I’m the faculty advisor of the SUNY Brockport Judo Club, and this weekend I took the club to its first tournament since the pandemic. It was quite an experience.
One of our star competitors was Mitsuhuro Shibata, an international student from Japan who has been studying business at SUNY Brockport. Mitsu, a first-degree black belt in Judo, competed in a small weight class and emerged victorious with two impressive wins. His agile ground work and well-executed body drop in the second match were truly commendable. His only regret was that he “cut weight” to get into the lighter weight class, and therefore didn’t have a chance to try out his skills with more competitors.
We also had Benjamin Baker, a sophomore nursing major and yellow belt, competing in his very first Judo competition. Despite facing a challenging pool of novice contestants, Baker displayed great skill in avoidance techniques and made it difficult for his opponents to execute their throws. He showed tremendous Judo spirit. I remember my first time at a competition (my goal was to fight before turning 40, and I beat that goal by about 2 months). Sometimes, you log a “win” by being able to just get out there on the mat and not pass out from an anxiety attack!
As the faculty advisor, I am immensely proud of the dedication and sportsmanship displayed by our Judo club members during the Garden State Judo Classic. Their hard work and perseverance paid off, and they represented SUNY Brockport with excellence. Working out with the students is definitely one of the highlights of my job.