Winter Nationals 2009

Daily Bulletin - December 11, 2009

From Puny Kid to 7th Degree Black Belt

Goltz credits original Sensei for strength, courage

by Imani Tate, Staff Reporter

Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer

Gary Goltz, 7th-Degree Black Belt and Head Sensei of Goltz Judo in Claremont demonstrates a self-defense kata as he throws Matthew Farah, 2nd-Degree Black Belt at the USJA/USJF Winter Nationals held at Damien High School.

Looking at Gary Goltz’s robust physique, hearing his booming baritone filled with mirthful confidence and watching his charismatic connections with strangers and friends alike, it’s hard to imagine him as a puny, introverted boy who was always the last picked for athletic teams.

“I was a physically weak and totally unsportsmanlike kid,” said the Upland resident who is now a 7th-degree black belt judo athlete, successful businessman and respected philanthropist. “I couldn’t throw a baseball or dunk a basketball. “When it was time to pick teams, I was always picked last. I wasn’t physically active,” he confessed, laughing about his childhood challenges.

Goltz found solace viewing the Hollywood antics of The Green Hornet and Bruce Lee. He found strength and courage when he met judo Sensei Kyu Ha Kim at the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, the Jewish equivalent to the YMCA.

He was 11 when he took his first step toward a physically agile life. Gone is the shy boy with no athletic skills. He’s been replaced by the man who serves as tournament director of the United States Judo Association’s and United States Judo Foundation’s 2009 Winter Nationals held last week at Damien High School in La Verne. The owner of Goltz Business Development Group is equally well known as a businessman and Head Sensei of Goltz Judo in Claremont.

Judo was a popular martial arts craze among young boys and martial arts enthusiasts everywhere in the 1960s. The 25,000 members of the USJA and USJF and Olympic competitive status are evidence of the sport’s continuing popularity.

“The first time I saw Mr. Kim, I was just amazed. He was 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, a big guy in great shape with shoulders out to here,” Goltz recalled, stretching his arms wide to indicate the broad expanse of Kim’s shoulders. “He looked like he could take out 20 motorcycle gang bangers. He was so tall he had to duck to get into the room.”

When young Gary stopped gasping, he sighed, “Wow! I’m going to be like that guy some day.”

Gary’s reaction was shared with other boys positively responding to Kim’s “charismatic, soft spoken manners” and respecting his “pure, beautiful techniques, finesse, restraint and execution,” Goltz said.

“I wasn’t the only kid like this,” he added, rapidly blinking his eyes to visually mimic his adolescent awe.

As approximately 2,000 Winter Nationals participants and spectators watched Goltz demonstrate a self-defense kata with his long time student Matthew Farah of Pomona, they realized he emulates his judo master’s technique, a style that doesn’t rely on brute strength.

Goltz also added Kim’s principles about mentoring, charitable work and good character to his own life philosophy.

“Mr. Kim has a great personality. He can engage an entire room full of people. His integrity and kindness draw people to him. That and what I picked up from my dad led to my success in judo and the business world,” Goltz said.

The 56-year-old Pittsburgh native was the second son of advertising executive Julius Goltz and his homemaker wife Thelma. His big brother Mitchell is an architect and lives in Berkeley. Goltz and his wife Sharon have three children: Callae, 27, an emergency medical technician; Nathan, 24, who currently teaches judo at
Combined Martial Science in Chino; and Gabriel, 23, a computer technology major at Chaffey College.

Goltz was a black belt in judo by age 21. Recalling his early childhood habit of quickly abandoning projects he was initially convinced he couldn’t live without; he admitted he almost didn’t get to even the beginner’s yellow belt.

“I had just taken guitar lessons,” he sheepishly said. “My dad bought me a lousy guitar. My mom and brother jumped on him about it, so he went back and got me an expensive one. Then I quit. So when I asked him to buy me a judo uniform, he refused and told me I’d just quit that, too.”

Kim, however, was convinced Gary was determined to build his strength and sporting skills. He intervened and convinced the elder Goltz by promising to buy back the uniform if Gary quit.

“I think Mr. Kim wouldn’t let me quit because he didn’t want to pay for that uniform,” Goltz said, chuckling. “He’s 74 years old now and still tells that story about him and my dad.”

While earning a bachelor’s in rhetoric and communications at the University of Pittsburgh, Goltz worked at a steel mill, drove taxi­cabs and taught judo. After graduating, he became manager of a home health care company that ultimately evolved into Apria Corporation.

He tackled business with the same tenacity and discipline he’d devoted to judo. It didn’t take long for him to move from an annual $16,000 salary to a six-figure one. He enjoyed escalating executive success as a regional vice president in the health care industry and ultimately earned entrepreneurial success. Goltz came to California from Chicago in 1985 as vice president of Foster Medical’s regional office in Upland. He completed a master’s in business administration at Pepperdine University in 1986, founded Goltz Judo Club in 1988 and established Comprehensive Pharmacy Home I.V. Therapy in 1989, a company he sold for $8 million in 1993 (which is now part of Coram a division of CVS) to create his current company.

He doesn’t limit his activities to work and judo.

Always a fan of Academy Award-winning actor Broderick Crawford and his “Highway Patrol series, Goltz modified his own 1955 Buick Century to replicate Crawford’s TV car. Now good friends with Crawford’s son, Kelly, the two men frequently ferry the car to charitable rallies and benefits, parades and public programs throughout the United States.

Goltz additionally sponsors and volunteers for the BMW Motorcycle Ride from Ontario, to Death Valley and Yosemite National Park, along the California coastal route and ending at Crawford's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also finds time to serve as a Los Angeles Police Department Martial Arts Adviser, CHP 11-99 Foundation Life Member, and USJA Chief Operating Officer. His list of accomplishments is lengthy, but the one dearest to his heart involves the man who transformed him from a weak 11-year-old boy to a confident man capable of facing any challenge.

Diagnosed with a heart condition so severe it required a heart transplant, Mr. Kim accepted the fatal consequences and refused the transplant. Goltz convinced him to change his mind, citing family, friends, all the children he’d inspired worldwide and the future judo students he could still inspire.

“He went from hopelessness to health after undergoing the transplant. This man is a model of excellence. We need him on Earth for as long as possible,” Goltz concluded.

Daily Bulletin - December 11, 2009

Judo Foundation's Winter Nationals held in La Verne

Noah Parker of Anaheim attempts a throw on Anthony Vartanian of North Hollywood, both ages 6.

Judo is about much more than sports and winning.

Louis Trammell of Covina, the West Covina Judo Team’s assistant coach who has taught judo for 45 years, and 24-year-old Nathan Goltz of Upland stood on the sidelines of mats on the floor of Damien High School’s gym in La Verne.

Goltz, a judo instructor at Combined Martial Science in Chino, focused his eyes and attention on his student Ethan Reynaga of Chino Hills. Trammell watched Jason Chang of Covina just as closely while the two 6-year-olds stepped confidently forward, bowed, then grabbed each other with the singular goals of throwing and pinning the other.

The two coaches smiled as the boys finished their first match and politely bowed to each other at the United States Judo Association’s and United States Judo Foundation’s 2009 Winter Nationals last weekend.

“Don’t be arrogant” is one of the first values Trammell and Goltz teach the youngsters under their tutelage.

“If you win, win graciously. If you lose, lose graciously,” Trammell advises the West Covina Judo Team boys he and Sensei Aki Yokayama coach at the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Cultural Center.

“It’s no good if you fall apart. You can’t win them all, but you can’t lose them all either. There’s a balance to winning and losing. If you fall apart with this, you’ll have a habit of falling apart,” he added. The tournament drew more than 500 international athletes from 5 years old to elders in master competitions last weekend. The Damien bleachers were filled with 1,500 spectators and supporters. Eighty-five USJA/USJF volunteers kept everything orderly as security specialists, referees, judges, registrars and helpers.

Points are given in judo matches on the basis of throws, pins and submissions, Goltz explained as his eyes shifted to Ethan and up to 11-year-old Aiden Claproth of Chino Hills in the bleachers, watching his young teammate compete and waiting his turn.

The two coaches, father Araz Araradian of Glendale and nation­ally renowned Ultimate Fighter athlete and trainer Roman Mitichyan said judo instructors aim at more than athletic prowess. “Sports in general and judo in particular give kids confidence you can’t get anywhere else,” said Goltz. “In judo, it’s one-on-one, so you have to rely on yourself. You have to be confident, so the kids go out there full force. Giving it their own improves their self-esteem. Getting over nervousness and anxiety makes you a stronger person for life. You do better in everything you do.”

Goltz started judo lessons when he was 4, taught by his father, tournament director and 7th-degree black belt Gary Goltz. Mitichyan, the son of a former national teen wrestling champion in Armenia, began instruction when he was 6. Trammell was inspired by his uncle, a World War II prisoner of war who gained favor with Japanese guards because of his incredible judo skills.

Ethan, speaking in a quiet but firm voice, said “it was my decision to do judo because I like grappling.” Goltz explained grappling sports include wrestling, jiu jitsu and judo. Joseph Riestra, 8, loves judo so much he comes from Victorville to study with Gary Goltz. He also likes getting trophies and new belts, added the boy following in the judo footsteps of his mother, Shannon.

Joe Moreno, his uncle, was Trammell’s hero and the example he felt worthy of emulation. “He survived World War II and a prisoner of war camp because he was so good at judo. He earned the respect of the guards and that made it easier for him to help other prisoners,” recalled the former Air Force staff sergeant and retired Metropolitan Transit District driving instructor and self-defense teacher about Moreno, an Army tank commander.

“I learned self-respect and gained self-confidence because my uncle started teaching me judo as a little boy,” Trammell said. Mitichyan concurred, noting judo “was the best thing for me in terms of the discipline it gave me to face everything in life.”

Araradian played basketball in high school and learned to appreciate the life values his coaches taught him so he could cope with life off the court. He wanted that same sense of self-confidence for his sons, Aram, 6, and Ardem, 10. His wife, Arpy, supports their sons’ sporting endeavors because “they’re doing something active and good,” he said.

Aram tried following Ardem into boxing and kickboxing, but found he preferred judo. He started lessons with Mitichyan, his Sensei, six months ago and is already a yellow belt. “Both boys are learning mental and physical discipline,” Araradian said.

Goltz and Trammell cited examples of how the values taught in judo impact one’s life.

The former feels he can confront and overcome obstacles because of the confidence he enjoys as a 3rd-degree black belt judo athlete. Goltz successfully balances studies as a political science and communications double major at the University of La Verne, work at Combined Martial Sciences and Milliennia, helping his father at Goltz Judo Club, and mentoring Inland Valley youth.

Judo helped his daughter, Valerie, become a high achiever in her early academic life and later as a business executive, Trammell said. She was a USJF Junior National Champion three times when she was 14, 15, and 16 years old. Now 31, she is executive manager for Prudential Insurance in Orange and San Diego counties, her dad proudly reported.

Watch Strike Force & UFC Sokoudjou's matches.

Daily Bulletin - December 1, 2009

Judo tournament to draw national field to Damien

World Champion and Olympic Medalist Jimmy Pedro to be featured clinician

LA VERNE - Jimmy Pedro, two-time Olympic bronze medalist and a world-renowned judo champion, will highlight the United States Judo Association and United States Judo Federation's 2009 Winter Nationals, on Saturday and Sunday at Damien High School.

Pedro will conduct a free clinic for tournament-participating athletes, coaches and officials at 5 p.m. Saturday after the conclusion of that day's competition in the school gym, 2280 Damien Ave. Current members of the association, federation and USA Judo are eligible to compete in the tournament's juniors, seniors, masters and kata (pre-arranged forms) categories.

Gary Goltz, who serves as the association's chief operating officer and head of Goltz Judo in Claremont, said Pedro's appearance and the fact this is the first time in 40 years the two organizations have staged a joint tournament will draw about 500 judo athletes from the United States, Mexico, South American, Asia and Europe to the event.

"Judo is a popular Olympic sport and outstanding system of self-defense," claimed Goltz, the tournament director. "Matches involve skillful throws, holding and submission techniques. Jimmy Pedro is one of the most decorated judo players in American history. He is world-renowned for his judo expertise, coaching ability and training methods."

Pedro won bronze medals in judo at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 2004 Olympics in Athens. A newaza, or ground technique specialist, he is additionally a sixth-degree black belt who also won the Pan Am championships in 1992, 1997, 1998 and 2004 and the World Championships in 1999. He earned gold medals in the Tre Torri in Italy, Shoriki Cup in Japan and Pacific Rim Championships in New Zealand as well as the U.S., British, French, German, Austrian and Korean Open events. He earned a bachelor's in business economics from Brown University and is included in the university's New York Athletic Club and Black Belt magazine's Hall of Fame. A 10-time winner of the United States Judo Association's Junior National Championships, Pedro has been Real Judo magazine's Player of the Year honoree in 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2004.

Goltz said the tournament exemplifies the judo association's and federation's common motto of "building friendships and better people through judo." The two groups represent approximately 25,000 judo players in the United States. Goltz is a seventh-degree black belt, defensive tactics adviser to the Los Angeles Police Department and life member of the California Highway Patrol's 11-99 Foundation.

Hayward Nishioka will serve as the tournament's head referee. Dr. James Lally will be event physician with assistance from Chino Valley Medical Center staff physicians. Aegis Ambulance Service of Monrovia will provide ambulance and emergency medical technicians' support.