By Michael Mazurkiewicz
Seven students of judo gathered in the gym on October 29 to prove their skills. They came to show off the technique of using grips and their opponent’s own forces against them in order to come out as the victor in each match. As these seven Payton students prepared to spar against one another, they knew that each move they made was being watched by prominent judo representatives.
U.S. Olympic Judo Committee Representatives and two representatives from World Sport Chicago came to watch Alex Mine ‘14, Darrison Hubbard ‘15, Sara Luna ‘15, Andrew Martinez ‘15, John Arrizola ‘16, Sarah Claussen ‘16, and Nate Sutka ‘16 practice their Judo skills with one another. These representatives came see the progress made by students at Payton who had been actively dedicating their time to practice this form of martial arts. Stephanie Miller of WSC said, via e-mail, that it would be an “informal visited chance for the U.S. Olympic Committee to observe the types of programs we host/support.”
The Judo students at Payton are under the tutelage of Sensei Brett and Sensei David. These Senseis are both teachers at their own school in Chicago and also teach over 50 students through the two seminars that they host each semester, which is partially funded through WSC. They recently took three Payton students to compete in Judo competitions at the Paralympic Games in Colorado.
Sara Luna ‘15 and Nadia Montanez ‘15 were recognized for their successes and later honored as athletes at an Illinois ceremony. Sensei Brett is also a coach for the Judo USA team.
The representatives who came to the event said that they were impressed with the skill level of all the teen athletes. These students expressed extreme gratitude for all those who have taught and supported them throughout their practicing of Judo, but ultimately it was the teachers and mentors who had a greater appreciation for all the hard work and dedication of the students to keep striving for success.