The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Ladies and gentleman I give you JUDO at the White House…

The President and First Lady watch a judo demonstration on the South Lawn, which was part of an event promoting Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid.


Ryan Reser is the uke for a local student. Myles Porter (Paralympian!!!) was the other judoka in blue.¬†Myles is the third visually impaired athlete to be ranked nationally among his sighted peers. ūüôā

  • Filed under: Judo, News
  • Do you know amazing people?

    Six Degrees of SeparationI was speaking to my dad tonight after he got home from the hospital.

    I had went to visit him this past weekend, and while I was there I gave him a photo of my friend Dr. Andre Watson, and myself, a photo that was taken at the Pennsylvania State Judo Championships… But, I had forgotten to write the information on the back of the photo for dad. So he had called tonight to tell me he was home, and ask for the information.

    After telling him about Andre, he mentioned how nice it is that I know such people, and how he wishes he could meet Andre some day. I really thought nothing of it till now, but I really do know some amazing people.

    You see, my friend Dr. Andre Watson, is a black belt in judo, and a member of the US Paralympic Blind Judo Team. He fought in the 2008 Paralympic Summer Games, and Parapan American Games, visited many countries including Brazil, China, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and many states in the USA. He’s received his master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Widener University. – He’s blind…

    Rich (Left) and Dr. Andre Watson (Right)

    I think that qualifies as amazing. Don’t you?

    I can think of a few other people I happen to know. Because of Andre, I also know Marc Vink, Paralympic Judo Team Leader, and Heidi Moore, Director of Judo Development for the US Association of Blind Athletes.

    I can also think of some people who truly inspire me. Elaine, my Orientation and Mobility instructor; she has dedicated her life to helping people like me, who cannot see well to get around safe.

    My first judo instructor Dr. Frank Heifer, who just happened to be the superintendent of our school, back when I first started judo, and many other teachers in the school system that happened to also be judo black belts, that until I started judo, I did not know where black belts.

    Other friends such as Cole Massie and Skilled Companion Ilia, and their family who inspire me to keep working hard no matter what. Who shared the most private parts of their lives as a family and a child with a disability on national television. Whose service dog won the 2008 ASPCA Dog of the Year, and as a family won the 2009 Honda Helpful Award. He’s helped inspire the writing of this blog, and me to seek orientation and mobility training to become an independent¬†traveler.

    Yea, I do know some amazing people!

    So, who do you know? A teacher, doctor, son, service person? Who are the people who inspire you, and are the amazing people you call friends… Blog it! And share your story…

    Hell, I’m a legally blind photographer, and a black belt in judo myself. Do I inspire any one? Let me know!

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  • Filed under: Personal
  • 2009 Pennsylvania State Judo Championships

    aventure-judo-18This past weekend we¬†attended¬†the¬†2009 Pennsylvania State Judo Championships. I had six junior students attend plus Sensei Andy, Sensei Fred and myself. I think we made out alright, though I think we could do a little better. I’ve very proud of my students as for some of them, this was their first ever judo event. It’s not easy when your first ever event is the State Championships!

    I had three matches myself that day in Mens Open¬†category¬†at 145lbs (66kg)… My first match the guy just muscled me. I went in for a dropping shoulder throw and I missed! He got in behind me, and… choked me out… The good thing is you don’t remember much…

    My second match I did much better… This time again with the dropping shoulder throw I got under the guy and planted him in the center of the matt with a perfect throw – Ippon! The match was over in less then 20-seconds. Nice crowed reaction too. Every one complimented me on the nice throw!

    My third match I just screwed up. It was a skinny brown-belt guy, likely on the light side of 145lbs. I had control of him; or so I thought… At one point I¬†actually¬†moved his whole body with a foot-sweep, but… didn’t¬†follow¬†threw… He scored two, 1/2-point techniques on me, and the match was over… That one upset me more then being choked-out!

    My students did well:

    • Nick took 1st!
    • Matt took 1st!
    • Brandon took 2nd!
    • Jason, Attended… He was my youngest student, sadly he did not place. But I’m very proud of him. It was his very first judo¬†tournament.
    • Paul took 2nd!
    • Justin took 3rd!
    • Sensei Andy took 3rd in Mens Masters Over 30.
    • Friend, Dr. Andre Watson¬†took 1st in Mens Masters and 2nd in Mens Open 90kg.

    Nick with 1st!


  • Filed under: Judo, Personal