Who are the best judo coaches?

Who are some of the best judo coaches/teachers in the US and in what cities are they located? I mean people who you definitely would not pass up training with? Please explain what their strengths as teachers/coaches are.
Although I am completely new to judo, I'll begin, since I am witnessing some outstanding teaching of concepts and teaching for a beginner:

Sensei Steven Alphabet, Atlanta, GA

From the Northwest perspective (local clubs), here's my 2cp...

Beautiful Judo = Obukan Portland OR, Sensei Toshio Ichinoe

Technical Strategy = Rod Conduragis

Scrapper Smashmouth Judo = Bert Mackey

There's 2cents worth from my corner of the USA.

LOL at Bert Mackey! That's one tough mofo! I've also trained at Alphabet's place in Atlanta. I liked him too.

Pat Burris has my vote down in Oklahoma. Bob Corwin in Yorkville, Il is also a great "unknown".

A few I admire, all in the mid-Atlantic:

Yonezuka - Cranford, NJ

Andy Ruggiero (from Yone's lineage) - Brick, NJ

Lou Moyerman - Philadelphia

Art Bourgeau - Philadelphia

Ray and Ron Huxen - Philadelphia

I would never underestimate the value of a good coach but I also think finding and/or developing great training partners is equally valuable. I think that is part of the difference between head coach/personal coach/sempai/training partner.

LeoryJ, I kind of see Bert as the whole package - sits in the board meetings, can teach, coach, rumble, sign up for a nage no kata demo when there were no other takers, fix the door after you fall through it, then do kiwi rolls after practice...

I'd put Doug Graham down for the NW as well, although he is not at Kent Schools any more. He is more the type to only try to say a little that means a lot.

In Chicago it is always the Cohens and Tono, I only had the priv of training at Tohkon when I was there though. Just a great environment there.

As I recall we had some great clinics in the NW with Swain and Burris. I think with Swain it's the detail and the precision, there's nothing he's doing that he can't explain. With Burris, he just makes it very straightforward.

If you are in the NY area some judo coaches are

Arkadiy Aronov-Spartak Sports Club: good technique, conditioning and huge Russian guys, Taraje Williams-Murray also trains there

Parnel Legros-Starett City: Has a lot of good competitors such as Harry and Garry St. Ledger, Dynell Pinder, Darious and Dennis

Jason Morris Judo Club: Has a lot of good teens to practice with and is very welcoming

Most of these clubs are pretty small though, but the coaches are very welcoming ;)

Doug Berliner- Sport Judo-Washington DC area

Maurice Allen- Sport Judo-Washington DC area

Llyod Irvin- LLoyd Irvin Martail Arts- Maryland area

Stan Wentz-Texas

A lot of it dependson exactly what you need, your level, age, etc. Assuming senior non beginner who wants so to be competitive in "sport" Judo.

The Cohen Brothers (Irwin and Steve) in Chicago (Buffalo Grove, Specifically, I think)

Eddie Liddie, at the USOTC in Colorado Springs

The coaching staff at San Jose State U in San Jose, CA

Pat Burris in Norman, Oklahoma

Jason Morris, based on his track record so far.

Gerald Lafon of Judo America, in San Diego,CA, although Gerald does well with everybody from kids to elite athletes. His daughter is Valerie Gotay, who is the subject of another thread).

Yone Yunezka, Cranford, NJ

Dr. Flores in San Diego (San Shi Judo)

There are several good coaches in S. Florida who are of Cuban descent, whose names escape me. Hector ? and Eddie Arrezcieta(sp), among others. Ricardo Tuero(sp)is a fantastic player and coach, very experienced, former member of Cuban team.

At more of a grass roots develpmental level, there are tons of great coaches, too many to do justice to.

Ben R.

Jim Hrbek, Judo America, Albany, NY (I think, it is New York, not sure of the city).

do not forget the likes of ogasawara in NJ... he didnt develop celitz schutz and his daughter, liliko, by pure luck.. =)

mojica in LA is a great coach too.

i dont think the problem with US Judo is coaching.. i honestly believe that we have great instruction all across the US-- or at least within a 2 hour drive from just about anywhere you might be.

the problem with US Judo is that we cant retain our athletes from HS to college... reasons for that are wide and varied, but the honest truth is that we have juniors who are every bit as good as any in the world. only then they vanish to go into football, basketball, baseball, soccer, or some higher-class university that has no form of judo for a national-level player who has the potential to go further.

i will bite...

alphabet has always been a good coach. he is an excellent speaker when coaching matside. he has good ideas and dynamically speaks his mind. he has always done nothing but help me on the mat. if anyone knows, its very hard to listen to mat side commentary, but u can somehow magically here what this man says. he is truly a good coach.

rodney imamura was a great coach too. he taught me that there is nothing more exhausting than judo. he taught me the japanese way and i was slapped in the face with a belt once b/c i spoke, he pushed us to our limits in terms of conditioning and randori, physically and mentally. for this 5 years of training I am truly grateful; i feel like i could train anywhere after this training.

leo white. leo in the words of a good man is, "a man that has forgotten more judo than I will ever know." This is completely true. even though leo is a big guy, he moves with extraordinary speed. he also is a tell it like it is coach and offers good constructive criticism.

bruce toups. this man, after i had done judo for 5 years, finally cleared up the reason i can't do sasae. he had good, clear, detailed instruction and is able to stomp the crap out of a lot of people, even at his ripe old age.

bottom line. i feel grateful for my coaches. i have had a lot of good instruction and it has allowed me to develop my game, my way. the instruction isn't so structured that i only do what they do, but their instruction allows u to develop what is inside u, which is important, b/c everyone is unique and everyone does something different, even if slight.

if anyone ever gets a chance to work with any of these people, open ur ears and be prepared, b/c u have truly been blessed.

Raimundo Marquez - Vineland Judo Club

Great guy, great club, if you're ever in the south jersey area, check him out. It's hard not to love training in there with that man. His love of Judo couldn't be more obvious.

grambo - are u from s. jersey?

If you're ever in Oklahoma - Pat Burris - Oklahoma City, OK (Moore, OK - actually) - USA Stars Foundation

If you're ever in the Dallas/Forth Worth area - Tommy Dyer - Fort Worth, TX - Fort Worth Judo Club

My personal hero - John Anderson, Baltimore Judo Club.


I am gordinho, millville to be exact. I've just recently moved to Oklahoma City.

gotcha.....we've been in contact. how u doing?

Coaches are less important than good training partners.

good man. How's your uchimata comming along?

Having a good time with the ol' uchimata.

Coaches are less important than good training partners."

I couldnt dissagree with you more on that statement. I would much rather have a coach who knows what he's talking about, and who can teach you the diff bet/w shit and real judo and zero training partners, then a ton of guys at my weigh to work out with and a random coach. Whats the use of training partners if your judo is garbidge? None, because theose "good training partners" couldn't possibly be good without a good coach.