The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Competitive self-defense

The Judo Club practices in O’Pake Recreation Center (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

Judo club brings unique sport to St. Joe’s

Juniors Connor Waite and Connor English faced each other on a mat, prepared for battle in the in the multipurpose room in O’Pake Recreation Center. 

Sweat poured from the two as they put each other in headlocks.

After four  minutes, English declared victory, raising his arm into the air as Waite laid on the mat in defeat. 

Waite and English are members of St. Joe’s Judo Club, which Angie Nagle, assistant director of campus recreation, estimated has been on campus for about three years. It is a club that many people may not know exists, however.

“Judo is a different animal than most of the other clubs because it is mostly practiced inside, which is hidden from many students on campus,” Nagle said. 

Practiced in Japan since the 19th century, Judo differs from karate or Taekwondo. Judo moves are based on self-defense, and matches have a point system similar to wrestling. Judo Club coach Karl Mazzucchi compared learning Judo to learning a whole new language. 

“Of course it is a language that we learn to speak with our bodies, but still it is about learning words and putting them together into sentences and making sense,” Mazzucchi explained. 

St. Joe’s Judo Club competes year-round with two-hour practices every Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. The team also travels to tournaments at neighboring schools like the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and West Chester University. 

Many of the members who participate in Judo have been practicing since they were young. Others wrestled in high school or wanted to try a new club at St. Joe’s. 

“We can sell Judo differently than any other sport or club on campus,” English said. “You do not have to have prior experience to join.”

Freshman members of the team said the sport has helped them gain confidence throughout their first year in college as well helped them socially. 

“I like it a lot,” freshman Adelina Alvarez said. “The club helps me gain confidence. The upperclassmen seem more like mentors than captains.” 

As president of the club, English is one of those mentors.

 “I really prioritize making the club a place for anyone to come to and be able to talk about their problems,”  English said. “I want to have everyone feel accepted no matter what year they are or how much experience they have.” 

Waite said the main drive is not to be competitive but grow as a team.  

“It’s important to motivate each other to become better on the team,” Waite said.  

Nagle praised English’s leadership for the club.  

“Connor’s drive and leadership has led to club’s success,” Nagle said. 

Ultimately, Mazzuchi said judo helps teach students where their strengths and weaknesses are.

“You cannot practice Judo without being intrinsically true to yourself,” Mazzuchi said. “You also learn how to improve on all those points, and by doing so, you also learn to trust what you have and gain the confidence to build on top of that.” 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *