The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Pottstown Judo Visits MCAB Day Camp


In July me and some of my students from the Pottstown Judo Club visited the Montgomery County Association for the Blind (MCAB) Day Camp… A dozen plus blind and visually impaired boys and girls from the ages of 7 to 16 years old engaged in a hands-on demonstration of the Japanese martial art of JUDO lead by Sensei Richard Favinger, Jr. (me) of the Pottstown Judo Club, and assisted by Sensei Scott Rakowski along with Pottstown Judo Club junior students, Paul, Brandon, Nick, Dylan, and Matt…

We had a wonderful time teaching them 2 judo moves each and one hold down. This hands on demo allowed the blind children to throw my students (and they loved every minute of it!) We brought uniforms for every one to try (and feel), and some of Sensei Rich’s Keystone Games medals from past events that are very textured so they can feel them. (They are in the shape of a Keystone)…

They enjoyed hanging with us and telling us many stories of what they also enjoy. Many are members of the Junior Blind Golfers Association, and have participated in Special Olympics under Swimming, Running, and Horseback Riding…

My students had a GREAT time, and the campers asked us when we where coming back! Many also asked where they can signup for judo! Sadly for many they live far away from my club. But I will do my best to find them one local if I can… If not, I may just have to start a judo club for MCAB!

One of the harder things for my young helper students to understand was how they needed to describe every thing they needed to do or tell the other child how to move a foot or hand for placement. But they got the hang of it! (Teaching not so easy eh’ guys?)

I found it a little strange when one of the blind students asked me if I could guide them back to the mat area from the hall… suddenly I was the more sighted of the bunch. I seen one of my other students guide a blind student to the bathroom and patiently wait for him outside, then guide him back to our area. I’m so proud of my students, they acted like perfect role-models!

Special thanks to Mr. Jim Hunt camp director (yellow cap) [who is also blind] from the Montgomery County Association for the Blind… and the Pottstown Judo Club. This demonstration was arranged by Sensei Rich (me)…

MCAB Day Camp 2009 and the Pottstown Judo Club

The young fellow sitting next to me, is only 7-years-old and has limited light perception – the little dude almost jumped out of his chair when we made the first call for participants! Youngest of the bunch with a triumphant “I DOOOOOO!”… and was first on the mat! – Yea!!! I love it!

To learn more about Visually Impaired and Blind Judo please, contact me!

Judo is an official Olympic and Paralympic Sport for the Blind…

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Liberty Bell Judo Classic


Well today marked the youth part of the 2009 Liberty Bell Judo Classic.

Youth weigh-ins where Friday night, and I rode down with Paul and his dad. Seems a waste, but all the kids must weigh in the night before. It just makes things smoother for the day to come. How ever it’s still an hours drive for a weigh in that takes all of 2-minutes. Matt and his mom opted for a hotel room to stay in.

The next day (Saturday), we drove down again, this time to fight. I find out from sensei Fred that poor Matt is THE VERY FIRST MATCH OF THE DAY ON MAT 5! And Paul was the THIRD match on Mat 6! – CRAP! Well, no time to waste. We picked up the kids match cards, and got them to run around a bit.

Opening ceremonies over, and the day begins.

Liberty Bell Judo Classic 2009

Paul and Matt

Matt’s up! – Matt’s over… damn… His match lasted about 30-seconds. He lost. Paul’s up… Paul’s down! Double damn… His match was also over in about 30-seconds… Not a good start! This is after all a Double Elimination tournament.

Matt was now match 8, and well… Sorry folks we lost this one. So poor Matt’s day was over in all of about 20-minutes. Paul’s turn for match number two. This time, he nailed the kid for two half-point throws. He won that one. We’re still in this.

Paul’s next match was number 23 on Mat 6. So we went upstairs he got a drink, and we hung with his parents for a while. A few matches before number 23, we headed back down, and he reported in. Paul’s up again… and… just like that… it’s over. Paul lost his 3rd match and thus was eliminated.

I do feel really bad. I was hoping for the guys to win at least a few more. But you must understand, this is a HUGE event. And people come from all over the USACanada, and we even had a boy from Africa who was fighting today! WOW!

So the day was over for us well before 11AM. The boys hung out up top, and watched a few more matches. I told them to stay and I snuck off with Matt’s mom to do some shopping with a uniform vender. This is such a big event, and despite the loss, I’m proud of them for simply showing up. Win or loose I already had this planned.

So, what’s a sensei to buy his students? Why, new uniforms of course! But, not just any… You see in judo, the first name called to fight should wear a blue uniform, and the second name called wears white. Normally all students wear white, and we simply use a blue belt to distinguish 1st name and 2nd name for scoring. – High level events like Nationals require the blue uniform.

So… I picked up a size 1 (Paul’s size), and size 3 (Matt’s size), blue single-weave judo uniform for them. But hush now. They don’t know the uniforms are for them! I’ll give the uniforms to them on Monday at class. How cool is that? – I know they will be thrilled. All kids love the blue uniforms! But I’m sure it may make some other students enviable.

But either way, maybe. Just maybe, it will encourage others to fight! Because I would have done the same thing for any student going to this event. Just think if I would have had to buy 14 blue uniforms!!!

Authors note. This post was composed entirely on my new 17-inch MacBook Pro!

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  • Still here…


    Well sorry folks I have not posted in a while. I’ve not been feeling well, my back is killing me.

    I do have a lot to talk about though. An update on orientation and mobility should be coming soon. A post about my new camera bags from ThinkTank Photo, and a post about my shiny new very kick ass 17-inch MacBook Pro laptop. – Yes folks thats right, I dropped the wad, and got the MacBook Pro!

    But I have so many things going on right now. As you see from my last post, with dad being sick, I’m just not feeling myself. I also need to get things ready for the 2009 Little League season to start shooting again… AND… this weekend is the Liberty Bell Judo Classic, a huge event for my guys. – Weigh ins are tomorrow night. (Matt says pizza in his room, after weigh ins).

    So yes, I have a lot to say, but no time to write it. But hang in there ya’ll.

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