"Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me."
— Immanuel Kant —
Aside from creating art, one of the biggest parts of my life has always been judo. I started at the age of 5 at Menomonee Club under the teaching of my great-uncle and world renowned sensei Henry "Hank" Okamura. Uncle Henry and his friends brought judo from the West Coast to Chicago via the Japanese American Internment during WWII. He recognized in me early on the potential of becoming a champion. I was indeed a very successful junior competitor, taking multiple national titles and fighting all over the country.
All of this success came to a halt in 1997 after my shoulder was dislocated in an international tournament at the age of 12. I wouldn't have the corrective surgery until a year later. It was after the rehab from this injury when my chronic neck pain began and would continue to get worse over time, remaining undiagnosed until late 2012. Throughout this period of my life, I continued to teach regularly and compete on and off despite the pain.
The video below from 2007 at age 23, experiencing constant severe neck pain and weighing in at 266 lbs, I participated in what I thought would be my final judo match ever:
Thankfully over the past year and a half, everything changed.
Last Saturday, seven years later, over 60 lbs lighter and pain free, I realized a dream I never thought possible:
After taking Silver at the Illinois State Championships, I can't wait til my next fight. It's good to be back.
"Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth."
— Henry David Thoreau —
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy,
the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis —
"There is only one day left, always starting over:
It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk."
— Jean-Paul Sartre —
"Betrayal is the only truth that sticks."
— Arthur Miller —