It’s here! The new USJA Judo Technical Manual and Study Guide with Senior Rank Promotion System

USJA Senior Manual 9-14 1

It’s been three years in the making and the new USJA Judo Technical Manual and Study Guide with Senior Rank Promotion System, is now complete. The new Guide has gone through multiple versions, re-writes and editing and has been unanimously approved by your Board of Directors and the USJA Promotion Board.

The new Guide has a completely updated promotion system that will look familiar but has fundamental changes that every senior member needs to know about and every member needs for their upcoming senior promotions.  There are changes in testing standards and test content as well as time in grade requirements with reduced TIG for those who are extremely active with our organization.

USJA Senior Manual 9-14 2

The new Guide is a departure from the manual that we have used for nearly four decades.  It has a new cover, the paper is a thick coated stock enclosed in a soft permanent binding that is 3-hole punched for use in standard 3-ring binder. This is so when updated pages are created, they can be downloaded from our website and simply inserted into your new Guide.

We anticipate adding a new Junior Guide & Manual in the near future and so both of the books can be neatly stored together in a single 3-ring binder.

The revised promotion system will become permanent on April 1, 2015 and until that time; the current system will still be accepted.  After April 1, 2015, the old system will no longer be accepted for senior promotions and will be returned to the member for re-processing.  A new Request for Promotion (RFP) form has been added to the Downloads Page of the USJA website.  All new Senior Promotion, Validation and Rank Examiner forms  which strictly conform to revised and updated system are also listed below for your convenience.

USJA Senior Manual 9-14 3

Certified Rank Examiners (CRE) of all levels will be expected to obtain a copy of the new Guide and familiarize themselves with every aspect.  Each Certified Rank Examiner will then asked to update their certification with the purchase the manual.  Please refer to this notice from the Promotion Board for more specific details on the updated CRE Certification Program.

We have arranged for book to be digitally printed on demand and sent to the member that requests it directly by the printer and for that reason; the USJA will not incur inventory charges.  All orders will take an extra few days to ship from the printer and so you should anticipate a longer period to receive the books ordered on the print on demand schedule.

Order your copy from our on line store or by calling the USJA office today.  The regular price is $50.00 which includes shipping, thanks.

Key Links to New USJA Forms:

USJA Board of Directors                              USJA Promotion Board:

Gary Goltz, President                                         Ernie Smith, Chairman

Marc Cohen, Vice President                                Walter Dean, Vice Chair

John Paccione, Treasurer                                   Gary Monto, Secretary

Dave Goodwin, Secretary                                   Dr. Ronald Allan Charles

Sparky Bollinger, Director                                  Raymond Conte

Michelle Holtze, Director                                    Jesse Goldstein

Brian Money, Director                                        Sanders Ishisaka

———————–                                                  Lynn Roethke

Download a copy of this announcement

USJA Rank & Promotion System Overview

We are pleased to announce that the USJA Board of Directors has decided to kick start the new year by offering our Life Membership which normally sells for $400 for $250. This will include our newly released highly sought after USJA Judo Technical Manual and Study Guide with Senior Rank Promotion System which sells for $50 with shipping.

The offer will be valid till March 31st of this year.

We have also just approved these additional ongoing membership incentives:

  • $35.00 per year Annual Membership Fee for Active Duty Military and Reservist / Guardsmen on Active Duty for Operational Support
  •  A Multi-Year Annual Membership Discount of:
    • 2 year 10% off (2nd year $95) = $95
    • 3 year 10% off (2nd 15% off 3rd $137) = $137
    • 4 year 10% off (2nd 15% off 3rd 20% off 4th) = $177
  • A SLM (Sustaining Life Membership) Multi-Year Discount of:
    • 2 Year $57
    • 3 Year $82
    • 4 year $105

These incentives as well as the Life Membership Special are all effective immediately.

Thank you for your continue support!

Download our Latest Membership Form

The USJA Board of Directors (BoD) would like to advise our members of actions that took place this past week.

Following the resignation of one our office staff it became apparent there was a huge backlog in processing registrations, promotions, sanctions, etc. To this end the BoD decided to do a site visit and evaluate the status of the office as well as lend a hand catching things up.

Upon arrival it became obvious that the Office Manager was going to resist any help offered regardless of the overwhelming backlog. By refusing to cooperate even to open access to the USJA property for the BoD, there was little choice but to terminate him for insubordination. Because it was impossible to discuss these serious issues with Executive Director who had refused to return from vacation without a five year employment contract, she was also terminated.

Several members of the BoD remained at the National Office in Florida the rest of the week  including the President, a computer expert, as well as numerous volunteers that immediately stepped in to help learning and supporting the smooth running of the office.  While often changes are regrettable, the planned recovery resulted in catching the office up on its two month backlog.

Be assured your BoD are dedicated to all USJA clubs and members.  Any changes that might be under consideration will be well thought out and will only be implemented in the best interest of the Association.

We advise everyone that the USJA remains strong and dedicated to judo and our membership. There should be little in the way of any major negative impact. We will keep everyone posted with updates on our plans and on any further developments, thanks.

If you need more information rather than listening to rumors and gossip, please contact any member of our BoD who are all here to serve your best interests.

Respectfully and officially submitted,

USJA Board of Directors

Click here to download a copy of this annoucement

The relationship of judo and its place in a school based setting can be traced back to the founder, Jigoro Kano. Since that time, there have been school based judo classes in America and around the world. The USJA is going to revisit the role of judo in America’s elementary, middle and high schools. With this in mind, the USJA is pleased to announce the formation of the USJA Scholastic Judo Committee.

The purpose of this committee is two-fold. First, to examine the role of judo in the lives of school aged children and teens. Areas to be examined include recruitment and retention, individual learning styles, instructional methods, the role of the family, and external variables that impact student interest. Secondly, the committee will examine the process of developing partnerships with elementary, middle and high schools with suggestions for implementing judo in local schools in the spirit of “mutual welfare and benefit”. This will include a review of curricula, certification, funding, liability, mats, intramural leagues and in-service training.

Deliverables include a position paper with policy recommendations for review by the USJA Board of Directors. The work of the committee during the first year will be primarily by telephone and email.

Experience has shown us that kids that are in judo are better students, have better attendance, fewer encounters with law enforcement, less of a likelihood to be involved with substance abuse or bullying. This is not an accident. The values and behaviors we help kids with are referred to as “protective factors that promote resilience”, by researchers.

Call for Committee Members:

Raymond Conte of the St. Mary’s institute Judo Club in New York has agreed to serve as Chair. He brings many years of Administrative experience in children’s judo and continues to teach children, including his own grandchildren, in a school based setting.

We are actively seeking qualified black belt volunteers with current or prior experience teaching judo to children grades K-12 in a public, private or parochial school. We are also seeking black belts that are currently employed as school teachers in schools where judo is not currently available.

If you have experience in either or both of these areas, and would like to help kids, please contact Raymond Conte, Committee Chair at, thanks.

The USJA recognizes that there are many different reasons that people run Judo programs. Just like there is a need and place for those who want to run community based programs there is also a need for full-time, professional judo instructors who run commercial, for-profit judo programs. With this in mind the USJA is pleased to announce the formation of the Professional Judo Committee.

The mission of the Professional Judo Committee is to gather, create, and distribute information and resources that are beneficial to those individuals wanting to open new schools or transition existing programs into full-time, paying, commercial martial arts schools. Members of the Professional Judo Committee are individuals with a proven track record of managing professional, for-profit schools. These individuals share resources and ideas that have proven successful in their own schools and are available for seminars and small group training sessions with you and your assistant instructors for a nominal fee.

Call for Committee Members:

We are actively seeking qualified volunteers to serve on this committee.

The criteria is as follows:

  1. Should be Active USJA Club Leaders (Black Belt Level) who currently run a successful for -profit judo program.
  2. Must be willing to share their thoughts, ideas and strategies with other coaches in the interest of helping to grow Judo in the US.
  3. Must be willing to provide seminars/small group training to interested coaches in their region.

If you think you have what it takes and are willing to play an active role in the formation of this new Committee please respond to this message with some basic info on yourself and your school/program, thanks.

Please e-mail replies to:

James Wall



The recent tragic loss of two NYPD officers brings to mind the danger that is ever present in our society.  The USJA has a long history of supporting and honoring the men and women who serve our great nation and its communities.  Many of our members and clubs are associated with law enforcement through community programs and charitable non-profit Police Activities Leagues.  

Please keep our nation’s law enforcement officers in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to protect our communities with their lives – and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.


We are sad to announce that Yoshisada Yonezuka, 9th Dan passed away on late Saturday afternoon, October 18, 2014.

Yoshisada Yonezuka ‘Yone’ was born May 19, 1937 in Nakasato, Aomori, Japan.  He began to train in sumo and judo in 1954, becoming the Northern Japan High School Champion in 1955.   Yonezuka entered Nihon University in 1956. After defeating nine 2nd degree black belts in succession at the Kodokan, he received a special promotion to 3rd degree black belt. He also began studying several styles of karate; shorinji-kempo, wado ryu, and shito-ryu.  In 1959, he was a member of his university team winning the team championship.  In 1956 he graduated Nihon University with a degree in business.

Following his childhood dream he came to the United States and began teaching judo at West Point Military Academy. In 1960 he moved to  the United States.  In 1962, Yonezuka founded the Cranford Judo Karate Center. He was also the founding coach of the Judo program at New  Jersey Institute of Technology (then known as Newark College of Engineering) during the mid-60s. Additionally, he served as an instructor  at the Jerome Mackey Judo Schools.  Yonezuka was twice chosen to serve as head coach of the United States at the Olympics Judo Team, and  he coached three U.S. World Judo Championships Teams as well.  He is also founder, former President and current Executive Director of the  U.S. Sumo Federation. He was awarded the Kudan which is the Ninth Degree in judo in 2007. He also held an 8th Degree Black Belt in Karate  and is 5th Black Belt in Sumo.

Earlier this year he was diagnosed of Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) the same diagnosis as Robin Roberts of Good Morning America.   MDS are a group of diseases that affect the bone marrow and blood. In MDS, the blood-forming cells in the marrow slow down, or even stop, making the three types of blood cells. Most patients with MDS will develop anemia (low numbers of red blood cells) and may need blood transfusions.

Our heartfelt condolences go out his family, friends, and judo students. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Yoshisada Yonezuka Memorial Fund, 107 South Ave., Cranford, N.J. 07016.

Painting by Andor P-Jobb 

In an effort to expand the pool of referees and develop an interest at an early age we are pleased to announce the following updates to our program which have recently been approved by the USJA’s Board of Directors

Club Referee: Learns to referee in the dojo and at club events, under the supervision of a club instructor and/or a certified referee (Regional/National/International). No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age is 10 years. USJA certification is optional. Certification requires written test, practical test and fee ($30 or as specified) payable to USJA.

Club Referees under the age of 17 shall be always be under the supervision of at least one certified Regional, National or International referee.

Any Club Referee 10-16 years of age can referee within his/her own age group (i.e., a 10-12 year old Club Referee can referee 12 year old & under division matches; a 13-16 year old Club Referee can referee 16 year old and under division matches). Club Referees 17 years and older can referee all age/rank division matches, also under the supervision described above.

Certification as a Club Referee, if obtained, or approval of the head Instructor and a certified referee (Regional/National/International), allows a Club Referee to begin officiating and training as a Junior/Novice Referee at Local and Regional tournaments and scrimmages at the Junior Referee minimum age of 10. (Novice Referee designation refers to age 17 and older.)

Junior/Novice Referee: Referees at Local & Regional tournaments and scrimmages. No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age is 10 years for Junior Referee. USJA certification is optional. Certification requires written test, practical test and fee ($30 or as specified) payable to USJA.

Any Junior Referee (10-16 years of age) can referee within his/her own age group (i.e., a 10-12 year Junior Referee can referee 12 year old & under division matches; a 13-16 year old Junior Referee can referee 16 year old and under division matches). Junior/Novice Referees shall officiate under the supervision of certified Regional, National and/or International referees. Novice Referees 17 years and older can referee all age/rank division matches, also under the supervision of certified Regional, National and/or International referees.

The head referee on each mat (Jury) shall be responsible to ensure that a Junior/Novice Referee works on a team (team = referee + 2 judges) with certified (Regional/National/International) referees. At the discretion of the Jury and/or Chief Referee, a Junior Referee may be allowed to officiate matches in the next higher age group (i.e., a 10-12 year old Junior Referee may referee 16 year old and under division matches; a 13-16 year old Junior Referee may referee division matches of any age or rank) if that individual demonstrates the maturity and ability to do so to the Jury, based on that day’s performance.

Local Referee: Referees at local and regional tournaments and scrimmages. Certification required (written and practical test, fee ($30 or as specified) payable to USJA). No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age of 12 years.

The head referee on each mat (Jury) shall be responsible to ensure that a Local Referee under the age of 17 works on a team (team = referee + 2 judges) with certified (Regional/National/International) referees. A local referee 12-16 years of age requires approval (and supervision) of Jury and/or Chief Referee to officiate in 17 year and older division matches).

Regional Referee: Referees at local, regional and state tournaments and scrimmages. No change to current minimum age of 15. No minimum rank requirement. A Regional Referee can referee all age/rank divisions. Certification required (written and practical test, fee ($30 or as specified) payable to USJA).

General Requirement: All youth referees (under the age of 17) referenced above shall be accompanied on the mat by judges who are certified Regional, National or international referees, and shall be supervised by national or international Jury (head referee on the mat) at all tournaments and scrimmages.  

The youth referee’s authority shall be limited to conducting and scoring the match.  All decisions affecting the safety of the competitors shall be the responsibility of the adult oversight (certified judges and Jury).

This is from Nikki Jones, Jesse’s daughter –

The Memorial Service for Jesse Jones will be held at 3:00 PM Sunday August 17th 2014 at The Bridge Church 38801 Calistoga Dr. in Murrieta, California.

This is a change of date as originally announced…

It is with great sadness we announced that Jesse Jones, 9th dan and former USJA President passed away yesterday in his sleep at home in Murrieta, California.  He was 77 years old and served proudly in the US Marine Corps.  Jesse had just completed a big weekend of judo, the sport he loved the most, winding up the final details of another successful the California State Games

As the Sensei and founder of Unidos Judo, a top 10 USJA club, Jesse initiated and implemented judo programs at Southwestern College and several schools in the San Diego area.  He has trained and inspired thousands of judoka over his 55 years in judo.  Most recently, Jesse was honored when he received the USJA’s Coach of the Year Award for 2013, last February.

Funeral arrangements are pending, but at last word it will be held on August 9 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Temecula, California.  More details will be forthcoming.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jesse’s family and his students at this time.  The American Judo Community has lost a wonderful, kind leader and gentleman who will be missed by many.  For me personally, he was both a close friend and a trusted adviser who navigated our organization back to life from the brink of bankruptcy.

Thanks Jesse and rest in peace.

Gary Goltz, USJA President

Link to a video of the service

Link to photos from the service

The tournament held in Hawaii this past weekend was a rousing success with nearly 1,100 competitors.   This year marked the first time Senior and Masters were included. It was the third and final day of judo action at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena. Gary Goltz, President of the USJA, stated “we are considering renaming this tournament the Grassroots Judo™ Summer Nationals to bookend the well-established Grassroots Judo™ Winter Nationals now in its 9th year” to be held in Greater Los Angeles on December 6, 2014.  The idea to add seniors and masters to this junior event was the originated by American Judo legend, Hayward Nishioka.  The senior division included judoka ages 18 to 29, while masters competition included those aged 30-and over.

The complete results of the Hawaii Nationals can be found at:

Future Grassroots Judo™ Summer Nationals will be held in Indianapolis (2015), Los Angeles, CA (2016) and Palm Beach, FL (2017). For more information please go to

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