Judo for Me is a Family Affair!

by Mike O'Neill, Ph.D., 1st, Degree Black Belt

Cynthia and I both grew up in Southern California and moved to Claremont in 2000. Our son Colin was born in 2003 and our daughter Emily arrived in 2005.  Cynthia is an attorney with the county of San Bernardino and I'm a math professor at Claremont McKenna College. When Colin was 4, he saw Kung Fu Panda and started bugging us to take some kind of martial arts class. We looked around at several very expensive places before Cindi saw the ad for a Judo class in the Claremont Human Services brochure.

The price being right, Colin started tiny tots judo class in 2008 and loved it. After watching from the sidelines for a year, I joined the adult class, and Emily started tiny tots shortly after that. Judo is the kind of thing you can get hooked on, and three years later, we are all still practicing. Colin is a green belt, Emily is a yellow belt, and I am a black belt. I have lost about 30 pounds in the process and returned to physical activity after being a desk guy for several years.

You can't practice judo without partners, and so we talk a lot about the importance of community and helping others in class. The people at the Hughes center in Claremont exemplify these principles themselves every day by offering us such a wonderful resource. My family and I have benefitted immensely from the remarkable judo dojo there, but the center offers so many other classes and programs, that I always wonder how many people in Claremont might be surprised to find something great right under their nose-- Like my family and I did.

Mike O'Neill's Black Belt Test Excerpt (Nage No Kata)