Location: Penfield, NY
Founder/Owner: Heiko Rommelmann Jr
Interview by Hannah Martin
Bushido Kai Judo, Inc. has been around in one form or another since 1978. The club is run by chief instructor Heiko Rommelmann Jr. with the help of main instructors Jeff Giunta and Jeff Bradway. The club also has numerous black belts that also help coach. Bushido Kai Judo Inc. is the 6th largest USJA club with one of their greatest achievements being USA Judo’s National Over-All Kata Champions for 18 years!
What makes your club unique?
HR: “What makes Bushido Kai Judo, Inc unique is the fact that they are a recreational club that runs out of Penfield Recreation Center. Participants range from first time judo players to world level. It is a family-oriented club with many parents and children working out together. Currently the club has over 100 members and is the 6th largest club in the USJA.”
What are some of Bushido Kai Judo, Inc’s biggest achievements?
The biggest achievement of Bushido Kai Judo, Inc is Sensei Heiko Rommelmann, Jr and Sensei Jeff Giunta’s kata record: They have been USA Judo’s National Over-All Kata Champions for 18 years. They have been on seven Pan-Am Teams (highlights include gold in 07, 08 and 18), eight World Teams and have won World Masters. They have been all over the world and taught at many camps and clinics all over the US.
Bushido Kai also has had several other successful kata teams that have won Nationals, and some have represented the US at the highest levels in kata. These teams include Kerry Forster and Kirsten Weisbeck, Kerry Forster and Jennifer Chast, Kevin Ozs and Chris Arena, Heiko Rommelmann, Jr and Mark Chast. In fact, in 2009 half of the US Kata Team that was selected and competed came from Bushido Kai.
Although Bushido Kai produces many kata champions, they are not strictly a kata club. Many of the students have very impressive shiai records including Will Setter was ranked #3 in the US in 2010, Cory Giunta -Junior national champion, Heiko Karl Rommelmann – Junior national champion, Molly Sauter – Junior national champion, Melissa Eschbach – Junior national champion. Numerous other students have won at the local, state, national, Pan-Am, and World Masters level.
Where do you see your club in the future? Future goals of the club.
HR: “In the future, we hope to have students that get to experience the same opportunities that we have had the fortune to experience through judo. We hope to produce people with good human character. People who uphold the core values of judo: courage, respect, modesty, friendship, honor, sincerity, self-control, and politeness.”