Board of Directors USJA Election Announcement

Results are in!

Congratulations to the five (5) newly elected Board Members who will officially take seat on October 15,
2021 joining Celita Schutz and Ed Rodriquez on the Board. Election Committee Chairman, Philippe
Morotti provided a report with the election results below as provided to him from the independent
election company, Association Elections.

USJA Board of Directors

October 3, 2021

Dear Board of Directors:

As you are all aware, the USJA Election for the five (5) open Board of Director seats opened on
September 15 and ended September 30, 2021. The voting process was conducted through Association
Elections, an online, third-party voting company to preserve voting integrity. Members had to be sure
that their profiles were up to date or verified as a Lifetime Member with their own unique email by the
deadline of September 8. Once the data was transferred, no one was allowed to vote who wasn’t on the
approved list. One ballot link went to each unique email.

The voting window was 16 days, ending at 11:59pm PST on Thursday, September 30, 2021. During this
period, a total of 887 ballots were cast and out of these, 887 eligible ballots were counted. There was a
total of seven notifications sent to members as follows: The initial notification on September 15, then
reminders to those who hadn’t voted on 9/18, 9/22, 9/25, 9/27, 9/29, and 9/30.

The new voting system was successful. The top six (6) candidates in the election were as follows:

  1. Andrew Connelly;
  2. Peter Mantel;
  3. John Borsch;
  4. Robert Reilly;
  5. Jessie Goldstein;
  6. Bonnie Korte

One of the requirements to serve as a Director for the USJA is that the individual must be a Member in
good standing. Unfortunately, an Ethics Complaint had been filed against Candidate, Jesse Goldstein, in
July, 2021, which resulted in a thorough investigation by the Standards and Ethics Committee and
ultimately recommending that he not hold a position of leadership for a probational period of two years.
As a direct result, in accordance with Article VII ( C ) (i), Mr. Goldstein is disqualified to serve as a
Director and his position will now be filled by the top sixth (6th) candidate, Bonnie Korte.

Please welcome and congratulate your complete 2021 Board of Directors:

  1. Celita Schutz;
  2. Ed Rodriguez;
  3. Andrew Connelly;
  4. Peter Mantel;
  5. John Borsch;
  6. Robert Reilly;
  7. Bonnie Korte

It has been an honor and my great pleasure to oversee the 2021 USJA Board election process.
I made it a point to remain unbiased in all conversations and dialogues between parties.
I can assure you that the election has been carried out with the utmost professionalism
and integrity by the independent voting company. It is my sincere hope that the newly elected
board members put their differences aside, and quickly move forward. We need to act in the best
interest of the USJA and in the future of Judo in the United States.

Philippe Morotti
USJA Election Chairman

Posted in Announcements, News

Letter from the Board of Directors – 09/29/21

Dear USJA Members,

The USJA’s mission is to promote judo within the United States by providing insured membership guidelines and resources to support judo development, provide participation opportunities and promote the positive character-building qualities that judo and martial arts bring to children and adults.

Many of you may have seen the request by Jessie Goldstein (candidate), Rob Riley (candidate), Jack Borsch (candidate), Andrew Connelly (candidate), Peter Mantel (candidate) and Herbert Clayton Bollinger for injunctive relief, filed against the USJA and board members, circulating on social media. This litigation asked the court to allow the plaintiffs to stop the current election and install them immediately as the Board of Directors BEFORE the election ends. A Court heard this request on Tuesday, Sept. 28 and denied it. The current election continues and ends Sept. 30 as scheduled.

Today, the Board of Directors shares the circumstances that led to this lawsuit.

  • In mid-2019, the USJA Board began discussions to stagger terms, so the organization is not left without anyone knowledgeable in leadership for service continuity.
  • In December 2019, the Board agreed and voted to stagger terms which resulted in three members remaining on the board. (These members were selected by the least amount of time on the Board.)
  • The Directors identified to carry over were Bob Rush, Ed Rodriquez and Celita Schutz. And four seats were to go up for election in 2021.
  • However, in April of 2021, Bob Rush resigned rather unexpectedly which is why there are five (5) seats open on the board in this election rather than four (4).
  • The nomination process was announced in the summer of 2020. At this time no one challenged the number of seats up for election or the method of nominating candidates that the Election Committee agreed to use. The method chosen by the Election Committee as the seeking of 100 signatures as required in the by-laws on a petition was impractical during Covid, was call-in nominations.
  • In May of 2021, issues to verify the integrity of mail in ballots arose. Discussion began to move to an online, third-party voting company to prevent tampering and fraud.
  • Challenges to the election process and number of people being elected began when the first female president of color in USJA history took office after the sudden resignation of former president, Bob Rush in April 2021. She had been Board Vice-President.
  • The Board recognizing that because of financial realities caused by COVID and the failure of the organization (prior to the current Board) to keep copies of member signatures when USJA went to keeping track of membership electronically that it was both impractical to run a mail in election and impossible to run a secure election based on signature comparison as a means of ensuring only eligible voters were voting and that the people claiming to be those voters were the actual people voting.
  • Because it was impossible to run a secure election under the by-laws, the Board amended the by-laws to permit for a third party to run an online election. Doing this cut costs and well as ensured a secure election in the best interest of the organization.
  • The alternate proposal by the lone dissenting Board member, Mr. Bollinger was:
  • Distribution of ballots directly to dojos to be circulated by the coaches,
  • Requirement that voters sign on the same page they were voting and no inner envelope and outer envelope for mailing thus denying voters privacy,
  • And no way to verify who was voting since a large percentage of the membership does not have signatures on file.
  • On July 17, 2021 bids for three election companies were reviewed and Association Elections was selected to conduct elections using unique private emails of eligible voters to deliver a secure tamper proof ballot. Announcement to the membership was made on July 23.
  • In an attempt to disrupt the election process, then counsel and Election Committee Chair, Michael Goldsmith, Esq filed a complaint on behalf the above candidates and Mr. Bollinger with the USJA Standards and Ethics Committee seeking to reverse the Board decisions regarding staggered terms and to require the Board to hold the election in the above-described insecure mail-in ballot manner which lacked privacy. The Standards and Ethics Committee supported using the election company and confirmed the 5 open seats for the Board.
  • Board member Bollinger, who has advocated strongly for the above insecure, not private mail-in ballot process, is an elected Mayor of his hometown. On August 6, he ordered the USJA office staff to send out the above-described paper ballots in violation of a majority Board vote and Standards and Ethics Committee decision.
  • On August 8, Mr. Goldsmith was relieved as USJA counsel and Election Committee Chair. Mr. Bollinger was suspended from the Board until further review for removal. Shortly thereafter, Philippe Morotti was appointed as new Election Committee Chair.
  • From August 12 to August 20, Ashlex denied access to our website and data base due to payment structure negotiations which delayed the rollout of the Election.
  • Unsuccessful at getting the elections run they way they wanted to and after apparently raising a sufficient amount of money from a Jim Bregman GoFundMe page misrepresenting what has been going on in the USJA, Jessie Goldstein (candidate), Rob Riley (candidate), Jack Borsch (candidate), Andrew Connelly (candidate), Peter Mantel (candidate) and Herbert Clayton Bollinger, filed a lawsuit to stop the election and be declared as the Board of Directors immediately through court-ordered injunctive relief.
  • On September 28, 2021, the Court denied their attempt to subvert the USJA election process.
  • Time was given to update emails in member profiles and/or register with USJA before the September 8 cut-off deadline for data to be exported to Association Elections from Ashlex, our data management company.
  • To date, nearly 1/3 of all eligible voters have voted!

Voters still have time to choose the leadership for our organization. The USJA Election ends tomorrow, September 30, 2021.

No matter who is chosen to lead our organization, it is the hope that all parties may unite
as one to continue USJA’s mission.

USJA Board of Directors

Posted in Uncategorized

August 2021 Promotion Board Committee News

USJA Judo ranks are a measure of a student’s achievement in Judo. They are a testimony of skill, knowledge, and sportsmanship, attained through diligent study, practice, tournament participation and devotion to Judo. Congratulations to the following:

Recent High Dan Promotions

Changa Clinton IngramYodanSOHK Judo Club
Robert G. GustafsonYodanWOFA Judo Club
Daniel KallaiYodanWOFA Judo Club
Thomas J. McNamaraYodanSamurai Judo Association
Alfred JacobsYodanSamurai Judo Association
Justin BreeseGodanBlack Bear Judo
Satoshi NakamaGodanRiverside Youth Judo Club P.A.L.
John A. GreenGodanZenbei Judo Team
Marshall R. CoffmanRokudanBudokan Judo Club
Hugo J. VillanuevaRokudanTremont Judo Club

What can I do to continue to evolve or advance in Judo? You can go through the various certification programs for Coaching, Refereeing, and Kata. Become certified instructors for those programs and hold clinics in your region. If possible, travel to the various camps and assist with teaching the classes. The National Committees are constantly looking for “active” volunteers. There is so much work to be done and most of it can be done right in your dojo or home. Get involved! Get your students involved!

Posted in Uncategorized

President’s Letter – 08/30/21

President’s Message
Celita Schutz

As a 3X Olympian, I know the hard work and support as well as the challenges one has to overcome to succeed. Running a national non-profit organization as large as the USJA is no different. To this end I would like to acknowledge the dedicated service of our outgoing Kosen Judo committee Chair Rhadi Ferguson who helped to establish the Kosen Judo Committee for the USJA and our outgoing Standards & Ethics Chair, David Lavelle (TN) and to welcome our new Standards & Ethics Committee Chair Rob Matrisciani (NY) as the committee’s new chair, along with new committee members Vicki L. Mahan (PA) and Bruce Bender (IN). Please also welcome Philippe Morotti (CA) as the new chair of the Election Committee and Michelman and Robinson, LLP as our new council. They have agreed to represent us pro bono.

As for the challenges, some may be aware that there has been a concerted effort by some, which has included misinformation and a smear campaign to undermine the integrity of USJA elections, as well the stability of the organization and to discredit hard working volunteers. I am glad to announce that while they may have succeeded in slowing us down, the elections will be happening in September, and their attacks on the organization have not stopped us from hosting a coach clinic, a couple of NTC open workouts, moving forward with nationals, and successfully negotiating a new insurance policies. (Our old insurer is getting out of the business of insuring combat sports.)


USJA is looking for a Chair for the Kosen Judo Committee. Please reach out to Celita Schutz or another Board member if interested.


With our website and election integrity issues solved, below is the timeframe for elections.

September 15, 2021 at Midnight – Online voting begins
September 8, 2021 at 11:59 pm – Members (17 years old or older) must be registered lifetime or annual members with a current, unique primary email listed on your USJA Member Profile.


September 15, 2021 – Association Elections will send an email containing an unique, single-use link to the USJA ballot (not reusable, not transferable or shareable).
September 30, 2021 at 11:59 pm – Online voting ends
Monday, October 4, 2021 – Results will be announced by the Election Committee


If you wish to donate to USJA, make sure you are donating directly to USJA. Unfortunately, some have been using our logo to fundraise for purposes other than the goals of our organization and without the consent of the organization. Beware because it is unclear where your funds will go.


Thank you for reaching out with your ideas, support, concerns, and questions. We will reply; however, please keep in mind Board members are volunteers with their own family and professional commitments, so our replies may not be instantaneous. Also, because of threats of litigation by those seeking to undermine the organization and its leadership, there are certain things which cannot be discussed.

As an alternate source of information in case there are issues with our website, we are launching a USJA NetNews landing page at Visitors will find up-to-date information and links to upcoming events and tournaments, USJA President’s letters, important club information, and voting instructions.

Thank-you to Doug Bedsaul (MS), Regional Coordinator Chair and Donna Turk (FL), Promotion Committee Chair for your help to forward information and communication during the period of time our website was down.

USJA/USJF Nationals – September 4-5, 2021 – Cape Coral Florida
• Saturday, September 4th: Kata, Seniors, Veterans, IJF Juniors, Juvenile, & Bantam 3
• Sunday, September 5th: Cadet, Intermediate, Bantam 1, Bantam 2 and Kosen Judo

Find Registration and Tournament details HERE

Supporting our Fellow Judoka and Martial Artists

With dojos open and competition in full swing, one effective way to support our fellow judoka and martial artists is to donate to USJA. Your donations will help us to continue to offer and provide the programs and resources to our membership, such as additional clinics, professional development for coaches, national training center sessions and support for athletes all over the country.

To make a donation directly to the USJA go to:

Summer National Training Sessions – Success!

This summer two national training center (NTC) sessions were held. They were attended by a total of 52 judoka from 6 dojos. Players from five different states gathered. Everyone enjoyed great workouts and made some new friends as well. Watch for the next date TBD.

Posted in Uncategorized

Quarterly Promotion Date Announcement

The next USJA Judo Rank & Certification call will take place in October. Promotion applications for Rokudan and above will be considered during this call.

This is not an automatic process. You must:

  • Be a current member of the USJA.
  • Have obtained the required age, time in grade, and promotion points for the rank being tested.
  • Have current Heads-Up, Safe Sport, Background Screen certifications.
  • Have all claimed USJA Certifications up to date and current.

To be considered you must submit the current version of the Request for Promotion (RFP) with appropriate signatures (electronic signatures are not valid), Activity Log, processing fee, Judo biography, photo (passport type), any supporting documentation, and the name and phone number for those high-ranking black belts that can speak on your behalf of your ongoing service and contributions to Judo.

Your promotion packet must be sent to the National Office by September 15, 2021 to be considered during the October call.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Donna C. Turk

Chair, USJA Promotion Board

Posted in Uncategorized

President’s Letter – 07/23/21

Dear USJA Members,

After a year of postponement, Olympic athletes are finally walking into the Tokyo Stadium for Opening Ceremonies tonight! The USJA is inclusive and welcomes our members in different martial arts both competitive and non-compitive but as a 3x Olympian (’96) (’00) (’04) and President of USJA, I would like to recognize our Judo Olympians in USJA. Thank-you for representing the United States and for being a part of our organization!

Jim Bregman, Bronze (’64)
Jessie Goldstien (’80 DNP),
Craig Agena (’84)
Steven Cohen (‘88)
Lynn Roethke, Silver (’88, ‘92)
Jason Morris, Silver (’88, ’92, ’96, ’00)
Eve Aronoff-Trivella, (’88)
Coleen Rosensteel (’92, ’96, ‘00)
Rhadi Ferguson (’04)

USJA officially wishes our 2020ne US Olympians and Paralympians all the best in their competitions after such a long road to get there. Go for the Gold!

As we all know, COVID, brought many challenges for our members, clubs, and USJA. It is great to see how many members have been able to return to judo as well as the return of judo competition. With things getting back to normal, USJA is pleased to announce more opportunities for judoka to get together and train and compete. The next two National Training Sessions for ages 13 yrs+ (intermediate and advanced players) will be held at Kokushikai Judo Academy, in Fair Lawn, NJ on July 30 and August 27. There is no fee for USJA members!

Players also have the opportunity to compete in our National tournament! Register now at for the USJA/USJF Nationals being held on September 4-5, 2021 in Cape Coral, Florida. Age and weight categories are offers for all ranks. This will be a USA judo point event for juniors and seniors. We want to thank co-directors, John Paccione and Michael Hall for working together to put this event on!

I would like to acknowledge the hard work of Tammy Hemingway, Mac Reagan, and Aniva Roman, who stepped up earlier this year to fill vacancies left on the USJA board. They and the rest of the board has put in countless hours of volunteer, unpaid service in order to ensure UJSA overcomes the negative impacts of COVID as well as is responsive to the needs and wished of its members. We are in the midst of renegotiating our insurance for our members as our main carrier no longer covers judo for any US organizations. A new carrier has been identified and we are working closely with our USJA insurance broker to provide continuous coverage and protection for our members.

Welcome to all of our new USJA Lifetime Members who joined over the July 4th event. Thank-you for your understanding for those of you who did not receive the information the first go around but were able to take advantage of the opportunity to join at a discounted rate!

The close of nominations for individuals seeking to run for one of the five open board positions is July 31st. I would like to commend the 27 people who currently are in the process of seeking to be nominated and the 12 individuals who have crossed the 100 mark of nominations as of today!

Due to our financial standing and efficiency of voting, the Board of Directors recently made the decision to provide an option in our Bylaws to choose online voting for elections instead of printing and mailing ballots which was deemed to be cost prohibitive. Electronic balloting is far cheaper than mailing out ballots, not to mention more environmentally friendly, convenient, and efficient. To preserve the integrity and confidence of online voting, the Board has reviewed bids of three different online companies and has chosen American Elections as our independent vendor at the cost of $500 to provide confidential, secure online voting for our organization. (They are the same vendor that has conducted elections for USA Judo as well.) Active USJA members, 17 years and older, will be sent a secure electronic ballot directly to their personal email on file in the USJA data base. Announcement of the voting timeline will be announced in coordination with our Treasurer, Tamara Hemingway and our Election Committee Chairperson, Michael Goldsmith and be posted on our website and social media. We are taking great effort to ensure that active members in the data base who are not tech savvy are contacted to be given the opportunity to update their information if there is no email on file for them. I want to personally ensure all of our members that the Board’s decision of 6-0 to use an independent elections vendor was done to address the many concerns you, our members, have raised about the elections being fair for everyone. It is wonderful that so many members are excited about our upcoming elections and we are looking forward to the professional service provided by American Elections.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Marshall Coffman on his recent promotion to Rokudan during the last USJA Promotion Committee meeting. Please contact Donna Turk, our Promotion Committee Chairperson for any promotion questions.

Celita Schutz
President, USJA

Posted in Uncategorized

USJA Presidents Letter

Dear USJA Members,

With so much happening since I became President, please excuse the length of this letter as I am communicating as much as possible and as often as possible to keep our membership abreast of our Organization’s activities. I am here to listen to you. The best way to reach me is through my email or leave a message at 646-784-2337 if I am not able to pick up immediately.

As promised, your Board is working swiftly to fill interim vacancies on the Board of Directors and key committees. We have now identified, nominated, and elected three new members to serve as interim Directors until October 15, 2021 when new Directors are elected. In the meantime, please welcome our interim members:

•Tamara (Tammy) Hemingway, New Jersey
•Mackel (Mac) Reagan, Tennessee
•Anibal(Aniva) Roman, Florida

Our new members are all dedicated to the art and sport of Judo. We are grateful to them for giving of their time and talent to USJA during this time. Welcome Aniva, Mac and Tammy!

In addition, this past week Brian Money agreed to be released from his duties as Chair of the S&E Committee. Brian is an asset to our USJA workforce, and his contributions are well recognized for his Inclusiveness Training for Special Needs and for his Riverside Youth Judo Clubbeing the largest PAL club in the USJA. We thank him for his dedicationand contributions on many levels and look forward to continued work with him in the future. Because of the crucial nature and time sensitivity of the work the S&ECommittee performs, I have identified a qualified candidate, Dave Lavelle of Tennessee to step in. With the Board’s unanimous vote of approval, he has been appointed the new Chairman of the USJA’s S&E Committee.

With a fuller Board of Directors, we are no longer working as a skeleton crew! We now have more hands-on deck to tackle one of our biggest challenges: bringing membership back to pre-covid levels. Prior to the lockdowns, membership was at about 8,000 members. It sank below 3000 by early 2021. This has caused a significant loss of the financial stability USJA once enjoyed, and combined with obstacles obtaining SBA grants or loans, it is impacting our ability to meet USJA’s immediate expenses.

To address this challenge, your Board is working diligently to bring membership back to pre-COVID levels – with measurable success! But we are not there yet, and we need your help.

As COVID restrictions are lifted around the country, our membership is once again on the rise. We just tipped over 4,000 members. This increase is critical to the survival of USJA. Thanks to you and your fellow dedicated USJA Life Members, Annual members, coachesand club owners we can together become strong again! If you are a coach or club owner, the most impactful thing you can do is continue to encourage your students to enroll or renew. To help you with that, we are running a USJA Membership Special. All new and renewed members who sign up before May 31 will receive 14 months of membership for the price of 12! Families – PLEASE NOTE – USJA offers family discounts of three or more, but they must be called in. The number to call is 516-366-3311.

As restrictions are lifted across the country, we want to pivot to re-opening key programs to our members, such as Coach Certification Seminars, Tournament Opportunities and the USJA National Training Center!

As a 3x US Judo Olympian and full-time owner of a large Judo Academy in New Jersey, I was honored when I was asked to organize and be the host of the first USJA National Training Center. The Grand Opening was in April of 2018 and once-a-month sessions were run for both Juniors and Seniors with as many as 10 participant clubs at any one time on the mat from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many competitors who attended on a regular basis saw success in regional, national, and international tournamentsand were thrilled for the additional workouts with more players from other clubs.

However, in 2019 some scheduling conflicts arose due to a car accident that I was involved in when another driver ranared light and t-boned the driver side of my car. The resulting hospital stay and injuries took me out of commission temporarily. Right after that, serious facility issues (floodingwhich required mitigation), forced us to put two practice sessions on hold until I could double up on the schedule and get the facility back up and running smoothly. Just as NTC were about to get back on the calendar, Covid hit, and everything changed.

Now over a year later, Covid restrictions being lifted, and the previous issues resolved, we are excited to announce that we will be rescheduling these two outstanding sessions still waiting to be held! Be on the lookout for new dates coming soon.

We know everyone has struggled to survive through the pandemic. If you are facing challenges of your own, I want to hear from you. If you have a success story to share and would like to volunteer to help, I want to hear from you. We are now looking at different ways that we as an organization can help, and I will be sharing more about our plans and ideas in the weeks to come.

Congratulations to USJA Club, Jason Morris Judo Center of East Glenville, NY for garnering the Senior Elite Team trophy and the Second Place Overall Team Trophy at the recent US Judo Senior Nationals in Reno, Nevada with an impressive showing of JMJC competitors!

Don’t forget that the Promotion Committee will be reviewing promotion applications for Rokudan and above on July 1, 2021. Candidate applications are to be submitted by June 1 for review. If anyone has any questions, please contact the USJA Promotion Committee Chairperson, Donna Turk at or 770-880-2274.

I also want to remind everyone that nominations for individuals to get on the ballot for our upcoming elections are due by July 31. The call-in number is: 838-800-8752. Please have your USJA active membership number and year of birth on hand for verification. We are happy that many individuals have tossed their name in the hat for the nomination process also bringing more members back into our Organization. Five seats on the Board of Directors will be up for election. Two seats will carry over to the middle of next term. I have been identified along with Director Ed Rodriquez in the seats that will carry over. I do not feel this is place for me to endorse individuals that I would like to personally continue to work within the next term and who I believe will work best for you. Please always verify information that you hear and please know that the Board is working with Michael Goldsmith, the Election Committee Chairperson, for clear voting procedures that will be posted in the Elections Committee section of the website very soon! Feel free to reach out to any of your Board members for information or questions you might have.

I want you to know that I and the current Board of Directors are working to make things more transparentand bring more benefits to all our valued members. At the end of the day, it is all about judo and what judo does to inspire character and goals in all our juniors, seniors, and veterans. It is the comradery of practicing together and challenging each other. We support our instructors and coaches to continue to provideand maintain the learning atmosphere for all USJA students. With the recent interim Board appointments, you have an outstanding team of individuals with a tremendous amount of high-level experience encompassing the art and sport of judo, as well as nonprofit management, law, marketing, and fundraising. Each of us pledges to put forth our best effort to build up the organization and leave our successors with a solid operating foundation.

Please keep your ideas and questions coming. My goal is to always ensure our organization works hard for you and for the great art and sport of judo. Greatness awaits!

With humble resolve,

Celita Schutz
3x USA Judo Olympian
USJA President

Upcoming USJA Events:
The Greatest Camp on Earth 2021 hosted by the Carolinas American Judo Association, June 24-26, 2021 in Matthews, NC.
USJA/USJF Nationals on September 4-5, 2021 in Cape Coral, Florida

Posted in News

Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act

Judo Entities, United States Judo Association, USA Judo, and US Judo Federation

Dear USA Judo, US Judo Association and US Judo Federation Members,

On behalf of the American Judo Alliance Presidents, we are contacting all of our members to request their urgent support of the Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act. This legislation would support dojos, gyms and clubs across the United States who have been decimated due to mandatory closures as a result of the COVID Pandemic.

If passed, the GYMS Act will create a $30 billion fund to provide grants to affected businesses in the health and fitness industry. The fund would cap initial grant amounts at 45% of the facility’s 2019 revenue—or $20 million, whichever is less. Health and fitness businesses considered severely impacted—with revenues of only 33% or less in the most recent quarter as compared to 2019—would be eligible for a supplemental grant, of up to 25% of their initial grant. The most an eligible business and its affiliates could receive is $25 million. A few expenses the grant would cover include:

  • payroll costs,
  • rent or mortgage payments, including interest,
  • utilities,
  • interest on debt accrued before February 15, 2020,
  • taxes,
  • payments required for insurance on any insurance policy,
  • costs required under any State, local, or Federal law or guideline related to social distancing,
  • and more.

The passing of this legislation would not only support small businesses throughout the United States, but it would also make a major impact on American dojos and the pipeline of amateur sport in our great nation. AJA Organizations earn most of their revenue from membership which comes from the many clubs and dojos we have throughout the United States. Without the survival of these dojos, not only will revenues for all be reduced, but the entire ecosystem to grow Judo will be severely impacted for years to come.

We request your support by contacting your US Congressional State Representatives in support of this bill. The following link makes it extremely easy for you to do so in 2-3 clicks:


Thank you for your attention and action toward this important matter.

Yours in AMERICAN Judo,



Posted in News

July USJA Judo Rank and Certification Call

May 18, 2021

The next USJA Judo Rank & Certification call will take place the first of July.  Promotion applications for Rokudan and above will be considered during this call.

This is not an automatic process. You must:

  • Be a current member of the USJA.
  • Have obtained the required age, time in grade, and promotion points for the rank being tested.
  • Have current Heads-Up, Safe Sport, Background Screen certifications.
  • Have all claimed USJA Certifications up to date and current.

To be considered you must submit the current version of the Request for Promotion (RFP) with appropriate signatures (electronic signatures are not valid), Activity Log, processing fee, Judo biography, photo (passport type), any supporting documentation, and the name and phone number for those high-ranking black belts that can speak on your behalf of your ongoing service and contributions to Judo.  

Your promotion packet must be sent to the National Office by June 1, 2021 to be considered during the July call. 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Donna C. Turk

Posted in Uncategorized

USJA Presidents Letter

Dear USJA Members,

As promised in my April letter to members, I want to provide an update on progress made, and share some important information from the Board of Directors.

First, I want to congratulate Shoshinkan Martial Arts, the host of the Kosen Judo Tournament – USJA’s first sanctioned tournament since the start of the pandemic. Held in Las Vegas on May 1 in Shoshikan’s new, and much larger dojo, it was attended by about 130 competitors.

Also on May 1, 2021, USJA also held a Flash Membership Sale, as part of our efforts to rebuild our membership, which took a big hit during the pandemic. Welcome new USJA Members!

Shoshinkan dojo has already set a date for next Kosen Judo Tournament. Mark your calendars for March 22, 2022!

Next, and in response to the ideas and concerns of our membership, your Board of Directors has been working overtime with executive session meetings over the last two weeks to address key vacancies on the Board and some of the challenges we face in filling those vacancies.

The biggest challenge a nonprofit Board faces is finding candidates with skill sets that support the organization’s strategies and goals. For USJA this challenge has been compounded by a global pandemic and resulting lockdowns and closures that reduced our membership by more than 50% in 2020.

Why does this matter? Because by USJA bylaws, a Board candidate would have to be a member of USJA for no less than five consecutive years prior to election or appointment and that means more than 50% of our potential, well-qualified prospective Board candidates would be ineligible.

To address this issue, Board members have met over a proposed “Pandemic Clause” amendment to Article VII(C)(ii) of our bylaws that eliminates this obstacle, and any future declared global pandemic or other force majeure. Specifically, it provides that this requirement will not be in effect until the declared pandemic has been declared overand pertains to temporary Board appointments only.

This amendment was taken up by the Board earlier last week and was passed unanimously by a quorum of Board members. (See Amendment as proposed and passed in the Executive Session meeting minutes that will be posted on our website.)

The Board is also in agreement that we are better represented with a fuller Board to include more discussion on important issues at this time. This does not interfere with our upcoming elections but does help us resolve open issues with more representation so that we can continue to work for you. I emphasize that these appointments are temporaryand expire on the day the newly elected Board members take office later this year in October and it has been agreed that none of the interim Directors will be eligible for election on this year’s ballot. This solution is a means of spreading the work involved, adding experience and expertise during this pandemic crisis for the best of our Organization.

We are also working with counsel for clarifications on election procedure and with our Office to securely provide online voting for our Members. Please look for the Board approved announcement that will be coming out soon from our Election Committee.

On a Member news note, the Board gives condolences to the family and friends of one of Louis Balestrieri’s students (George Cabrera, Jr.) of Montgomery Judo Academy who recently passed. In support of Montgomery Judo Academy’s symbolic Shodan that was presented to George in his final days; the Board approved sending a posthumous Honorary Shodan certificate to Louis in George’s name from the USJA.

Thank you to all Lifetime Members and all renewed and new Members. Your support keeps Judo strong. Please keep your ideas and questions coming. As I said, my goal is to ensure our organization works hard for you and for the great art and sport of judo. Greatness awaits!

With humble resolve,
Celita Schutz
3x USA Judo Olympian
USJA President

Upcoming USJA Events:

  • The Greatest Camp on Earth 2021 hosted by the Carolinas American Judo Association, June 24-26, 2021 in Matthews, NC.
  • USJA/USJF Nationals on September 4-5, 2021 (tentative date) in Cape Coral, Florida
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