The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Sensei Rich Makes Local Front Page News!

Yea baby… I be famous… Not as famous as our little friend Cole, but hey, we need to start some place, right? That’s right, me, I made the front page of our local paper, the Pottstown Mercury.

Photo by Kevin Hoffman, The Mercury

Photo by Kevin Hoffman, The Mercury

Judo brings equality for Pottstown man…
Brandie Kessler, Reporter, Pottstown Mercury:

One Pottstown man who often sat out during extracurricular activities as a boy because of his blindness is now leading dozens of local youngsters as they learn the ropes with the Pottstown Judo Club.

“Many people who are legally blind can see fairly well,” said Richard Favinger Jr., the youth instructor with the Pottstown Judo Club. “I’m one of them.”

As a child, Favinger often found himself alienated by other children who knew he was different and were cruel to him, but he was also alienated by the extracurricular programs for children such as baseball or football, or most of the other activities his classmates and peers were participating in. …

Read the rest of this article at the Pottstown Mercury website…

The article as written by local staff reporter Brandie Kessler, who several months ago did an equally inspiring article about a local boy who is both deaf and blind, and attends one of our local elementary schools.

Several months ago I had contacted her expressing my dismay as to the state of programs and sports available to local blind or disabled children. Simply put, there are few athletic programs offered or available to such kids. Many parents don’t even know such programs exist or know there are people, such as myself willing to help…

It’s also a fact I lived threw myself… that many parents, and there disabled children are simply scared, scared of rejection, scared they may get hurt, scared others will make fun of them, scared there children can not succeed because of there disability or because they are different. My aim was to disprove that…

We also wanted to make a point that, even though you have a disability, LET NO ONE TELL YOU, YOU CAN’T DO SOMETHING! You have so little to loose, and so much to gain, just give it a shot! There is ALWAYS a way… And with the right people to guide you, any one can learn, have a little fun, and kick a little ass!

Pottstown Judo will GLADLY accept ALL students who wish to learn the art of judo, including blind and visually disabled, or other disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy. No parent should ever have to hear “We don’t accept disabled children“.

Friends, Cole and Matt both have CP… Cole participates in karate, and Matt participates in judo. You can read there blogs! Cole was also recognized on – Kids Hall of Fame (June 2007). (I wonder who nominated him? :D )  and good friend Dr. Andre Watson who is blind, and a member of the 2008 USA Paralympic Blind Judo Team… are just some examples of our good friends.

So, won’t you come join us too? We’ll see you on the mat!

Please feel free to link or ping this article and post, and PLEASE pass it along to all your friends. If you want more information, just contact me, I’d be happy to help… And as always leave your comments!

  • Filed under: Judo, News, Personal
  • Judo Promotional Testing! – Update

    I’m pleased to say ALL my students passed… Though we have a few guys that need some work, every one did very well… Other students who did not have enough “time in grade”, will be up for belts after the State Championships, in about 3 weeks.

    All adult members of the club passed as well! And I survived two sets of Nage no Kata as Uki… If your counting thats a total of 60 falls… (and 3 Advil)…

    Judo Promotional Testing!

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  • Filed under: Judo
  • Judo Promotional Testing!

    Sorry, I’ve not commented much on what has been happening at judo lately. But for the most part it’s been somewhat boring. For the past few weeks we have been going over different skills the students need to test for their next ranks. It’s basically been one big review and drill, drill, drill.

    Foot SweepWell tonight is the night… Promotion testing day is here. Almost my entire kids class is up for their next rank, except for four students; not for their lack of skill, simply lack of “time in grade”. We do have many kids who participate in other sports as well; some miss a fair amount of judo class to do other activities; and to be promoted you must put in your “time in grade”, at one level, before your can test again. The average for children is 6 to 8 months. – No worries, they can test next time.

    The testing is strait forward… The child must know basic history of judo, who founded it, and where it came from, know basic terms we use every day in class, and counting in Japanese, among other things.

    They must demonstrate their judo break-fall, and then show a variety of different techniques, including judo throws, hold-downs, depending on the belt level being tested for, being able to apply them and know the English and Japanese names. The whole test is conducted orally as only adults and higher up teenagers must take a written test. – Belts are then awarded after class to the ones who passed.


    Promotions can be stressful for the kids, but what they fail to realize is that it is just as stressful for me. I’m a good teacher, but you always wonder, did I show enough, did they actually understand it, will they remember? I’m sure something every teacher goes threw on test day… We do not want to see out students fail.

    Ippon-Seoi-NageLater on tonight we will also be conducting three adult promotions as well. For 1st Class Brown Belt, (the belt right before Black), and the other for a middle student rank… Adult promotions are a little more involved… Including a written test, demonstration of thrws, counters, and combinations… matt work including holds, chokes, and arm locks; and the guys going for 1st Class Brown must demonstrate Nage no Kata, “The Kata of Throws“… Consisting of Five Sets of Three Throws, preformed both right side, and left side, showing the five types of judo throw that are, Hand Technique, Hip Technique, Foot Technique, Back Sacrifice Technique, and Side Sacrifice Technique… – Not easy, and very tiring.

    Here is a video of, Koaokan Judo Nage no Kata… Only one of many katas higher ranks must know.


    Because I am the best Uki in the club, (I take very nice and safe falls) and I do take great pride in that… I was asked to be Uki, (the dude who will get thrown), for the katas… I don’t mind, really… But I can tell, this is going to be a 4-Advil night… Incase your wondering, thats 30-falls, for one kata. – I’ll regret it tomorrow.

    Judo Promotional Testing! – Update

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  • Filed under: Judo