The history of the Judo Program at Georgetown University really relates to the founding of the Washington Judo Club in the Washington Metropolitan area and also the development of the Judo Program at Georgetown University. These programs were merged at the Georgetown University facility in 1985.
The Washington Judo Club was formed shortly after World War II and the Club practiced at the Pentagon. One of the original instructors at the Washington Judo Club was Don Draeger; Mr. James Takemori continued to run the Washington Judo Club after Mr. Draeger departed the area.
The Washington Judo Club was known for its high quality Judo instruction and the development of national and international players and has always been a main stay for all serious Judo competitors in the Washington Metropolitan area.
The Judo program at Georgetown University was founded by Dr. Othmar Winkler in 1959. In 1963, one of Sensei James Takemori’s most accomplished students, Mike Carper, then a Nidan and national high school champion, received a scholarship from Georgetown University to assist in running the Judo program and teaching Judo in the athletic department as an instructional course. Two years later, another one of Sensei James Takemori’s students, Mr. Steve Carper, also a national high school champion and a first degree black belt, received a scholarship to attend Georgetown University.
The Georgetown University program flourished under the instruction of Mr. Steve Carper and Mr. Mike Carper until their graduation. After that, the program was administered by Michael “Tad” Nalls from approximately 1969 until the present. Tad Nalls commenced his involvement in the Judo program at Georgetown in 1967.
During the many years that both programs were operating in the Washington Metropolitan area, there was always a close working relationship between the Washington Judo Club and the Georgetown University Judo program with Sensei Takemori always opening his doors at the Washington Judo Club to the various collegiate athletes from Georgetown in order to improve their Judo techniques and competitive ability.
In approximately 1985, due to the fact that Georgetown University has a new facility, it was decided by Sensei Takemori and Tad Nalls to merge the Washington Judo Club and the Georgetown University Judo program and it has worked to the mutual benefit of all members. The Washington Judo Club at Georgetown University currently has over 30 Black Belts as members, including Sensei James Takemori, 8th Dan, Sensei Tsuyoshi Miyazaki, 8th Dan, Yoshihisa Komori, 6th Dan and Michael “Tad” Nalls, 5th Dan. In addition to the large number of black belts, there are often visiting instructors from Japan who participate in the program and numerous brown belts and novice Judoka. The University students regularly enroll in the instructional Judo program and many continue to train in Judo during their collegiate and post-collegiate careers.
In approximately 2001, the Judo program was expanded to include younger children from ages 5 and up as part of the Judo program at Georgetown, which previously was comprised of primarily collegiate students and adults.