1st US Open Kudo Tryouts14 Oct. 2014

James Alexander
Dayton Kudo Branch Chief

On September 28, 2014, the 1st US Open Kudo Tryouts were held in Columbus Ohio. This historic event represents the true birth of Kudo in the United States of America and will act as a catalyst for the spread of Kudo throughout the USA.

This event would not have been possible without the support of the Kudo International Federation Headquarters, especially the head of Kudo, Azuma Takashi Jukucho and, a KIF secretariat, Azuma Yumiko. Special thanks are also due to the three Japanese Branch Chiefs who traveled to the US with Jukucho to act as teachers and referees. I would offer a sincere thanks to Kamiyama Sensei, Nakanishi Sensei, and Komatsu Sensei for their guidance and support.

The day started with a seminar led by Azuma Jukucho to introduce the training and techniques of Kudo to martial artists in the US new to Kudo. After a vigorous warm-up, the participants were led through five hours of Kihon Waza (Basic Techniques), Ido Keiko (Combination Drills), Nage Waza (Throws and Takedowns), Ne Waza (Ground Fighting), and Yakusoku Kumite (prearranged sparring). All of the participants got a very good workout and gained a better understanding of the vigorous training of Kudo.

Upon completion of the seminar, a promotion exam was held for four Kudo members located in the US. The members’ were tested thoroughly and all participants showed a high level of skill. It is with great honor that I can announce the promotion of Mong Phu Sensei and Brandon Halstead Sensei promotion to Shodan, Tatsushi Hirono’s promotion to 4th kyu, and Dru Thatch’s promotion to 6th kyu. Thank you, gentleman for your hard work and dedication.

After the promotion test, it was time to begin the 1st US Kudo Tryouts. There were nine competitors in the tournament; Stephen Powell from Ohio, Armondo Washington, from Ohio, Maksym Samokhin from the Ukraine, Evander Russ from New York, Paul Lee from New York, Nash Kenshin from Indiana, Oscar Machado from Washington D.C., Bryant Ireland from Florida, and Brandon Halstead from Michigan. All of these fighters were advanced martial artists with experience in full contact competition.

In the first round, Stephen Powell defeated Armondo Washington with a full ippon. Maksym Samokhin then defeated Evander Russ with a cross collar choke on the ground. In the third match Paul Lee defeated Nash Kenshin by points. Bryant Ireland then defeated Oscar Machado by points in the fourth match and Brandon Halstead got a bye. In the second round of the competition, Maksym Samokhin defeated Paul Lee by points. Brandon Halstead defeated Bryant Ireland by ippon and Stephen Powell got a bye. Maksym Samokhin went on to defeat Stephen Powell and Brandon Halstead by points winning the tournament. Brandon Halstead came in at second place. Stephen Powell came in third and Evander Russ fought his way up the Loser’s Bracket defeating both Armondo Washington and Nash Kenshin to take fourth place. Congratulations to all the competitors and especially the victor, Maksym Samokhin.

The 1st US Open Kudo Tryouts came to a close as a success. This event has helped raise awareness of Kudo here in the US and will be a launch pad for its spreads across the 50 states. Kudo is a complete martial art including the full range of fighting techniques, as well as, the discipline and spirit of Budo. It is this combination of technical excellence and personal development that sets Kudo apart from other martial arts. It is both a fierce fighting art, as well as, a system to learn respect and humility. It is with great pride that I now count myself a Kudoka and it is my goal to see its prosper and grow in the United State of America.Osu

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