Triad Positioning Statement

Triad Positioning Statement – August 16, 2010

Jointly issued by Gary Goltz, President USJA, Neil Simon, President USJF, and Lance Nading, President USA Judo:

We, the three Presidents, have come to a preliminary conclusion based on the following summation:

History of US Judo post WWII

The “Beikoku Judo Yudanshakai” was established in 1952 as the first singular national judo organization in theUnited States.  In 1953 it became the “Amateur Judo Association,” which often referred to itself as the “National Yudanshakai.”  In 1955, the organization was renamed “Judo Black Belt Federation of the USA (JBBF).”  In 1963, the JBBF adopted the use of “United States Judo Federation” in the conducting of its business. The formal renaming of the organization to “United States Judo Federation” (USJF) was approved in 1969.  In that same year, the Armed Forces Judo Association (which started as the Air Force Judo Yudanshakai in the JBBF) left to form a separate organization called the United States Judo Association (USJA) to better meet the unique needs of its membership.  In 1979, due to the establishment of the Amateur Sports Act, the fact that AAU ceased to be the National Governing Body (NGB) of every sport, and the existence of two major organizations promoting Judo, USJF and USJA agreed to create a third organization known as USJI (USA Judo).

Simply stated, in the past, each of the three organizations operated independently.   The main focus of USA Judo was to promote and develop elite international level competitors while USJA and USJF focused on different market segments of judo grassroots development.  We all operated in this fashion until approximately 2002, at which point USA Judo was informed by the USOC that their operational model was not yielding the results required to continued their USOC partnership and financial support.  Specifically the USOC officials stated that USA Judo’s existing structure did not yield sufficient growth in membership, media exposure, and medal performance, nor adequate financial benefits. In order to sustain the existing USOC / USA Judo relationship, a refocus of USA Judo’s goals and objectives had to be established.  Further, those redefined goals and objectives would be evaluated on an annual basis and would affect the ability of USA Judo to meet its above mentioned USOC markers.  In fact, one of the primary mandates was, and continues to be, USA Judo’s winning of medals in the Olympic Games.

In 2003, United States Senators Ben Nighthorse Campbell, John McCain, and Ted Stevens led a congressional hearing regarding the effectiveness of the governance structure of the USOC.  That led to a streamlining of the USOC board and the NGB’s.  There was a trickle-down effect which led the USOC to hire a professional consultant, Mr. Dale Newberger, who studied USA Judo’s structure and governance in late 2005. He presented a document that outlined the best business practices, which USA Judo adopted.  These included changing the size of its board, revising its bylaws, etc. The Newberger study also stated that USA Judo, like other NGBs, needed to go from a “volunteer” driven organization to a “paid staff” driven organization, where volunteers would define the vision and mission and the paid staff would design and implement the objectives and milestones required to achieve the results.

In 2004 USA Judo met its markers however USOC informed USA Judo and said that the markers would change significantly in 2005. They stated that they were significantly raising the bar going forward.  In response to the newly established position in 2006, USOC and USA Judo leadership created a new governance structure based on the “strongly recommended” USOC model.  The bottom line was the adoption of a new governance structure.  Under that model, the USOC clearly stated a comprehensive list of goals and objectives including winning medals, growth in membership, revenue, international performance, grassroots efforts, coach and referee development, and media exposure that needed to be achieved in order to avoid a loss of funding.  The new governance structure allowed for:

  1. Clarity of USA Judo’s accountability alone for the USOC markers.
  2. The ability to react quickly to situational needs of USA Judo in order to preserve and build upon the previously threatened USOC relationship.
  3. Significant changes in the previous “slate voting” approach, which was a feature of the previous constitution and by-laws, to an “individual position/constituent based model” with a feature of staggered terms.

Current Situation

Due to the inability of judo in the United States to grow, the Presidents of the three major U.S. judo organizations have come together to address significant issues with a goal of creating a common cause that all three organizations can subscribe to and support.

We recognize that:

1)   There are approximately 330 million people in theUnited States.

2)   People generally seek activities in their “free” time to fulfill their desires for personal growth, development, and recreation.

3)   Overall, a significant segment of the United States population is interested in:

a)     Health-related activities – mind/body/spirit

b)     Self-defense

c)     Sport-related activities that are perceived as fun and recreational 

d)     Accomplishment and fulfillment of personal goals, improving self discipline, and self confidence

e)     Character development, particularly for children and teenagers

4)   There are several alternative recreational and sports opportunities from which people can choose.  Competition among these activities for participants’ time and resources can be intense.

As a result of the factors listed above we propose the following as areas of critical, mutual judo interest:

1)    Our organizations need to emphasize and develop a “menu” (i.e., kata, self defense, physical fitness, recreational judo) of judo participation opportunities and activities in addition to competitive judo.

2)   Our organizations need to be better equipped to meet the needs of the general populations for the “professional” teaching of recreational judo.

3)   We need to better teach the founding principles of judo.

4)   We need to help participants fulfill themselves by taking advantage of judo’s development (pedagogical) system.

5)   Each organization needs to consider its structure and determine the role of volunteers versus “paid professional staff” with the aim of achieving financial strength and high membership respect.

6)   Each organization needs to culturally transition from a “survival of the fittest” competitive judo mentality to one that embraces personal development, goal fulfillment, and inclusion.

7)   We need to jointly gain media exposure within the US population in spite of the anticipated reduction of the number of US Olympic Judo competitor spots, due to changes in the IJF selection process.


Based upon the above, we have identified the following strategic goals:

1)   Grow the United States Judo population (this means more new feet on all judo mats) from sources outside our organizations.

2)    Develop strategies aimed at improving the quality of judo in theUnited States.


1)    Each organization’s resources are stronger working together than working individually.

2)    Without significant change, we risk extinction as a recognized US sport/activity.

3)    All three organizations’ goals and desired outcomes are similar enough to open opportunities to work together for the overall growth and improvement of judo in theUnited States.

4)    All three organizations must work together, “shoulder to shoulder,” in pursuing growth in all areas of judo; the only exception to this is USA Judo’s legislated Olympic and International mission, which USJA and USJF can support.

6)    All three organizations need to embrace a model that emphasizes all aspects of judo and focuses on fulfillment of participant goals and objectives.

7)   The leadership of each of the three organizations needs to create a significant change in perception for its membership (paradigm shift) from the previous organizational “competitive model” to one of “cooperation and collaboration.”

8)   The leadership of all three of our organizations need to build a sustainable inter-organizational foundation that enhances long-term judo growth and development and allows for success of all three organizations.

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