My son, Damian and I had been members of the Yuma Family YMCA from 2011-2015. We recently decided to come back and rejoin the YMCA. I was recently inspired to become more involved in the YMCA. I took a certification class to become a spinning instructor and joined the YMCA team as an employee.

This has enabled me to help bring the Yuma Territorial Judo Club to the Yuma Family YMCA. I have been involved in Judo for a few years and wanted to help find a new home for the Yuma Territorial Judo Club. I now also work for the YMCA as an assistant Judo instructor. Yuma Territorial Judo Club will be taught by Sensei Alvarez, who also just joined the YMCA staff team. Bringing Judo to the YMCA is a passion that I have been working on for a few years. Judo was originally created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano as a physical, mental, and moral pedagogy in Japan. It is generally categorized as a modern martial art, which later evolved into a combat and Olympic sport. The motto is, “Gentle Art, Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort.” The benefits of Judo include self-awareness, confidence, physical fitness, development of core skills, self-defense, and youth & adult growth and development.

I have seen the amazing benefits of Judo for my son, Damian. He has been doing Judo for 6 years. Damian started Karate at the YMCA when he was 4 years old. That is where his love for martial arts began. Now, Judo is Damian’s biggest passion. Damian now competes in Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Even though he was born with a rare bone disorder called multiple hereditary exostosis, he does not let that stop him. Damian has had two surgeries in his legs—one that had him in a wheelchair for eight weeks—but he still would show up to class to cheer on his teammates.

I have been working with Sensei Alvarez for the past three years teaching Judo to kids. It is a blessing to be able to see the impact we have with kids and adults. We also work with children with learning disabilities, including autism, ADHD, ADD and other special needs. Sensei Alvarez and I are excited to bring the Yuma Territorial Judo Club to the Yuma Family YMCA. We have classes on Mondays and Wednesdays for both youth and adults. We hope to see you there!