Recently the goodfight interviewed my Judo instructor, David Osaghae. Please take a moment to check it out. Professor David is the perfect example of how unstoppable ambition and dedication can take you from poverty in Nigeria to an accomplished Martial Arts school owner in the United States. All for the love of Judo!
Interview with Judo Movement’s Head Instructor David Osaghae
Last Friday, I stopped in to interview a man I met and began training with over four years ago, who I now have the pleasure of calling one of my good friends, he is my Judo coach Sensei David Osaghae. Over those four years, Sensei David has been teaching at various gyms and locations until finally last January, he opened up his own school under the name Judo Movement in Sicklerville, NJ. I met Dave originally at a now closed location called Liberty Boxing, followed him after the gym closed down to Knockout Sports in Delaware, then to Anytime Fitness back in Jersey where he began Judo Movement. Then again to his final destination and own location in Sicklerville, still under his banner Judo Movement. As a reader, you can assume by the fact that I followed Dave around from NJ to Delaware and back to NJ, that his training is that good and his teaching ability is world class. Dave treats his students like they’re his own children and family, telling me on multiple occasions it hurts him more than his students when they are injured in training or when they face a hard fought loss in competition. This “homey” environment is something that has kept students coming back, new clientele instantly becoming attached to the gym and helps to turn training partners into teammates and family. So without further ado, let me present the interview or better yet our talk from the other day:
Q: When did you start training Judo?
A: I started training Judo in 1975.
Q: Where did you learn Judo, what is your background, teachers, stuff like that?
A: I started Judo way back in Africa, Nigeria to be precise, Benin city, where my father was in the police force so it was at the police Judo club.
Q: How long have you been teaching?
A: I have been teaching Judo since the 90s, 1990.
Q: You started teaching in Germany right?
A: No, I started teaching in Nigeria, I started off my first club for the first time I called it The Hill Judo Club.
Q: What did the Hill stand for? (I had some confusion at first and thought he was saying Heel or Hiel, it was the accent)
A: It was cause where I lived it was like climbing up a hill. It was cause we lived in an area that was hilly and I wanted to link the area to the Judo club.
Q: How long were you competing in Judo when you did compete?
A: I competed in Judo starting from the age of seven or eight at local competitions through the local universities, and even in Germany where I won the over 30 championship in 2004.
Q: What weight class was that?
A: That was 81 kg.
Q: So you’re from Nigeria and competed in Germany, umm what makes judo different from the other martial arts?
A: Judo is unique in its own way because it uses minimal effort for maximum results. It’s a safe sport that is practiced world wide, it’s an Olympic sport because it is safe, and I just love it because it helps you and trains you mentally and physically, giving you focus.
Q: What is your rank in Judo?
A: I just got promoted to the level of san dan, which is a third degree black belt.
Q: What makes a strong Judoka, what makes one strong at Judo?
A: To become a strong judoka you have to put in enough hours of randori (freeplay) which is the fighting part of Judo, which can either be nagawaza or niwaza, the take downs or the ground game and a lot of cardio workouts. Fitness using weights and all that, if you can do that putting in two or three hours on a daily basis you will separate yourself from the mediocre judoka to one of the best.
Q: Why should someone learn Judo?
A: People learn Judo from a variety of reasons, one for self-defense to be able to defend yourself from attack, Judo is never an attacking thing. Two your using their weight against them and three it builds self confidence in you as a human being. You end up being very fit which is a good thing.
Q: What is your goal now, what are some things you would like to accomplish?
A: My goal here in America is to preach the gospel of Judo to a lot of kids, to take as much kids away from the streets as we can to keep them focused in Judo. And to build a better future for them and to instill discipline in them, because judo is a sport that instills discipline in kids. And the ultimate goal is to have one or more of them representing the USA at future Olympic events.
Q: What is your favorite technique?
A: Uchi-Mata, when you take a look at our logo you’re going to see the take down is an Uchi-Mata. We call Uchi-Mata the king of all takedowns.
Q: Anything you want to add?
A: Well it’s like Judo means different things to different people, Judo is a way of life, Judo teaches you to be humble, you don’t become a bully with Judo and Judo has really done a lot for me and I’m trying to make the same thing happen for the little kids that I’m teaching right now and to give them focus.
A little side information about Dave, during his time in Nigeria he witnessed various terrorist attacks from Muslims against Christians. He was also shot at when crossing the Sahara desert when travelling to Germany and even worked as a bouncer in California around Compton, if I remember correctly when he first arrived in the US. Dave is a great guy, awesome teacher, and a close friend who has a very interesting life story that I wish I had the time to get to. But, I was only able to get in a few questions at the end of the day and didn’t want to hold him up. If you are from the South Jersey area and are looking to train yourself or for your kids, I’ve posted links to the facebook page and the website. Judo Movement offers Boxing, Muay Thai, Judo and No Gi Grappling for children and adults. They also offer for those not interested in the martial arts aspect, Cardio Kickboxing, Personal Training, Gym Equipment including two smith machines, free weights, and cardio machines among others and MMA conditioning. I’ll also provide some video of Dave teaching and competing.