Neil Ohlenkamp

Judo Background

Neil Ohlenkamp

My approach to teaching Judo is to plant the seeds, nurture them, and then emphasize patience, for quality takes time:

An American tourist visiting a stately home in England asked the head gardener the secret of how the English produced such wonderful lawns. "It's simple," replied the gardener. "You just plant grass seed, and then cut and roll it for five hundred years."

"I really love practicing and teaching Judo. Come and visit my classes anytime. Some of my Judo achievements are listed below, but I am still working on improving my understanding of Judo by studying and attending classes every week."

rokudan"It has been said that a person may have ten years of experience, or one year of experience repeated ten times."
--Yukiso Yamamoto


Mr. Ohlenkamp holds a seventh degree black belt in Judo with over 45 years of continuous training and experience as a competitor, instructor, team coach, and tournament official. He has been awarded black belt rank certificates by the United States Judo Association (USJA), United States Judo Federation (USJF), Southern California Black Belt Association (Nanka Yudanshakai), and the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo, Japan. He was promoted to first degree black belt by the USJF in 1975, and by the Kodokan in 1976. Here's his first Kodokan black belt certificate and his first Kodokan membership card.

Mr. Ohlenkamp has been teaching Judo and jujutsu classes since 1973. He has been the head instructor of the Encino Judo Club since 1985 responsible for classes in up to five locations teaching hundreds of students each year. He has developed highly successful Judo, jujutsu and self defense programs for various health clubs, churches, schools, community centers, youth centers, and recreation centers throughout Southern California. He has trained athletes and coaches in national conferences, training camps, seminars and clinics at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and other cities in the United States, Costa Rica, Belize, Korea, Japan, France and England. He has trained an Olympian, Paralympians, national champions and international medalists, as well as thousands of recreational Judo players and martial artists. Many of his students have distinguished themselves as coaches and instructors as well. He is widely recognized as a leader in the teaching and promotion of Judo for sport and self defense.

Neil Ohlenkamp at first tournament (1969)
Neil Ohlenkamp at his first judo tournament (1969)
Mr. Ohlenkamp was coach and advisor to the Braille Institute of America Judo Team from 1976 to 2006. He was instrumental in the creation of a national Judo program for blind athletes, and served many years as head coach and coordinator for the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes. He was the U.S. Team Coach at the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea, the 1989 World Championships in Manchester, England, and the 1990 World Championships and Games for the Disabled in Assen, Netherlands. Coordinator of numerous elite athlete training camps, national and local tournaments, and other training opportunities for the visually impaired, he has trained many blind national and international champions, as well as other coaches and instructors. He also served as the US Representative to the International Blind Sports Association Judo Technical Committee from 1988 to 1993 and was instrumental in creating the international rules for visually impaired competitors.

Mr. Ohlenkamp has been certified by the United States Judo Association as an instructor, referee, rank examiner, and coach. He was named United States Judo Coach of the Year for 1999. He has also been designated as a Master Coach by the US Association of Blind Athletes. In 2009, Neil Ohlenkamp was elected and served for four years on the Board of Directors of the United States Judo Association. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development from California State University, Northridge.

As a pioneer in promoting martial arts around the world through the internet, Mr. Ohlenkamp created the first comprehensive web page devoted to Judo in 1995. The Judo Information Site at and the influential discussion forum at helped millions of visitors learn about Judo. The Judo Information Site established itself as the most highly acclaimed and comprehensive source of information about Judo on the internet, and it has been the most popular judo site online for the past 20 years. Mr. Ohlenkamp has contributed to many martial arts books and web sites, and has had articles published in many Judo publications.

Black Belt: Judo Skills and Techniques by Neil Ohlenkamp Neil Ohlenkamp is the author of a best selling judo instructional book released in Spring 2006. The U.S. edition is Judo Unleashed, the U.K. hardback edition (and the Russian edition) is Black Belt: Judo Skills and Techniques, the German version is Meisterliches Judo, and the Dutch hardback is Handboek Judo.

You can see Neil Ohlenkamp's Judo classes, teaching in Costa Rica, photos of a visit to the Kodokan in Tokyo, Japan, or photos of a USJA Grassroots Clinic he conducted. Here is an audio podcast called The Squeaky Hip -- An Interview with Neil Ohlenkamp.


In Judo, as in life, when something blocks your path, step aside and move around it.



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