Reflections on 2007 Winter Nationals

by Cesar Lazcano, 1st Degree Black Belt

So, this year, I was in charge of registering people for the nationals. I got about 60 peeps in. The event itself had 500 athletes competing and god knows how many in total attendance! During registrations, I got to meet 02' Olympics USA Team Member Tony Okada. It was an honor to meet such a great man.

For this year's event I trained very differently. I became weight conscious. I wanted to drop to 158.5 pounds to end up in the top of the –73 bracket. I reached my goal. Two years ago or so, I was taking cretin, drinking red bull EVERY DAY, eating protein bars during the week and lifting heavy weights (The highest weight I gained was up to 177 pounds, I believe). This time around, I didn't take ANY supplements whatsoever, lightened down the weights and focused on cardio. I also trained in every club I could possibly go to train in. 

I had five fights this time around during the Nationals. I did not run out of gas at all thanks to my new routine!  I did win three times, however I did not place this time around as there were FIFTEEN guys in my bracket! I made a guy tap out, (I still haven't lost due to a submission in any of my tournament competitions). I pinned the other, and I threw the third with a beautiful uchimata to taiotoshi combo.

People were REALLY cheering me on this whole tournament and there were kudos from everyone, the competition was off the wall. A guy went up to me and actually said, "I saw you fight in the State Championships last year and I just saw you today… you are like a spider… man. Yeah. Last month or so a parent of a young judoka told me that he sticks around to watch me fight and only me apparently because win, lose, or draw, I'm entertaining out there. This kind of feedback means the world to me.

The two kids that I was training, Phoenix Krebs and Danny Lancaster both placed THIRD! They are National Bronze Medalist and I couldn't be happier. They have a coach with a Bronze National Medal and I have two wonderful students that are Bronze National Medalist themselves… I think we are building something big for the future. I am proud to be their coach/trainer and they deserve the success they got today! Life is good. Keep on fighting.

My mentor/boss/Sensei, Shahriar "Nick" Niakan got 2nd place/silver. It was a rush to watch him fight! I was proud. I got to train during the clinic after my fights with James Bregman (First Medalist for the United States from the very first Judo Olympics in 1964, Bronze Medal), Sensei Okada (who trained with some of the earliest judokas of the Kodokan), and Sensei Iizumi (who also trained with Mifune at the Kodokan). After the clinic, I got a much appreciated one on one education from Bregman and Iizumi. I also got to meet George Harris who was also a member of the the original 1964 US Olympic Judo Team.

There was an exhibition match between the Japanese High School team and a team from the US. Those matches were truly awesome to watch. I almost made the US team, but in the last minute, I was cut from it. Too many people wanted it. Damn. Oh well, maybe next year! ; )

Cesar currently practices and teaches at several Las Vegas judo clubs and is a pro-wrestler know as the Jete

Cesar's Film "American Judoka"

Cesar's Interview of Judo Gene LeBell

USJA/USJF Winter Naionals Links

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