The West Bend Judo Club has 20 black belts:
9th Degree Black Belt (Kudan)
- Jon Sanfilippo
7th Degree Black Belt (Shichidan)
- Mark Talkington (late)
5th Degree Black Belt (Godan)
- Kerri (Sanfilippo) Loduha
- Bob Loduha
4th Degree Black Belt (Yodan)
- Jessica Sanfilippo Silva
- Jennifer Sanfilippo-Nackers
- Javier Medina
3rd Degree Black Belt (Sandan)
- Jay Lebrecht
2nd Degree Black Belt (Nidan)
- James Talkington
- Chad Thomas
- David Anderson
1st Degree Black Belt (Shodan)
- Andrew Ravn
- Caleb Ravn
- Dusty Bruggink
- Michael Anderson
- Nick Thomas
- Zach Thomas
- Janice Krueger
- Josh Krueger
- Tait Szabo
Jon Sanfilippo is the head coach of the West Bend Judo Club. Equipped with his teaching degree and 9th degree black belt, Jon has been teaching at the club since its establishment in 1967. Along side his brother Joe and friend Ron Rodamer, co-founders of the club, he has been practicing for over 50 years. Sensei Sanfilippo was inducted into the Wisconsin Judo Black Belt Hall of Fame on January 26, 2013 for his life long service to Judo. Sensei Jon W. Sanfilippo, has produced state, national and international champions in the art of Judo.
His most famous student, Lynn Roethke, won an Olympic silver medal for the United States Women’s Judo Team. She accomplished that feat at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. A winner of the 1987 World Championship Silver Medal in Judo, she also is the winner of two gold medals in the Pan American Championships, one in Judo and one in Sambo. Ms. Roethke trained with Sensei Sanfilippo since she was 6 years old.
As a student of the Martial Arts for over 50 years, Jon holds the rank of 9th Degree (Kudan) Black Belt in Judo from the United States Martial Arts Association (USMAA) and 7th Degree (Shichidan) Black Belt in Judo from the International Judo Federation (IJF) and the United States Judo Association (USJA), which is also recognized by the United States Judo Federation (USJF) and U.S.A. Judo. He holds the rank of 3rd Degree (Sandan) Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do from the United States Martial Arts Association (USMAA).
Other martial arts which he has studied include Ju Jitsu (7th Degree Shichidan Black Belt from USMAA), T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Chi Qong, Kendo and the weapons of Nunchakus, Bo, Tonfa and Sai. Sensei Sanfilippo is a Certified International Coach of U.S.A. Judo (USJI) and a National Master Examiner of United States Judo Association (USJA). He also is a National Referee of United States Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
The Sensei is a Benefactor Life Member of the United States Martial Arts Association, a Trustee Life Member of the United States Judo Association, a Life Member of the United States Judo Federation, a Life Member of U.S.A. Judo, a Life Member of A.A.U. Judo, and a member of the Universal Tae Kwon Do Association.
I started judo when I was six years old. My Dad is the head instructor of the West Bend Judo Club and at the age of six I wanted to do whatever he did. My favorite technique is the one I was most successful at in competition. It is actually a combination of two throws, the head toss (Koshi Garuma) and the body drop (Tai o-toshi).When I was young, I was very shy. Judo taught to me to be out-going. Through the years it also taught me to be confident especially through competition.
From my years in judo I have gathered several favorite judomemories. The one I am most proud of is definitely when I was promoted to black belt.
My oldest memory was when I was interviewed on local Sheboygan television at my first judo tournament (I was six). They asked me if I was having a good time or something to that effect. I said, “it was a pleasure to be here today.” People around me were surprised at the response considering I was so young. It was a joke for a long time at many local tournaments. I met my husband through judo. I actually met him when I was 14. He started when my younger sisters started. After knowing him half of my life, and through various life curves each of us have had, we were married in 2005.
I started judo in 1985 when I was 16 years old. Coming from a poor family we did not have money for sports. School friends invited me and lent me an old uniform and the instructor let me stay in the class at no charge. I was extremely grateful and I never stopped. My favorite technique is Sumi gaeshi.
Through judo lessons I learned how to convert “my fears” into challenges. I grew up in the public projects in Puerto Rico. I lived surrounded by guns, drugs, alcoholics, religion fanatics, police raids and dangerous people. I was always in trouble. Several sports I tried, I got kick out or the people around it were too dangerous. Judo was my first opportunity to excel and not be in danger. I learned to fight against many odds, discipline and integrity. I have accomplished every dream I had by applying the determination I have when doing judo to every aspect of my life. I never stop trying until I accomplish my goal. Every part of my life has Judo in it.
One of my favorite memories comes from my early years as a young judoka. I remember running 2 miles in the rain to get to my Judo class and the look of my sensei’s face and his words, “I’m proud of you”. It marked my life for ever. A second favorite memory occurred at my college Judo class, the first time I saw my wife. This is how we met and fell in love, on the tatami (judo mat).
A few more memories happened throughout my judo career. For instance, one of the measures of how good our practice has been, was to count the number of us that threw up. I remember throwing up a lot. Disgusting! I used to laugh at my Army drill sergeant when they asked me to do push ups! I remember my 1st degree Black belt promotion after 14 years of making Judo my way of life. I remember my first tournament, how scared I was. I spent all night in the bathroom. I remember the first time I passed out in a choke. The also remember my first tournament as a coach. One student lost a fight and came crying to me and reminded me of my own losses, my tears and nobody was there to give me comfort. I made sure he had somebody. It marked my dedication to teach Judo.
Started Judo in 1998.
I remember watching my oldest son Nick participating in class. Seeing the joy and enthusiasm made me want to do this with him. When my other children reached the age of 6 they were than introduced to the family of Judo. I use the words of the founder of Judo as inspiration for me. "The man who is at the peak of his success, and the man who has just failed are in exactly the same position. Each must decide what to do next." Jigaro Kano
For me when my Judo goes well I forget to pursue variety. Change comes often for me when I have to get back up after a unsuccessful attempt. To me that is the beauty of Judo and life. A way to improve and strive for some perfection.
My favorite throw is Tsuri komi goshi.
My favorite moment was when my daughter told me that she wasn't as good as another player. She didn't think she could go out and score a "Golden Score". A score that would require her to win a match within 15 seconds. This is my golden moments not because she did go out and do this, but because she overcame her own doubts and just went all out and tried. The reason why this is my favorite moment is because I myself every time I step on the mat, practice by the same principle, "just try".
I started Judo in 1986 with my father at St. Joe's Judo club in Grafton Wisconsin. I now have the opportunity to train at West Bend Judo with both of my sons. I am currently a Shodan (1st degree black belt).
I've won a couple of state championships and competed at a national level.
Judo helped me build the confidence and discipline I use in both my personal and professional life. It's also taught me to be driven.
My favorite memory of my competing is winning the Badger Open in 1989 as a green belt. I threw a 1st degee black belt for ippon. My favorite coaching memory is my son winning the 2012 Wisconsin State Championship throwing 2 other competitors for ippon in under 5 seconds.
My favorite techniques are Harai Goshi, Tani Otoshi, and Osoto Gake.
When I joined Judo, I remember the joy of just being on the mat. Rolling falls across the gym, meeting new friends, and flying through the air onto a crash mat by someone two feet taller than me was all included in this "play time." It didn't take long until it became more serious, where losing matches hurt my pride more and more. Soon enough, tournaments and class competition made it tough to continue. One of my greatest memories is practicing in the basement on old mattresses with my brother and father, what seemed like all night, every night. I didn't think it was all that great at the time, but I remember the way I felt when I won a single match against my "class rival." He made it seem as though I could never win, making countless Ippons on me for years.
Through all of this, Judo has helped shape who I am today. Like many others, I have been taught discipline, respect, courage, among many other values by my Judo family. After taking a break from Judo for a few years I realized I had taken the best part out of Mondays; Judo. I also found how much I enjoy helping others. I had fun teaching a friend of mine many techniques when he could no longer make it to Monday night classes, I look forward to helping new Judokas who don't know a single person in class, or someone who asks if they are doing a throw right, and I am honored being Uki as my Sensei demonstrates. How many people can honestly say they like getting thrown? I know I can.
It was my brother's idea to start doing Judo when we were about 7 and 9 years old. Together we helped each other improve our skills, and cheered for one another during our annual judo tournaments. I also formed bonds with many other judoka who share my same enthusiasm for the sport.
One of the greatest feelings in Judo is when you throw your opponent effortlessly as if he were a feather, no matter his weight. A more specific memory would be when I was 12 and my mom gathered my brother and I together for a picture after the judo tournament - I remember having a bump on my forehead from some mat-work done earlier that day, a hard fought gold medal.
Judo has taught me to keep it simple in my daily life. There are many distractions in life that keep you from your goals. If you can keep in mind your desired outcome, then you can set out what it is you need to do to get there. There are three parts to a judo throw - off balance, positioning, throw. It's that simple!
I have been in judo long enough to understand how important my teachers have been, and to them I attribute my successes. So to reimburse their favors, I dedicate my Monday nights to instructing our new and younger students.
Mark Talkington passed away unexpectedly at age 59 on December 31, 2018. The 47th Annual West Bend Judo Tournament was renamed the Mark Talkington Memorial Judo Tournament in his honor. He was a senior coach with the West Bend Judo Club for over 25 years and provided high-level judo instruction to all of the students. He will not be forgotten as we will continue to use the judo knowledge that he taught for years to come.
I started Judo when I was 7 years old in 1966 at the Alton, Illinois YMCA with my Dad and brother. My favorite throwing techniques are Tai Otoshi, Soto Makikomi, and Ashi Guruma.
Through the many years Judo has taught my physical and mental discipline, and how to not “sweat the small things”. One of my favorite Judo memories was, as a junior, going to Judo tournaments and seeing the signs, displayed by many of the competing clubs, “BEAT ALTON”. This gave us all great pride in the strength and success of the Alton YMCA Judo Club.