holiday Party

This years 2018 White Dragon Holiday Party took place on Saturday, January 20, 2018. It was huge turnout of families and a lot, I mean A LOT OF KIDS. Members of White Dragon Judo Club, young and old had an great time catching up on old times and taking advantage of the buffet of food that the party provides each year. 2017 was a great year for the club as it has completed its 14th year of operation. White Dragon Judo Club is one of very few independently owned dojos in the state of Missouri. Junior judoka Manareldeen Fajor had a breakout year scoring gold in a majority of the tournaments he competed in. A clan of junior judokas Isabella, Mark and Edward Ter-Hovhannisyan made their White Dragon Judo Club debuts at the Gateway Judo Championships and showed they are the future for White Dragon Judo ClubPhillip Vojta’s skills is on the rise. He finished the year strong with a gold medal streak going into 2018. Jay Baker quietly dominated his weight class. Newcomer Derek Clardy made some gains but there is much to learn for the senior judoka. The Veterans division saw Dan Raney become the 2017 AAU Freestyle Judo National Championship. David Burke became head coach of TEAM WHITE DRAGON and the results were nothing short of spectacular. 2017 Instructor of the Year, Anthony Weeks took control of the junior classes and participation has increased significantly. White Dragon Judo Club acquired a loyal sponsor in Amore Pizza. The 7th Annual Gateway Invitational Judo Championships was super competitive and is looking to attract more competitors next year. Owner, Derick Wellman continues to build the dojo into one of the best in Saint Louis, Missouri. He is regarded as one the best national judo referees in the region. 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 2018 from White Dragon Judo Club! We will see you on the mat.

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. [youtube]PLS0tUY_y6CqRu-DnNLvLxR8URNNr7bGym[/youtube] 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.