Lou Moyerman Talks About The Liberty Bell

Lou Moyerman

Lou Moyerman

Lou, this is the 30th Liberty Bell.  Tell us about it.

“It’s pretty amazing.   As we can see from today’s tournament, the Liberty Bell is back on the map as one of the premier and prestigious tournaments in the country.  We have had some fantastic competition today and outstanding numbers’

 

“A lot of it has to do with the fact that we now have a young tournament director, Adam Moyerman, with help from Tony Kenis and Adam’s dad.

 

“Adam is out there in the judo world, and he is hustling to get the tournament back to where it was before.  There are a lot of kids in our area, from New Jersey, from Virginia that are competing today.  It’s nice to see that we have over 300 children, 200 seniors, and 38 masters.  And very strong elite divisions, especially in the men’s categories.

 

“We also had over twenty people in each of three different divisions, highly contested with some excellent judo players in those divisions.  There were three to four ranked or elite athletes in each of the 73, 81, and 90kg divisions.  These were competitors who have won medals in our nationals, some have fought internationally, some are going to fight internationally.

 

“Even the smaller divisions like heavyweight had three national players in there.  So it’s good to see that kind of turnout again.

 

“And we had 10, 12, and even 14 people even in the novice groups, hopefully climbing up.  And even the female novice groups were fairly well-attended this time.  And we’ll have to make a bigger push to get more senior elite female athletes.

 

“We had one or two competitors from Colorado this time.  As far south as North Carolina and all the way up the coast to Maine.  The University of New Hampshire is here, Rhode Island, Maine, a few clubs from Boston, like Dale Sweet’s club (Tohoku), Jimmy Pedro’s club, Rhode Island, Mayo Quanchi (New Jersey) was here with a lot of people, and a lot of clubs from New York, such as Samir Judo, and the Judo & Sambo club which brought 20 or 22 kids and a number of adults.

 

“There was good representation from North Jersey as well, with Tech Judo, Camal’s judo, North Jersey Judo – pretty much up and down the east coast.

 

“I think that for adults this time the fact that we have four weeks before the Nationals (in Salt Lake City, UT), a lot of people wanted to get a tune-up before they go to nationals.  But I also think that there is a rise of junior kids in our area on the east coast looking for good competitions, and Liberty Bell has always had a good reputation for great competitions for kids as well as adults.

 

“I think our timing was good, and I do think that the tournament director has a lot to do with it.  He’s out there in the judo world, going to tournaments, taking our club to tournaments.  It helps to build camaraderie to bring more people here.”

 

It’s pretty exciting to have the three Olympians here: Craig Agena and Maurice Allan from Virginia, and Jesse Goldstein from New Jersey.

“We’re always happy to have that caliber person who represented our country here. We also have some Olympic staff members, as well.

 

“We want the kids to know that these are Olympians.  We also have here Mark Vink, who runs the Para-Olympic team for the United States.

 

“For the kids, it’s rally important that they know who the Olympians are, and they can talk to them.  When I stepped out of the office just a minute ago there was a mother there with her daughter and they wanted a picture with an Olympian. So they got a picture with Craig Agena. (Ed: they were really excited to get the picture!)

 

“Kids have to have role models, and in judo if we don’t have role models in Olympians, we don’t have anything.  So all the kids want to be in the Olympics, so it’s good stuff.”

 

How does this tournament bode well for the development of judo?

“Because everybody knows that they can come to Liberty Bell to get a quality tournament, a tournament that is run very well, without hitches or craziness and runs very smoothly.

 

“But more than that, if I was training my kids for different tournaments, this would be one of them.  I would want to focus on coming here and doing well.  So I think there’s a lot of people and a lot of clubs out there that have that on their agenda, to practice and work hard to win medals at Liberty Bell by doing good judo.  I think that helps improve judo because the kids will have something to focus on.

 

“Over the years, I think that winning a medal at Liberty Bell is very prestigious.  In some cases it’s almost as hard as winning a medal at the Nationals.  So I think that gives a chance for our area up and down the east coast to have a quality tournament to put on their calendar, and look for a good performance there.”

 

What do you attribute the smooth operations of this tournament to?

“We try to remember that we do this for the athletes, whether they are five or fifty years old.  We need referees and coaches, we need everybody to be at a tournament, but the major concern is to run the tournament for the athletes.  That was always our first design when we started the tournament.

“When we looked at all the tournaments that were run well, we saw that knowing when you are going to compete is important for any athlete.  If you go somewhere and sit for four hours without competing, it’s not good.

“Here, by using the match numbers, everybody knows when they are going to compete, and it’s better for them to prepare.  That’s the smoothest way that I’ve seen tournaments run, over the years.   To make the match numbering fair to everybody so that you get enough rest but not too much rest, the big divisions run continuously and there are no lapses, that’s what makes it run.

 

“The second reason is that the staff has been doing it for a long time and we all know how to do what we’re doing, and we work really hard to prepare for it, in terms of the registration and the atmosphere, including everything you need for a tournament, such as a good concessions stand, a good officials’ room, nice awards.

 ”All those things add to it, and we’ll work all night.  Last night we were up until 4 AM, and we would have stayed up until 6 AM because it’s important how we make it run the next day for the athletes.  I go back to that all the time.”

 

You started this tournament, didn’t you?

“It was originally my idea.  I took it to friends of mine including Joe Condello, Rich Leyes, and other people in the Philly area and asked them to help me with it.

Joe Condello

Joe Condello

 

“The idea was that we wanted to approach the city a little with the Liberty Bell, give Liberty Bell awards out – back then we gave out bells, something unique that people would like to come and win- and our hope was that it would be a nice, strong regional tournament.

 

“It got much bigger than that; it became international for a while, with people from Israel, Great Britain, tons of people from Canada, and many other countries for a while.  In our heyday we had 890 people here once, over 700 people four years in a row.  It was a two-day tournament then.  If it continues like it is going now we may have to make it a two-day tournament again.

 

“Yeah, it was my baby and it’s grown, and it’s really really nice to see my son take over two years ago with my partner at the club, Tony Kenis, as tournament directors, and I am the registration chairman.

 

“After last year’s tournament I was very pleased, because I thought that the Liberty Bell was back on the map, so to speak, and after this year I’m certain it is.

 

“As long as we can continue to do this, and make money to help our club exist, we’re gong to do it.  As long as Adam’s around and I can help him, them I’m going to do it.  It’s really a great event, and a lot to be proud of.

Coach Certification

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