May 5, 2009

Local Instructor Wins at Nationals

by Gary Goltz

Brad Karman won the Masters Open Division at the U.S. Nationals & received the USJA's Top Masters Player Award

Brad Karmann, 55, of Riverside who is an instructor at Goltz Judo Club in Claremont, recently won double gold medals at the Judo Nationals held in San Diego.  “He won both his weight division and the open weight division defeating some very formidable opponents” according to Gary Goltz, founder and head instructor of the club.

Throwing Uchimata for Ippon video from Winter Nationals 2012 (click to watch)

Karmann was subsequently promoted to the rank of 6th degree black belt (red & white belt for expert) by the US Judo Association. He also was named their National Masters Player of the Year. Brad is a manager with Hunsaker & Associates.  Goltz Judo is part of Claremont Human Services. The club practices at Alexander Hughes Community Center.

The late Ken Karman (Brad's dad)

Ken Karmann was a 6th degree black belt and world Masters champion who died on the mat teaching the sport he loved at age 71 in 2000.

Mr. Karmann followed his son Brad into the sport at the age of 35 in 1961. Once they put the gi on him he fell in love with judo,” said the younger Karmann, a former U.S. judo team member and national rank player in the early 80’s. At only 18 months of study, the father earned a black belt and formed the Sendai Judo Club. He was a member of the Nanka Yudanshakai as well as a USJF and USJA life Member.  Later he taught at the YMCA in Riverside, city recreation programs and Riverside and San Bernardino clubs for nearly 40 years.

He was a pioneer in the United States Judo Federation competitions for Masters age 35 and older. He has won ten National Master Championships and has placed in all the others he competed in, even after He had a heart by-pass in 1988. He was also a pioneer for Women competition as his two daughters were nationally rank players in the mid to late 70’s.   He introduced the sport to his first three Grandchildren who became national players in the kids divisions. In 1999, he took the first World Master Judo Championships, which was held in Canada. He was the oldest person to compete in the tournament.

In the late 1960’s, he became the only Caucasian to ever throw Japanese champion Isao Inokuma for a full point. The 1964 Olympic gold medalist and the 1965 World Champion was in his prime. “Everybody in the world wanted to beat (Inokuma),” said Dr. Jim Wooley, a former Olympic competitor and coach who knows the Karmanns. Wooley described Kenneth Karmann as a gifted technician in the art and physical principals of judo who deftly painted pictures in words to convey techniques to students.