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Living legend of Pan-American Judo Awarded in Miami

On the occasion of the Grand Masters World Championship, in Miami, the IJF Head Sports Director, Vladimir Barta, awarded Luis Guardia Hanshi, with the IJF Gold Medal and Diploma, for his contribution in the development of Pan-American Judo.

Luis Guardia Hanshi is a living legend of judo in Pan-America. On the occasion of the last Grand Masters World Championships, held in Miami, in the name of the IJF President (Mr. Marius Vizer), Mr. Vladimir Barta awarded him with the IJF Gold Medal and Diploma for his outsanding contribution to the development of Judo in Pan-America.

Luis Guardia Hanshi is an eighth dan and 80-year-old Cuban American who has been dedicating his entire life to judo. “Judo arrived in Cuba in 1951 through Professor Andre Kolychkine,” explains Guardia. “I started with him, and that was 60 years ago.”

 

 

“Initially, Professor Kolychkine trained five judokas to begin the program: Heriberto García, Fernando Chu, Francisco Moc, Julio García and yours truly,” continues the Sensei. Thanks to them, judo spread throughout Cuba.
Guardia belongs to the fourth generation of judokas and is therefor a true living legend. “Jigoro Kano, the creator of judo, wanted it to be known in the world, and Kolychkine was able to make that dream come true in Cuba.”
At the time, America was the only region that did not have a judo organization. When the sport was introduced in Cuba, the Pan-American Confederation was created, and thus the International Judo Federation made it to the five continents. Guardia explains all of this and more in his book (The Origin of Pan-American Judo, Eagle Press).
“I have never stopped practicing judo,” he says. “I left Cuba for Spain in 1973 and worked there in the technical part of the Spanish Federation, and later trained the national team. I later came to the United States and did the same in Florida", where he is still based. "I help the U.S. Judo Federation in every way I can and work with the blind at their school.” Guardia also has tasks at the Kolychkine Judo Foundation of Miami in Southwest Miami-Dade. “The foundation was created by Kolychkine’s grandson in Miami, and there we try to keep his flame burning,” he concluds. 

Source: Miami Herald PEDRO J. GONZALEZ

                  "The History of Judo in Panamerican Countries"

by Stilman Davis on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Prof. Luis Guardia has published a book titled: “Origen del Judo Panamericano [The Origin of Judo in Pananamerica]” with plenty of photographs about the history of Judo in Panamerican countries and Cuba dating back 50 or 60 years, including a table with all Panamerican medalist up to the present. The book has been published in Spanish, but an English edition is underway.
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The word “judo” must be ingrained in the genetic code of Luis Guardia Hanshi, an 80-year-old Cuban American who has dedicated his life to the sport and now tells his story in the book Origen del Judo Panamericano (The Origin of Pan-American Judo, Eagle Press).

“Judo arrived in Cuba in 1951 through Professor Andre Kolychkine,” Guardia says. “I started with him, and that was 60 years ago.”

Guardia, who is eighth dan in the sport’s 10-level ranking system, was one of five students chosen by the Belgian teacher to disseminate the discipline on the island and in the world.

“Initially, Professor Kolychkine trained five judokas to begin the program: Heriberto García, Fernando Chu, Francisco Moc, Julio García and yours truly,” he says.

Thanks to them, judo spread throughout Cuba.

“Heriberto was sent to Camaguey, Chu to Matanzas, Fun to Oriente, Julio to Pinar del Río and I was sent to Las Villas,” Guardia say. “Schools were founded with their professors, and even today you can see the good results, despite being a very small island.”

Guardia belongs to the fourth generation of judokas, a true living legend in this sport.

“Jigoro Kano, the creator of judo, wanted it to be known in the world, and Kolychkine was able to make that dream come true in Cuba,” he says.

“He was very strict with an extraordinary discipline, and we Cubans are not like that, but thanks to those qualities he was able to introduce judo in the island.”

Kolychkine himself had a great teacher, Guardia says, an advanced disciple of the founder of judo.

“Kawaishi Mikonosuke was the student that the teacher Kano sent abroad to make judo known,” he says. “He had the most Western mind, and he did it very well. Mikonosuke arrived in France, trained Kolychkine and sent him to Cuba.”

At the time, America was the only region that did not have a judo organization. When the sport was introduced in Cuba, the Pan-American Confederation was created, and thus the International Judo Federation made it to the five continents.

Guardia explains all of this and more in his book.

“Here you can find how the Pan-American Judo Federation was created and where the founders are, the pioneers of each country, the birth of this sport in the island and its participation in world and Olympic competitions,” he says.

Guardia has also contributed to the development of judo in Europe and the United States.

“I have never stopped practicing judo,” he says. “I left Cuba for Spain in 1973 and worked there in the technical part of the Spanish Federation, and later trained the national team. I later came to the United States and did the same in Florida.”

Guardia is a member of the sport’s Hall of Fame.

“Of the five [Cuban] founders, only Heriberto, Fernando and I are left,” he says. “I am the only one still working in judo. I help the U.S. Judo Federation in every way I can and work with the blind at their school.”

Guardia also has tasks at the Kolychkine Judo Foundation of Miami in Southwest Miami-Dade.

“The foundation was created by [Kolychkine’s] grandson in Miami, and there we try to keep his flame burning,” he says. “Obviously I am part of the fire that keeps it lit.”

 

IJF honored famed judoka Luis Guardia for his 60+ years of service to the world of judo. He was presented with a gold medal and a certificate of recognition for his tireless contributions to the sport.

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