Tonight we begin our coverage of the USJA Election with an endorsement for the USJA Board of Paul Nogaki by someone, Definitely Not Julia.
As noted in this endorsement, Paul is "like a math person". Actually, Paul has two masters degrees, including one in finance from the University of Southern California.
Paul is vice-president of a software company and head instructor of the Temecula Valley Judo Club in Temecula, California, known by some as slightly east of nowhere. As Paul says,
"It doesn't get any more grass roots than this."
In addition to the unknown person in a kimono, Paul is endorsed by yours truly (AnnMaria De Mars, current USJA President). He has been the mini-camp coordinator as part of the USJA Development committee. He organized the coach certification at the USJA/USJF Winter Nationals. He was also director of the fabulous camp after the USJA Junior Nationals this year, also co-sponsored by the Judo Forum and attended by Neil Ohlenkamp, Mr. Judo Forum himself. Neil is also running for the USJA Board, by the way, and will be another great addition.
Another person endorsing Mr. Nogaki is Lowell Slaven, the current USJA Treasurer. Lowell IS running for re-election to the board but he is very comfortable having Paul assume the duties as treasurer. As Lowell noted, Paul has a terrific background in finance and accounting and,
"We need to not let egos get in the way of having the best person in a job."
Lowell himself is very interested in working with the USJA over the next few years to develop jiu-jitsu and to bring judo into more jiu-jitsu clubs.
You can read more about several others running for the USJA Board on the website I set up in my spare time, of which I have none, The New USJA. I will be adding more to it over the next couple of days.
On an unrelated note -
I am reading Gene LeBell's autobiography, "The Godfather of Grappling".
It is a great book. I have met Gene many, many times. He is such a nice, modest person, I never would have known he had done half of the things in this book. Of course I knew about the stunt work, TV work and movie roles because I have seen him on TV and in the movies, but as for the rest of it - unbelievable.
It reminds me yet again how many fabulous people we have walking around in our midst in the judo community who never draw attention to themselves and are sometimes overlooked in the babble of those self-proclaimed judo greats calling "Look at me! Promote me! Make me a seventh-degree black belt! Let me be first in the buffet line!"
It's a great book to remind you of the varied, full lives one of our judo greats lived. Well, he is still living. As I am sure Gene would be the first to tell you, he is not dead yet!