Friday, October 3, 2008

Madame President

To steal a favorite line of my daughter's ...

Well, I'll be damned!

So, Jim Webb resigned today and according to the USJA by-laws, our corporate counsel and about 500 years of precedents, that makes me the president. I am not unaware of the fact that whenever I end up in a position like this it is definitely to the great gratification of some and the great dismay of others.

It is really funny because I know people who scheme, make deals, sell out friends so they can get elected to some position. Me, it usually happens because I just get really tired of seeing things not get done the way I think they should be, fume,
"Somebody should do something about this!"

and then some smart-alec like Hayward Nishioka or Martin Bregman steps up and whispers in my ear,
"You know, you're somebody."

On my list of 43 things, becoming USJA President is not even in the top 43. Actually, my list only has five things. Maybe I better make a longer list.

Actually, I think I'll probably be a better president because of that. Work is good, life is good, my kids are good, my husband still wants to be married to me after 11 years (I just verified this with him). I'll do the best I can for the next 15 months and, after that, if someone else gets elected, then I will learn to tap dance or something with the extra spare time.

Speaking of tap-dancing, I was in a meeting yesterday where the department bought lunch for our team for a job well done. We were asked what we would like as rewards for successful performance. I said I had always wanted a tap-dancing horse, but they did not give me one. So, why did they ask?

I suppose I should be serious and issue a letter about my ideas as president. (And I do have some.) So, here it is.


It is gratifying to be given this opportunity to serve the USJA as President. We end the year with strong clubs, dynamic judo leaders throughout the country and a professional staff at our national office in Colorado Springs. I look forward to working with all of them to grow judo in the United States.

Our membership is over 8,000, our budget is balanced and we have active USJA organizers in every region. In Michigan, Deb Fergus, Bob Treat and co. are running the All-Women’s Tournament in November. The USJA will be supporting the coaching clinic and athlete clinic, with Olympic bronze medalist (and my little pumpkin) Ronda Rousey, long-time coach Vickie Daniels and other top female coaches from the Midwest.

[Ronda - Vickie and I have known each other since I was 13. We fought at Bill Horve's Decatur Dojo at a tournament every single month. Don't believe anything she says about me as a child. I was a perfect angel - just exactly like you. They were going to name the Good Behavior Award the AnnMaria Award but I was too modest and told them to name it after Mother Teresa instead.]

In Rhode Island, Serge Boussyou is already planning the next Great American Workout, an event that drew well over 100 coaches and players from New England, New York and throughout the northeast. In the south, James Wall and Jeff Miller continue to grow the USJA through clinics in every area from kata to referees to coaching. Roy Hash, in the southwest, is hosting camps, clinics and tournaments to grow judo in Texas. Heiko Rommelman and Jeff Giunta are teaching kata throughout the east coast, from the YMCA camp in New York to a clinic in Connecticut organized by our chair of regional coordinators, Joan Love. Four members of their club, along with USJA Board member Michelle Holtze and her partner all qualified for the IJF kata championships. Dr. James Lally may be moved up from Donor of the Year to Donor of the Decade.

The USJA leaders continue to work collaboratively with the USJF. Mark Hunter, in Ohio, hosts regular joint USJA-USJF workouts. Gary Goltz is hosting a joint USJA – USJF Winter Nationals in December, begun as a USJA event and now in its third year. The National Brown Belt Championships in San Francisco, hosted by Mitchell Palacio, was a USJA- USJF co-sponsored event. The USJA/ USJF West Coast Training Center continues to grow as a source for judo players and coaches from around the region to develop their skills. Several areas around the country are examining this model for possible replication in their area. Jesse Jones will be hosting the USJA Junior Nationals with strong support from USJF clubs throughout California.

Several steps are underway to support and expand the USJA efforts to provide services to all members. The USJA was never intended to be an organization run for a few members of its board of directors. It is for everyone. This means an expansion of electronic services, our website, USJA Headlines, USJA Forum, USJA Development Resources site and our two electronic magazines. Not only is the number of Americans on-line increasing annually, but the younger players, coaches and parents, the future of judo, is disproportionately on the net. I will be working with some young volunteers to bring more of the USJA on-line. If you are interested in volunteering, please email me at . Exciting times are ahead.

Jim Pedro, Sr. and his coach education committee will be working to increase the number of coaching clinics around the country to assist our USJA leaders in sharing their expertise with one another

I will be hosting a conference call with our regional coordinators in the near future. To find your local regional coordinator, please check here

Let him or her know what you would like to see happening in the USJA.

If you would like to be a regional coordinator – VOLUNTEER! All it takes is a willingness to work to develop judo, a good idea or two and a couple of folks to work with you. Ask Willie Williams, that’s how he started the Judo League.

I am sorry there is not enough space here to mention all of the outstanding judo leaders, instructors, players and parents throughout the USJA. Please do know that your contributions are appreciated.

Feel free to email me your comments or suggestions at any time. Together we can grow judo in the U.S.A.

Thank you for supporting the USJA!


Anonymous said...

Madame President,

On this, the day you become President of the USJA and the month the dojo I am at has changed it's requirement for students' principle membership to be USA Judo vs USJA, I wish you Godspeed or, if you prefer, buena suerte.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

George -
I am curious. Can you tell me the reason for changing the requirement?

Anonymous said...

Not much to it but I sent you an email.

Stephen said...

Wish you luck. Do try to take a fresh look at the organization, using your consultant's hat, but best of wishes for the next year.

Anonymous said...

Congrats AM. I am hopeful it will never be the same again!

Anonymous said...

Gratz your awesome and we all love you in St Louis area. You will do great things.

BTW I will do my best to hide your presidency from Autumn so she doesnt hound you about the gi colors, chokes for younger juniors, and other rule changes she WILL hound you about. Matter of should go into hiding and change you email. Run while you can!

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and good luck!

Anonymous said...

First time popping into your blog, and I see I have done so on a happy occasion!

Congratulations on this latest opportunity. Roles of authority are always intricate in the martial arts world but you seem ready, willing, and able.

I look forward to reading about your successes!


Judo Times said...

Hey Madame President sometimes things fall into place nicely best of luck in the new position. It's all about good judo on and off the mat.


Stephen said...

Came up with a 404 error