We are raising condolence money for the family of Bella Knight-Weber, on the far right in the above photo, who died on Saturday, 27 June 2020.  She was a 13-year-old attending Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica and had been with Sawtelle Judo Dojo since last year. Her father, Kevan Weber, shared how much Bella loved practicing Judo, being part of Sawtelle Judo Dojo’s Juniors class and displaying her funny humor and quick wit when challenged. She loved our instructors and her fellow students. We loved and admired her as well. Bella is with some of the other teenagers in our Juniors’ class.

She was a very promising student, who was incredibly determined, focused and very diligent. Starting at 6:00 pm, she would practice with the young 6-13 year old Juniors class and then, practiced with the adult class until 9:00 pm. Between and after classes, she would write detailed notes about what she had learned before she left for home. She was a fighter at Judo tournaments. Win or lose, she would remain unfazed and just listen to feedback or encouragement without a hint of complaining.

Being part Japanese, Bella wanted to first practice Judo to reconnect with her Japanese heritage. Yes, of all things that she could have done, Bella chose Judo. She was a tough kid who took her introduction to Judo well as the other teenagers with many years under their belt were tossing and sweeping her off her feet, and unceremoniously slamming her to the mat with a giant “THUD!” But, she just got up right away. She listened to our feedback and wrote down notes every evening before leaving for home after practice. Over time, she improved her techniques as we started to work with her more closely. At the beginning of the year, she entered two tournaments and got 2nd place in both. Then, we all suddenly entered lockdown.

We, the instructors, and members of Sawtelle Judo Dojo, are supporting Bella’s family in this time of grieving and bereavement. Let us respect Bella’s honor in this very tragic and most moving event. Step back for a moment and empathize with her parents and siblings first and what they must be going through. We practice and teach Judo following one of the main Judo maxims, Jita Kyoei, 自他虚栄, or Mutual Welfare and Benefit. In another words, “I scratch your back and you scratch mine, and we will both be happy for that.”

Your contribution would greatly assist the family, and be very much appreciated by them for your show of support. Since we remain closed for Judo practice, our Dojo will honor Bella on Sunday, 5 July at 10:30 am in a ZOOM virtual memorial.

Thank you for your consideration,

Sawtelle Judo Dojo Yudansha (Black Belts)