Barb Shimizu Leads 2015 Shufu Referee Clinic

February 10, 2015


Sensei Barbara Shimizu, IJF-A Referee

Sensei Barbara Shimizu, IJF-A Referee

On Saturday, February 7th, DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland was the site of the 30th annual Shufu Rules Clinic (formerly the Shufu Referees Clinic).  This event, considered one of the most important of the year, was founded by former Olympic Referee Gail Spadin in 1986, and has been organized since 1997 by Roy Englert, Chairman of the Shufu Referee Committee.


Barb Shimizu, an IJF-A Referee based in Seattle, WA, was the head clinician, and conducted a wide-ranging series of lectures, video review, and practicums during the day, to the delight of more than 70 attendees from Boston to North Carolina, a 25% increase in the numbers of attendees over 2014.  This highly experienced group came to learn the latest directly from Shimizu, who had attended the annual IJF Referee Seminar in Malaga, Spain the week before.

Sensei Shimizu used a variety of methods to instruct and guide the attendees, which included not only referees, but coaches, teachers, and active competitors.


Some of the topics covered included referee development, leadership, teamwork, conduct, communication, dealing with pressure, “coachability”, skill in coaching referees, using the CARE system, learning resources for referees, preparation for tournaments, ways to stay connected with the referee community, and social benefits.


Sensei Shimizu explained that the International Judo Federation (IJF) was developing the rules that emphasize dynamic matches and the_MG_5119 safety of the competitors.  She also emphasized the importance of taking these rules and pushing them down to the countries, clubs, and coaches to give the best possible advantage to our competitors, coaches, and teachers nationally and internationally.


Shimizu used the effective technique of relating many personal stories illustrating the principles that she was teaching.  This, along with the high level of interactivity with the audience promoted a great level of interest and understanding.


Her use of a number of video clips demonstrated subtleties of bridging, false attacks, head dives, transitions from newaza to tachiwaza, and many other applications of the rules.  The interchange of opinion when evaluating the videos was highly revealing and instructive to the attendees.


_MG_5128One of the major points made by Sensei Shimizu was to look at the specific definition of the rule when normally deciding a call.  Analysis of the videos, which included a number of esoteric, extremely subtle examples, was highly useful, providing clarification of rule definitions that could be rapidly applied to the typical competitive scenario.


The large group enjoyed the lunch of pizza, soup, and other delicacies provided by Hui-O Judo, and was refreshed entering the afternoon sessions which began with a topic not seen at this clinic in the past.


A new feature of this year’s seminar was the inclusion of a topic not specifically related to refereeing, although this may change in the near

Anthony Doran, Ph.D.

Anthony Doran, Psy.D.

future.  Tony Doran, Psy.D., a neuropsychologist trained at the University of Hartford and at Harvard University, presented an introduction to the timely topic of concussions (also termed mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI).  His brief overview of the symptoms of concussion, evaluation, and management was a great stimulus for additional learning and awareness of those in attendance.


Some of the principal points included the variability of symptoms of concussions, and that most people with concussions do not suffer any period of unconsciousness.  Furthermore, careful management by a healthcare professional experienced in the continuing care of those who have sustained concussion is necessary for the long-term intellectual and emotional recovery of the individual.


An important concept was the observation of the mechanism of the trauma, which has a major effect on the decision whether to remove the individual from further play or practice.


The group then moved to the mats, where Sensei Shimizu led the group in practical examples and practice for the rest of the afternoon.


The annual Rules Clinic is a critical touchpoint for those involved in the practice of judo, whether they are referees, teachers, coaches, technical officials, or active competitors.  The event has traditionally brought in high-level referees, but the rules and concepts are directly applicable to everyday practice and competition at every level.


This year was no exception, as evidenced by the continued high level of attention of the group throughout the morning and afternoon, and the many positive comments overheard afterwards as the judokas gathered up their possessions and prepared for the trip home, armed with new and practical knowledge.

 Photo Gallery


Article by Chuck Medani


Hilaire Notewo Seeking Donations for Judo Programs in the Ivory Coast, Needs Gis and Equipment

Longtime Shufu Judo member Hilaire Notewo is planning to relocate to Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Africa in late November/December. He will be supporting judo programs, but equipment (esp. judo uniforms) are difficult to come by.  Hilaire is looking for gently used judo gis and other equipment.  Hilaire will also be visiting and donating goods to orphanages.  Should you have gently used shoes, clothes for teenagers, youths, and toddlers, kindly make them available to Hilaire.

If you would like to donate to this effort, you can send your donation to the following address:

Hilaire Notewo

7401 New Hampshire Ave. #1003

Takoma Park, MD  20912

Or contact him via his email address: 202 945 3781.

Coach Certification

SafeSport Certification is now required for all USJF registered clubs. If you have already completed the course and submitted a copy of your certificate, you do not need to resubmit. For more information or to take the course, please visit

Heads Up concussion training, through the CDC’s website, is a requirement for all members of your USJF registered club who function as teachers at any time. Please advise all of your instructors and assistant instructors of this requirement. The training can be accessed at: