170 Battle in Wailuku For Judo State Championship
By Cy Yoshizu
It has been eight years since the Wailuku Hongwanji Judo Club last hosted the Honpa Hongwanji State Judo Championships.
Over 170 judoka competed in the 54th Honpa Hongwanji Judo Federation State Championships, which was held at the Henry Perrine Baldwin High School gymnasium this past weekend.
The two-day event featured nine clubs from across the state, which included Aiea Hongwanji Judo Club, Hilo Hongwanji Judo Club, Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin Judo Academy, Kona Hongwanji Judo Club, Makawao Hongwanji Judo Club, Mililani Judo Club, Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club, Puna Hongwanji Judo Club, and Wailuku Hongwanji Judo Club.
“I think that’s a good thing for Maui,” said tournament head Herbert Kogasaka. “It brings more judo exposure to our island. The Honpa Hongwanji Judo Federation State Championships is a great tournament because it brings the Honpa (Hongwanji) churches together on an annual basis. It also helps to unify the Hongwanji organizations as well.”
The first day started with the kata competition. The kata competition is a judged detailed choreographed pattern of movement. It is divided into two groups. The Nage no kata showcases fifteen throwing techniques and the Katame no kata displays pinning techniques, chokes, and joint locks.
Kona Hongwanji Judo Club took 1st in both divisions one and two for the Nage no kata. The Puna Hongwanji Judo Club swept the Katame no kata category in both the minor and senior divisions.
Following the kata competition was the dantai, or team competition.
Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club came out on top with nine team event titles out of 13 divisions. The team won the Male Minor A, B, and C; Male Intermediate, Junior, Senior, and Open; and Female Intermediate, Junior divisions.
“We had nine teams entered and we finished with nine titles,” said Vince Sokugawa, head Judo instructor at Pearl City Hongwanji. “For the individual events, we had 16 champions.”
In preparation for the tournament, Sokugawa stated that his team practices five days a week for the Honpa Hongwanji State Judo Championships.
Makawao Hongwanji Judo Club took 1st in the team Female Minor A (Kandace Merrit, Leinaala Paricio) division. The Female Open team (Miyuki Patricio, Shuana Johnson, Michelle Hanada) for Makawao Hongwanji Judo Club reclaimed their Female Open title by beating the team from the Puna Hongwanji Judo Club (Tori Kaya and Melani Isa).
The Wailuku Hongwanji Judo Club won the Female Minor C team (Jillian Ikehara, Taryn Sato) by defeating the team from Makawao Hongwanji Judo Club (Aryana Johnson and Nanea Estrella).
Concluding the first day of competition was the kojin, or individual open and senior division matches.
Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club had six male champions – Tyson Baniaga (Male Senior 150), Jonah Hoshino (Male Senior 170), Jordan Factora (Male Open 145), Stephen Brewer (Male Open 170), Tappy Andrews (Male Open 200), and Nathaniel Henderson (Male Open 200+).
Kevin Rapoza (Male Senior 170+) was Hilo Hongwanji Judo Club’s champion.
Clayton Enoka of Puna Hongwanji Judo Club placed 1st for the Male Open under 125 pound division.
“The tournament was alright,” said Aiea Hongwanji’s Joven Haramura. “I’m just hurt so I can’t play good because I hurt my shoulder two weeks ago.”
The last time Haramura competed in a tournament was in 1996.
“It was a good tournament,” said male open under 125 pound runner up Justin Raymond (Kona Hongwanji Judo Club). “I tried my best. Maui is nice and good for place for a state tournament. It has a different feel from the other islands.”
Makawao Hongwanji Judo Club’s Miyuki Patricio won the Female Open 125 pound bout, and Michelle Hanada placed first at Female Open 145 pound weight bracket.
“It was really fun. I don’t compete a lot, so it felt good to go against everyone else,” said Patricio. “I had to go against my daughter (Myah Mooney), for my final match. I was kind of nervous, but I think she did really well. She was really aggressive. For the final match, I got a penalty, but then I ended up pinning her. It was a good experience.”
Aimee Shiraki, a 2013 HHSAA State Judo champion, of Kona Hongwanji Judo Club took first for the Female Senior 151+ pound division.
Day two of the tournament consisted of minor, junior, intermediate, and novice kojin division bouts.
Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club had the most individual titles with 16 junior champions.
“My opponent was defensive and fought hard, but I threw with a 2nd effort and got the ippon,” stated 2013 Hawaii High School Athletic Association State Judo Champion Teshya Alo, after winning her Female Jr. under 145 pound division match.
Alo, who is a member of the Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club, faced Skye Matsuura of the Hilo Hongwanji Judo club in the final match, whom she had faced before in the 2013 HHSAA State Judo Championship finals.
“The tournament was fun and a change from the competition on Oahu. Maui is nice,” said Kristen Kojima.
Kristen Kojima, also a 2013 HHSAA State Judo champion won her division in the Female Jr. under 105 pound weight bracket.
“My opponent was strong, and he never gave up,” explained Jake Brett from the Pearl City Judo Club. “I grabbed him with a strong grip and threw him with a drop knee seio nage. It is really exciting for Maui to have a state tournament because it is a good experience for me.”
Brett went on to win his Male Minor B under 90 pound weight division.
“My match was very tough and I had a good opponent,” stated Kona Hongwanji Judo Club, Male Intermediate under 125 pound champion Marshall Sugai. “Hard work and practice paid off, and I am so happy I won. I am thankful for the support from my instructors and my teammates. Maui is a good place for a tournament because it is better than Oahu.”
Kona Hongwanji Judo Club finished the day with 4 individual titles.
Wailuku Hongwanji Judo club had three male junior champions – Caleb Chai (Male 6yr under 62), Austin Lugo (Male Minor A 80+), and Troy Waki (Male Jr. under 165). Sena McAlinden (Female 6yr under 72), Maddison McAlinden (Female Minor A 80+), and Taytum Chai (Female Minor B under 55) took female titles.
Kandace Merritt (Female Minor A under 50) and Kylie Ferrier (Female Minor B 91+) were Makawao Hongwanji Judo Club’s female junior champions, and Nainoa Komoda-Maio (Male Minor C 126+) won a male title.
At the closing of the tournament, the Kitahara Ippon Award, which is given to the club that had the most ippons, was presented to the Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club. The Richard Uno Award (Outstanding Male Judoka) was awarded to Philip Dolor Jr. of Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club. Skye Realin of Mililani Hongwanji Judo Club was presented the Masato Kawashima Award (Outstanding Female Judoka).
The 55th Honpa State Judo Championships will be held at Puna Hongwanji next year.