Nanka Referee Administration
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Southern California Judo Community has been hosting Judo tournaments as early 1921, and many of the referees from those days were the founding pioneers of Nanka Judo Yudanshakai (Southern California Judo Black Belt Association). In the 1964 Olympic Games, Mr. Kenneth Kuniyuki from Nanka officiated the event as a referee, and many other Nanka referees such as Mr. Sego Murakami, Mr. Harold Sharp and Mr. Shigeo Tashima attended the event as judges and international dignitaries. In 2016, Mr. Gary Takemoto refereed the Olympic Games, and Dr. Greg Moore refereed the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Today, the Nanka Referee Program continues to be one of the largest referee development programs in the United States with over 100 referees ranging from International to Local licenses.
• Be a current USA Judo/USJF/USJA Member in good standing.
• Maintain a 1 year certification in CDC Concussion Training
• Maintain a 1 year certification in USOC Safe Sport Training
• Maintain a 2 year Background Screening
• Be proficient with the current International Judo Federation and USA Judo Referee Commission Competition Rules
International A Licensed Referee (IJF-A): International Licensed Referees are the highest level of arbitration in the sport of Judo. IJF-A referees have successfully passed all of the practical examinations and evaluations by the International Judo Federation Referee Commission, and received licensing to officiate any competition around the world. All International A Referees are eligible to officiate the IJF Tour events such as the Grand Slams and Grand Prixs, but realistically, only the IJF-A’s rated in the top 50 in the world are selected. For the World Championships and Olympic Games, the International Judo Federation has a rigid process of selecting the top 18 ranked referees in the world. This number is expected to be reduced to 12-14 by the Tokyo Olympics. Which will make becoming an Olympic Referee very rare.
Continental B Licensed Referee (IJF-B): Continental Licensed Referees qualify to officiate any competition within the Pan American area, as well as many international championships sanctioned by the International Judo Federation. Continental Referees have successfully passed all written and practical examinations of the USA Judo Referee Commission, Pan American Judo Confederation Referee Commission and the International Judo Federation Referee Commission.
Continental Referees that maintain B4 ratings for a minimum of 2 consecutive years, qualify to be a candidate for the International Referee license. Candidates must be recommended by the USA Judo Referee Commission and the Pan American Judo Confederation Referee Commission, then be selected by the International Judo Federation Referee Commission for testing.
U.S. National Licensed Referee (N0-N4): National N1-N4 Referees are licensed to officiate all local and state championships held coast to coast in the United States, as well as national evaluation events sanctioned by USA Judo. All National Referees are required to be evaluated at least once per calendar year to maintain this rank. National licensed referees are categorized in 5 subdivisions: N0 are inactive National Referees hoping to reactivate their status by demonstrating their skills and qualities for 6 months to 1 year probationary period to be reinstated to N1 status. N1 are National referees that have passed a written and practical examination, and have successfully fulfilled all requirements for national certification. N2 are National referees that have passed all evaluations with positive ratings to qualify to officiate the USA Judo Youth National Championships, USA Judo Junior Olympics, USA Judo Presidents Cup, USJF/JA National Championships and USJA/JF Winter Nationals. N3 are National referees that have performed exceptionally well on their annual evaluations and qualify to officiate all of the National Championships in the USA. N4 National Gold referees have performed and maintained the highest level ratings of national arbitration for a minimum of 4 consecutive years and qualify to officiate all National Championships as well as some international events approved by the U.S. Referee Commission.
Prerequisites for a National Referee License are:
a. A minimum age of 18 years old.
b. A minimum rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt in Judo)
c. Be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident
d. Have been a U.S. Regional Referee for the minimum of 1 year.
e. Be a current USA Judo Member in good standing.
f. Maintain a 1 year certification in CDC Concussion Training
g. Maintain a 1 year certification in USOC Safe Sport Training
h. Maintain a 2 year Background Screening
Certification required (written and practical test, fee ($60 or as specified) payable to NANKA).
U.S. Regional Licensed Referee: Regional referees have passed a written and practical examination, and have successfully fulfilled all requirements for regional certification. Regional referees officiate local, regional and state tournaments. There is no minimum rank requirement and the minimum age required is 14. A Regional Referee can referee all age/rank divisions. Certification required (written and practical test, fee ($40 or as specified) payable to NANKA).
[Note: Nanka is currently requiring a written and practical Regional test, although USA Judo recognizes Regional certification from a National or International referee (which Nanka has allowed in the past). Nanka is also allowing a minimum age of 13 yrs for Regional certification, if the candidate is a junior referee with adequate experience and maturity/ability.]
Local Referee: Referees at local and regional tournaments and scrimmages. Certification required (written and practical test, fee ($30 or as specified) payable to NANKA). No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age is 12 years.
The head referee on each mat (Jury) shall be responsible to ensure that a Local Referee under the age of 17 works on a team (team = referee + 2 judges) with certified (Regional/National/International) referee(s). A local referee 12-16 years of age requires approval (and supervision) of Jury and/or Chief Referee to officiate in 17 year and older division matches).
Club Referee: Learn to referee in the dojo and at club events, under the supervision of a club instructor and/or a certified referee (Regional/National/International). No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age is 10 years. Certification requires written test, practical test and fee ($30 or as specified) payable to NANKA.
Club Referees under the age of 17 shall always be under the supervision of at least one certified Regional, National or International referee.
Any Club Referee 10-16 years of age can referee within his/her own age group (i.e., a 10-12 year old Club Referee can referee 12 year old & under division matches; a 13-16 year old Club Referee can referee 16 year old and under division matches). Club Referees 17 years and older can referee all age/rank division matches, also under the supervision described above.
Certification as a Club Referee, if obtained, or approval of the head Instructor and a certified referee (Regional/National/International), allows a Club Referee to begin officiating and training as a Junior/Novice Referee at Local and Regional tournaments and scrimmages at the Junior Referee minimum age of 10.
Junior/Novice Referee: Referees at Local & Regional tournaments and scrimmages. No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age is 10 years for Junior Referee. (Novice Referee designation refers to age 17 and older.) Certification requires written test, practical test and fee ($30 or as specified) payable to NANKA.
Any Junior Referee (10-16 years of age) can referee within his/her own age group (i.e., a 10-12 year Junior Referee can referee 12 year old & under division matches; a 13-16 year old Junior Referee can referee 16 year old and under division matches). Junior/Novice Referees shall officiate under the supervision of certified Regional, National and/or International referees. Novice Referees 17 years and older can referee all age/rank division matches, also under the supervision of certified Regional, National and/or International referees.
The head referee on each mat (Jury) shall be responsible to ensure that a Junior/Novice Referee works on a team (team = referee + 2 judges) with certified (Regional/National/International) referee(s). At the discretion of the Jury and/or Chief Referee, a Junior Referee may be allowed to officiate matches in the next higher age group (i.e., a 10-12 year old Junior Referee may referee 16 year old and under division matches; a 13-16 year old Junior Referee may referee division matches of any age or rank) if that individual demonstrates the maturity and ability to do so to the Jury, based on that day’s performance.
General Requirement: All youth referees (under the age of 17) referenced above shall be accompanied on the mat by judges who are certified Regional, National or International referees, and shall be supervised by National or International Jury (head referee on the mat) at all tournaments and scrimmages.
The youth referee’s authority shall be limited to conducting and scoring the match. All decisions affecting the safety of the competitors shall be the responsibility of the adult oversight (certified judges and Jury). [Note: this last general requirement was requested by the USJA legal team.]
Black font indicates original Nanka Junior Referee guidelines, which are currently used within Nanka.
Gray font indicates additions to the original Nanka guidelines, which were formally adopted by the USJA, upon Referee Committee approval, legal review, and adoption by their board of directors.
Italicized font indicates my explanatory notes.
Nanka Referee Committee
Nanka’s Director of Refereeing:
Gary Takemoto, IJF-A
• USA Judo Referee Commission Chairman
• 2016 Olympic Referee, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
• Officiated six IJF World Championships
• Officiated 28 IJF Grand Prix International Tournaments
• Officiated 24 IJF Grand Slam International Tournaments
Dr. Greg Moore, IJF-A
Richie Endow, IJF-B
Mary Wakabayashi, National N3
Nicole Harada, National N1
IJF-A International Referees of Nanka:
Gary Takemoto, 2016 Olympic Referee, Harbor Judo Dojo
Dr. Greg Moore, 2020 & 2016 ParaOlympic Referee, Desert Judo Club
Hayward Nishioka, Los Angeles City College Judo
Frank Morales, L.A. Tenri Dojo
Dr. Mark Yamanaka, San Shi Judo Dojo
Dan Takata, Nishi Judo Club
IJF-B Continental Referees of Nanka:
Richie Endow, San Gabriel Judo/San Fernando Dojo
Scott Galles, Antelope Valley Judo Club
Glenn Koyama, San Gabriel Judo
Robert Oishi, Taishi Judo Club
Alain Wilkinson, Encino Judo Club
Low Dong, Gardena Judo Club [Emeritus]
PJC-C Pan American Referees of Nanka:
Daniel Lee, Irvine Judo Club
Terry Kunihiro, San Gabriel Judo
Bernard Semel, San Diego
U.S. National Referees of Nanka:
N4 National Gold [N4 National Gold referees have performed and maintained the highest levels of national arbitration for a minimum of 4 consecutive years and qualify to officiate all National Championships as well as some international events approved by the U.S. Referee Commission]:
Mark Hays, Unidos Judo Club
N3 [National referees that have performed exceptionally well on their annual evaluations and qualify to officiate all of the National Championships in the U.S.]:
Babak Esmaeili, Southwest Judo Academy
David Honda, South Bay Judo Club
Andrew Kageyama, UCLA Judo Club
Derrick Kerr, Nanka
Tomonao Matsuoka, San Gabriel Judo
George Membrila, Long Beach Judo Dojo
Scott Momii, Norwalk Judo Dojo
Jun Sung Oh, Goltz Judo Club
Bryce Oishi, Taishi Judo Club
Chase Oishi, Taishi Judo Club
Torie Oishi, Taishi Judo Club
Christopher Sakoda, Fight Capital
Ernest Smith, Barstow Judo Club [Emeritus]
Craig Takeshita, Long Beach Judo Dojo
Mary Wakabayashi, Bunasawa-Kai
Aki Yokoyama, West Coving Judo Dojo [Emeritus]
N2 [National referees that have maintained the requirements for national certification and have passed all annual evaluations for this rank. N2 Referees qualify to officiate the USA Judo Youth National Championships, USA Judo Junior Olympics, USA Judo Presidents Cup, USJF/JA National Championships and USJA/JF Winter Nationals]:
Renato Ferrara, Goltz Judo Club
Gary Goltz, Goltz Judo Club
Cheryl Harai, Central California Judo Club
Tom Nakamura, Gardena Judo Club
George Putnum II, Heisei Judo Club
N1 [Regional referees that have passed a written and practical examination, and have successfully fulfilled all requirements for national certification. (2 year Background Screening and maintain the Safe Sport and CDC Concussion Training Certifications)]:
Kelly Barnes, San Shi Judo Dojo
Bryan Davis, L.A. Tenri Dojo
Liane Harada, Harbor Judo Dojo
Nicole Harada, Harbor Judo Dojo
Yahya “John” Houssni, Southwest Judo Academy
Jeff Lucas, Arizona
Richard Mattox, Antelope Valley Judo Club
Reza Marivani, Gardena Judo Club
Scott Mendias, Goltz Judo Club
Lorenzo Menzel, San Gabriel Judo
Joseph Murek, Arizona
Wataru Namba, Long Beach Judo Dojo [Emeritus]
Victor Ortiz, Ortiz Judo
Kenji Osugi, Sawtelle Judo Dojo
Michael Trelinski, Sawtelle Judo Dojo
George Uema, Southwest Judo Academy
Isabelle Varela, Anaconda Academy
U.S. Regional Referees of Nanka:
Regional licensed referees have passed a written and practical examination for club, local and state tournaments. Regional referees qualify to officiate State Championships and after 1 year can be recommended to test for national licensing.
Arthur Alvarado, Valley Judo Institute
Audi Jones, Antelope Valley Judo
Eric Katrdzhyan, Valley Judo Institute
Aleksandar Khchirian, Valley Judo Institute
Maelynn Langarica, San Gabriel Judo
Hunter Nagai, Sawtelle Dojo
Jordan Nagai, Sawtelle Dojo
Jason Sakuda, San Gabriel Judo
Kay Sughara, Norwalk Dojo
Marisol Torro, Sawtelle Judo Dojo
Conor Uyekawa, Norwalk Dojo
Nanka Local Referees:
Antonio Alvarado, Valley Judo Institute
Kristofer Arrey, Mojica Judo
David Castillo, Taishi Judo
Liam McNair, Mojica Judo
George Oganesyan, Antelope Valley Judo
Steven Salazar, Norwalk Dojo
International Judo Federation Referee Commission
Head Referee Director
Armen Bagdasarov, Uzbekistan
• 1996 Olympic Silver Medalist
Head Referee Director
Ki Young Jeon, Korea
• 1996 Olympic Champion
• 3x World Champion
Head Referee Director
Florin Daniel Lascau, Romania
• 1992 Olympic Competitor
• 1991 World Champion
Referee Commissioner, Pan American
Ovidio Garnero, Argentina
• 2012 Olympic Referee
• 2008 Olympic Referee
• 2004 Olympic Referee
• 2000 Olympic Referee
• 1988 Olympic Referee
• 15x World Referee
IJF Referee Supervisors
Jose Manuel Cortes, Spain
• 3x Olympic Referee
Neil Adams, Great Britain
• 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist
• 1980 Olympic Silver Medalist
• 1981 World Champion
Catherine Fleury, France
• 1992 Olympic Champion
• 1989 World Champion
Carlo Knoester, Austrailia
• Olympic Referee
• 2x World Referee
Giuseppe Maddaloni, Italy
• 2000 Olympic Champion
Udo Quellmalz, Germany
• 1996 Olympic Champion
• 1992 Olympic Bronze Medalist
• 1995 World Champion
• 1991 World Champion
Nanka Referee Polo Shirts still available in limited sizes!
$35 each (Subsidized by Nanka. Thank you, Nanka!)
Please contact Richie Endow at firstname.lastname@example.org
The complete Sport and Organization Rules for the Olympic Sport of JUDO [Go to: www.ijf.org, then to documents, then to IJF Sport and Organisation Rules (SOR) – 09.03.2022 – ENG (Sport Commission) updated in last 30 days]