Judo club throws, grapples their way to success

By Shelby Tankersley

Judo is one of the many club sports that OU offers. Recently, the team has experienced success at the competitions they attend.

The team accepts people of all skill levels, they also go around and compete in tournaments when they can.

“Since I have been the president of the club, we have been very successful. We have placed in every competition in our respective divisions and weight class.” Anthony Hewins, President of the judo club, said.

The team is mainly student run, meaning they do much of the work themselves. One of their Sensei’s is a former student from MSU. In this club, students from past and present are able to work together at something they all enjoy.

During their last tournament, much of the team was unable to go due to the noro-virus that took over a large portion of the campus. However, they have done well at prior tournaments according to their president.

“Our last tournament, I took second along with David Terzano, in a different weight class, and Aram Shahakiam took third in my division. Sadly, Aram and I had to fight each other. That’s just the way the brackets worked out, so it wasn’t possible to have us both get first.” Hewins said.

Judo is similar to wrestling or grappling in the sense that it involves a lot of rolling around on the ground. That being said, the members of the team need to pay attention to their technique and position.

“Judo is one of the martial arts where size can mean absolutely nothing when paired against a skilled opponent.” Joe Baker, Self Defense Expert, said. “It’s very common to see a 125 pound woman completely dominate a 250 pound man through quick thinking, strong technical knowledge, and a determined constitution.”

It’s that same quick thinking that led Coach Frank Cucci to a first place title in the Black Belt division at Michigan State University.

“If you can beat Frank, chances are you should not be messed with because of his skill and it requires most of us to fight up 2 or more weight classes.” Hewins said.

While weight isn’t everything in Judo, it can certainly be helpful to be the heavier competitor. It can be exceedingly difficult to throw around someone who is in a higher weight class than yourself. The team’s opportunity to practice with a bigger opponent like Cucci most likely gives them an edge during competitions.

One thing is certain; the Judo team is learning how to throw down with skill.