Sensei Michael Flachmann's Judo beginnings were at Southern Illinois University, where he obtained his black belt in a brief but intense two and a half years of study. He has since devoted a great deal of time and energy to Judo in the Bakersfield area. In 1972, through his remarkably innovative efforts, he founded the CSUB Judo Program and initiated numerous Judo-related events over the years, proving himself to be a constant and dynamic force in the continuation of the sport. According to Sensei Flachmann, the CSUB Judo class remains a firm center for Judo activity in the county by continuing to provide an experience through which people can not only learn the techniques and philosophies of Judo, but also meet new friends. Having drawn an estimated 8,000+ students over the years, the class, says Sensei Flachmann, has kept many students in school by offering them a way to balance out their lives: "If people can maintain an equilibrium between the spiritual, intellectual, and physical aspects of life, then I think they will be happier and more productive. If by teaching Judo I can help students learn this balance, then I am doing exactly what I am aiming for. After all, it's all about giving back what you've taken" says Sensei Flachmann on being a teacher of Judo. "Having learned so much from my Judo teachers, I welcome the chance to share this knowledge with my own students."
Sensei Dale Kinoshita began practicing Judo at seven years of age, and despite his introduction to the sport as a spectator, he doesn't actually remember a time when he wasn't on the mat participating. You won't find him quoting Shakespeare or any other major literary figures in the classroom, but as a 5th degree black belt, he is enormously proud of his accomplishments in Judo instruction. He too began teaching Judo at Cal State when he began working on a degree in History, and on any Tuesday or Thursday night he can still be found teaching the intricacies of Judo to CSUB students of all ages and abilities. Much like the other instructors, Sensei Dale underscores the importance of patience in conjunction with Judo: "I would hope that through my instruction students would realize that there are numerous ups and downs in Judo. Judokas must learn how to handle defeat and disappointment as well as victory and triumph, and they can't do that without learning patience."
Now a 7th degree black belt, Sensei Kinya Sakamoto began practicing Judo independently at the age of 13, and aside from an the interruption of WWII, his studies have been continuous. Sensei Kinya is the highest ranking Judo instructor in the area and, therefore, it was under his authority and endorsement that the first Judo class at CSUB was underway. In addition to his consent, his wonderful conceptualizations of how the class would operate were essential in determining its success. Of his Judo experiences, those that he holds most dear are when his students receive their black belts, and he bids all judokas who aspire to do the same to take note of their accomplishments through these words of inspiration: "We've all been thrown . . . We've all been down, but you've got to have enough spirit to jump up and keep going. Eventually, you will come up on top."
Beginning his studies in 1968, Sensei Brett Sakamoto is now a 5th Dan black belt. His involvement with CSUB Judo began when he started his CSUB degree in business, but the conclusion of his studies did not mark the end of his commitment to Judo at the university. He has assisted in teaching CSUB Judo classes for over 15 years and believes that the program provides an opportunity for students to learn such important practices as discipline and respect. He maintains that the ways of Judo, when utilized in daily life, allow for a more satisfying overall lifestyle. Watching the sustained satisfaction with which he practices, one would never guess that he began Judo disliking it, and it is in this sense that he suggests that Judo will test an individual's endurance as well as his/her patience. "It requires a lot of practice," he says, "a lot of hard work, but stick with it and it will become a meaningful part of your life."
Judo Club 2009 - 2010
President: Fátima Lucio
Vice-President: Brian Dolph
Treasurer: Nathaniel Goze
Secretary: Krystal Carrillo
Party Planners: Julia Stapleton & Kei Rodenburg