How Juudo Has Changed My Life

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Judo has been a large part of my life since I was six years old. Twenty-one years have passed since I started judo, and the role that it has played in my life has transformed tremendously over the years. To me, judo has always been a sport. I have practiced countless of hours on perfecting the technique of my throws, sweeps, pins, chokes, and armbars, and my work has paid off in competition. I have competed in multiple tournaments on the national and international scope, and I have won awards in both shiai (sparring) and kata (form). However, judo to me changed into so much more after my experience at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games during the summer after my high school junior year.
That year, I was given the honor of volunteering for three days as a
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Not only did I involve myself at the Judo club in UCLA as an undergraduate, but I also later worked to further expand the judo community in the US. The absence of any US competitors in the 2015 judo Special Olympics competition, even though the US hosted the event, highlighted the lack of contribution by judo organizations in the US toward providing classes and tournament events for athletes of intellectual disability. Being able to study international development in UCLA, as well as study abroad, gave me the skills I needed to study the ways in which judo organizations in countries like France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and even Nigeria ran their judo programs for children and adults of special needs. With this knowledge, I worked with judo instructors in the US who shared a similar passion for helping athletes with special needs to create in 2025 a new organization dedicated to expanding special-needs judo classes and events across the US, as well as finally getting a US team to be top contenders in the Special Olympics World
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