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YWCA Princeton Judo Club Celebrates 20 Years of Making the Community Stronger

PRINCETON  November marks a special milestone for the YWCA Princeton Judo club. It is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The club has grown stronger and bigger every day from its humble beginnings in 1994, with just three students. Today, the club is home to over 70 judokas, including women, men, and children, ranging from four years to 62 years.

Over the last 20 years, the club has responded to an ever growing popularity of the sport by introducing classes and programs that are focused on the interest and needs of its members. “We started with just one adult class a week. As interest from parents and working adults increased, we added convenient evening and Saturday classes, kids classes, and family judo,” explains Cory Cuomo, coach at the YWCA Princeton Judo club.

 

“Family Judo is my personal favorite!” says Tara O’Shea, Director of Programs at YWCA Princeton. “It is a great opportunity for a parent and child to learn and practise a skill together, in a safe and nurturing environment. In a world of smartphones, televisions and hectic work schedules, this class is an healthy place for families to come together and enjoy quality bonding time. It is also a great work-out,” explains Ms. O’Shea.

 

Many of the club’s members practise Judo at competition level and the club has produced over 100 New Jersey State Championship gold medalists. Junior National Champion, Michelle Arias and Unites States National Team member, Michael Tusay are members, as well as instructors, at the club. “Like Ms.Arias, several of our current members start as young children and they continue well into their adulthood. Our club is a second home to them. There is a great camaraderie at the club and Judo becomes a part of the lifestyle for many of our members,” adds Mr.Cuomo.

 

The YWCA Princeton Judo club is host to the New Jersey State Judo Championship held annually at its hometown of Princeton. Several of its members compete in the championship and have won several awards over the years. The club also hosts the annual Princeton Judo Invitational and both events draw a huge number of competitors and spectators, highlighting the popularity of the sport.

 

The club also boasts of highly qualified, experienced, and passionate instructors and includes some of the best in the sport. The lead sensei is Cory Cuomo, a certified national level coach with 37 years of judo experience. He has medaled in nine New Jersey State Judo Championships and five East Coast Judo Championships. He is ably supported by Michael Tusay, who has 16 years of judo experience under his belt and is a member of the United States Judo National Team. Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Tusay hold the rank of Nidan as a member of the United States Judo Federation, USA Judo, and Kodokan in Japan.

 

Other members of the staff include Edwin Calvache, a 25 year judo veteran who is also a Sandan black belt world class athlete and the National Champion of his native country, Colombia, Joshua Suh, who has over 30 years of Judo experience, and participated with the Korean Judo Olympic Team, Bradley Joyce,a Shodan Black Belt, member of the British Judo Association and was the captain of the Oxford University Judo team. Instructors Jim Carty and Mike Myong-Hwan Lee have been with the Princeton Judo club for over a decade and they hold the rank of Shodan Black Belt with the United States Judo Federation.

 “Other notable instructors of the club are Lou Arias, who has been a instructor with the club since 1998, and Patrick Austermann.They work primarily with the children and have the most challenging job of all of us,” adds Mr.Cuomo.

 

To learn more about the YWCA Princeton Judo club, visit www.ywcaprinceton.org/martialarts. Judo is an Olympic sport that can be played by people any age, weight, gender, or strength. It is a sport, an art, a means of self-defense, and a fitness program. Steeped in tradition and respect, it does not involve kicking or punching. It teaches the use of maximum efficiency with minimum effort by using the opponent’s weight, balance, and momentum against them.

 

 

YWCA Princeton

Established in 1922, the YWCA Princeton is a local not-for-profit organization with thousands of members. It serves Mercer County and Central NJ through educational and recreational classes, social services, advocacy, and leadership development. Programs include summer camps, aquatics, arts and crafts, breast cancer resources, community events, dance, early childhood education, English as a Second Language, martial arts, American Red Cross and lifeguard certification classes, and Newcomers group for those new to the area. The YWCA is the oldest and largest multicultural women's organization in the world with affiliates in over 120 countries and with 250 associations in the U.S. It is a safe community building strong women leaders, empowering women, and eliminating racism. For more information, call (609) 497-2100 ext.316 or visit www.ywcaprinceton.org.

 

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