Dave Guerrero's Essay Questions Answers

January 2015

What has judo done for me?

I have had four main sensei that have influenced my life over my 40 year judo career. When I first started judo it was at a club in Tucson, Rendokan Dojo, under Carson Sensei. As a kid to a teenager I learned a great deal from him. I can only write an anecdote as it would take a book to really give him the credit he is due. I learned the meaning of hard work, I learned the only way to begin is to begin and do not hesitate. I learned that judo is the great revealer of truth. If one does not prepare the mind and body one cannot expect success. In judo this is true as it is in life and in business.

From Owens Sensei of Tucson Dojo, who I worked out under in my 20’s, I learned how to be a fierce competitor. He taught me to prepare well for the things that will test me. When you are prepared your attitude towards adversity will affect the outcome.

In the 80’s I floated from dojo to dojo across the west as I did various construction jobs I finally settled in Lakewood, California where I was introduced to Ogden Judo School by my oldest brother, Joe. I learned a great deal from Ogden Sensei but the most important thing I have learned is that in the pursuit of meaningful things one can generate more happiness than one may attain with money. I learned that one person can generate a sense of community among a diverse group of people. I learned that if you can influence one person at a time you influence generations.

Around the year 2000 I moved to the Inland Empire and the trek to Ogden’s Judo School was too great. I asked Sensei Ogden if he would allow me to move to another Judo school. I had met Gary Goltz at many club visits and on the tournament circuit. It was easy for Ogden Sensei to give me his respectful release to join Goltz Judo.

Goltz Sensei has been my mentor through the higher ranks of my career in judo. I won the Nationals Masters Championship's in 2004 and continued to compete in Masters Judo until 2005. Since then I remarried and now have a small son of only three years. My life situation changed but my love of judo has not.

Goltz Sensei has taught me about commitment and balance in life. He has taught me that each of us has a role in the judo community whether in the dojo the region or at a national level. In bushido we learn of duty and loyalty, when we take on the responsibility of leadership it is not just for one’s self it is for the body of the community. I have also learned to redefine resiliency, he uses the example of a paradox that if you win or lose you always have to decide what is next, and that you learn much more from failure if you are paying attention.

What have I done for judo?

As an adult I try to be an goodwill ambassador of judo. I have helped others to start judo clubs. I have advised young black belts on matters of competition and their future in judo. I travel once in a while on business I try to do club visits when I can.

I am a certified Coach and I am working on my regional referee. I assist at tournaments when I can and I am the announcer for the Winter Nationals and have been since it started. This is my most rewarding day of the year. I get to watch all the competitors test themselves knowing I am helping to provide the opportunity. Much like so many provided for me over the years.

I am one who can never repay the debt I have to the judo community. My life is a better place having been a part of the gentle way.