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Judo: A Tradition in the 109

The Fort Worth Judo Club has been a part of the city since 1956, so it is no surprise to the coaches when children of former students come to learn the sport.

“Judo is one of the best sports for boys and girls not only to develop self-confidence but as a sport that teaches skills that are transferable to all other sports,” according to, the Website for USA Judo.

The local club also has a longtime connection with the109.

“In the late ‘60s, we worked out of TCU and it was really affiliated with the school,” says Ray Hosokawa, Fort Worth Judo Club president. The Fort Worth Judo Club, now located at 2704 W. Berry Street, “has been on Berry Street since 2002.”

“Judo is a life-time sport,” Hosokawa says.

The judo club president and also one of the coaches at the Berry Street location started judo more than 40 years ago when he was 8 years old. Hosokawa practiced judo throughout high school and then he “joined the Air Force to see the world.” He got stationed in Oklahoma.

“That’s when I really started learning my judo,” Hosokawa says.

He moved to Texas in ’96 and began working with Fort Worth Judo Club. Hosokawa inherited the job as club president in 2010 when the former club president passed the leadership role on to Hosokawa.

In a lot of cases, children will start judo at an early age, Hosokawa said. That’s when the judo coach may see his former students bring their children to the club. Hosokawa says youngsters most likely will explore other sports in high school, but they will come back to judo later in life.

Judo, now an Olympic sport, was first contested in the Olympic Games at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, according to USA Judo’s Website. “It is a system of self-defense, a physical and mental discipline that “provides the path to Olympic dreams, a way for athletes – from beginner to elite – to participate in judo, and a framework for both national and international competition.”

The local club is well known for developing Judo Olympian Nikki Kubes.

Kubes began her career at the Fort Worth Judo Club when she was 7 years old. She represented the United States, as one of the youngest team members, at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Hosokawa said Kubes is still a very big part of the club. Judo is a sport that will remain a part of the people’s lives after they begin to participate, he said.

“The statement that we use is ‘Fort Worth Judo: where champions are made on and off the mat,’” Hosokawa says.

The coach and club president says judo is a way for the students to contribute to society.

Coaches at the Fort Worth Judo Club work to achieve their goal of creating athletes with moral, spiritual and physical character.

The local club’s website poses this question and lists these fun facts.

“Why should you get involved in judo? Check out the following fun facts…

• Judo is the most widely practiced martial art on earth.

• Judo is the second most-practiced sport worldwide, behind the most-widely practiced sport of soccer.

• Judo is the safest contact sport for children under 13 (American College of Sports Medicine).

For more information about the Fort Worth Judo Club and classes, visit its website at

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