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.

Summer Friendship Tournament II 2017

It was record participation and attendance at the second Friendship Tournament of the summer. The Konjo Dojo hosted this event that took place on August 12, 2017. Sensei Derick Wellman officiated this event. More dojos were represented at this tournament. The juniors got the opportunity to know what it like to compete. The junior judokas showed significant improvement at this event. They displayed improved technique, great sportmanship and a renewed confidence. These tournaments are getting larger and the classes are getting bigger. The classes are filling up but there is always plenty of room. Come and join us on the mat. Contact us and check out the website at www.whitedragonjudo.com.

Promotion Night July 31, 2017

Promotion Night 07312017 (1)This month’s promotion night featured the best young judokas White Dragon Judo Club has to offer. Both judokas possess superior athleticism and an improved technical proficiency in the martial art. With 7th dan Randy Pierce and Derick Wellman presiding, Sam Coln was promoted to Sankyu (first degree brown belt) and Phillip Vojta was promoted to Nikkyu (second degree brown belt). Sam Coln started judo in 2014 with his sister. Sam Promotion Night 07312017 (7)showed a lot of tenacity and determination throughout his judo journey. It has helped him learn a lot of judo in a short period of time. Sam is one of White Dragon’s most fierce competitors. Making the commute from Rolla, Missouri, Phillip Vojta did not let distance keep him from reaching his goals. It was not unusual to see him practice after judo practice. His attitude has made him a formidable competitor to some of the best judokas in the country. Phillip will be attending Saint Louis University this year and will continue his study of judo at White Dragon Judo Club. There is no limit to the achievements that these two judokas can make in judo and in life.

USJF National Kata Conference 2017

2017 USJF National Kata Conference 2Members of White Dragon Judo Club attended the 2017 National Kata Conference on July 26-30, 2017. The event took place at the James J. Eagan Center in Florissant, Missouri. The conference, hosted by Eiko Shepherd and Kitokan Judo Club, attracted judo practitioners from all over the country. Judo kata or forms are pre arranged patterns that 2017 USJF National Kata Conferenceillustrate the basic principles of judo. The forms demonstrate the proper execution of a technique and emphasizes the philosophical views upon which judo is based. Derick Wellman has been practicing judo kata for over thirty years now. His strong attention to detail has helped him prosper in this area of the martial art. Sensei Derick has achieved local certification for Nage no kata. His team took 4th place at the 2011 US Judo National Championships and bronze at the 2012 US Judo National Championships. White Dragon Judo Club teaches kata to all of its judo practitioners. Judo kata is a beautiful display of what judo is all about.

Neil Adams Judo Clinic

2017 Neil Adams Judo Clinic (1)The Neil Adams Judo Clinic took place at the Wahadachi Judo Club in Milwakee, Wisconsin on July 22-23, 2017. Members of White Dragon Judo Club attended this 4 sessions, 2 day rare sold out event. Neil Adams is and has been the voice of international judo. The legendary 8th dan has an extensive judo resume. Adams is a 2 time Olympic silver medalist, world judo champion and a 5 time European Judo Champion. He has authored or co authored numerous books on judo and has coached all over the world. Currently he is the owner of Neil Adams Effective Fighting. During the judo sessions, Neil Adams explained the importance of proper uchikomi practice. He emphasized good technique. He showed throws like tai otoshi, kouchigari and ouchigari. Adams also talked about the importance of practicing newaza. The hachidan demonstrated the basics of juji gatame. It was a awesome experience to learn from one of the best judokas in the world.