Dear Missouri Judoka,
This year has been very busy and successful for Missouri Judo Inc. MJI is growing at a steady rate with a total of twelve registered clubs, and five that have committed to join MJI after the first of the year. This is the first time in decades that Missouri judo has been united in such a way. This unity is important to the growth of Missouri judo, which creates a stronger voice at the national level. More importantly our unity helps us at a local level. Working together lends to better relationships and expands training opportunities for our athletes, coaches, and referees. These relationships were strong in the past, but have wavered over the years, and it is great to see clubs working together once again to create a strong judo community.
Many of our judoka have competed nationally and even internationally over the past year. Amber Jones from the Rolla Judo Club has been traveling and competing internationally. She has a goal of competing in, and winning the Olympics. MJI recently conducted a training session (Train Like A Champion) for Amber and was able to raise funds to help offset travel and training expenses. In June MJI also conducted a successful training camp in Columbia to raise funds for junior athletes headed to the Junior Olympic in Irving, Texas. In addition to the competitors training sessions, MJI has sponsored a nage no kata clinic conducted by Eiko Shepherd and will work with Sensei Shepherd to host a katame no kata clinic in 2015. MJI has also held its first official state championships, and looks forward to growing next year.
While MJI is breaking ground and starting to bring our state together, we are still in our infancy as a USA Judo state organization. With little funds it is difficult to support athletes; this is a problem that MJI is working to fix. Over the past year I have been working with legal counsel to obtain a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status for MJI. The paper work for our non-profit status is being processed at this moment and will be in affect soon after the first of the year. This will allow for better fundraising that all MJI members can then benefit from. Another goal of MJI this coming year is to have a more interactive website where information can be accessed and distributed. With the success of our last training session in October there was a great deal of interest to continue these multi-club training sessions. In the next few weeks I will be contacting clubs to schedule the next Train Like A Champion, Judo Training Session. Lastly, there is an opportunity for our state to participate in a state athlete ranking system. North Carolina Judo Inc. has developed a ranking system for their state athletes. This is a program that I think would also help us recognize rising stars, and also be an added promotional tool for clubs. The point system also rewards competitors in a unique way.
If you or your club have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact me, or any of our officers. We are here to help support your club!
I want to thank you all again for your support over the last several years. Without your time and effort MJI would not be possible. I look forward to working with you all again this coming year, and continuing to make Missouri Judo Inc. the best judo state organization!
President, Missouri Judo Inc.