Neil Adams Wows Nearly 100 Attendees at Fourth Takemori Memorial Clinic

January 16, 2020

Neil Adams, MBE

by Chuck Medani


Ninety-five judo athletes, coaches, teachers, and enthusiasts from as far away as Boston, Florida, and Chicago gathered at Georgetown University’s Yates Fieldhouse on Sunday, January 5th to attend the Fourth Annual James H. Takemori Memorial Clinic.


Anticipation was at a high level for this year’s clinic, featuring Neil Adams, MBE, Kudan (9th degree Black Belt), from Britain.


Adams, A World Champion, 2-time Olympic Silver Medalist, and 5-time European Champion, did not disappoint.  Holding the morning session for juniors and afternoon session for seniors in the expansive dojo, home of the Washington Judo Club, he guided the attendees in remarkable sessions that were based on fundamental principles of judo gripping, movement, and the development of momentum and off balancing, then moving into specific throwing and matwork skills.


Adams’ credentials as a decades-long expert on and off the judo mat are truly impressive.  After retiring from competition, he became the national coach of Belgium, and then the coach of the Welsh Judo Association. He is now a referee supervisor for the International Judo Federation (IJF), is owner of the coach education business Neil Adams Effective Fighting, is the official commentator of the IJF, and is a member of the IJF Hall of Fame.


He is also the author of a number of books, including texts on gripping, matwork, armlocks, and his signature taiotoshi (body drop) throw, and autobiographical works focusing on his competition career and on life after the end of competition at the highest level.


Sensei Adams’ teaching expertise was on full display, using simple concepts to build strong, takeaway, actionable skills.  He used clearly articulated points of attention, with adequate but not excessive repetition, and paced the sessions well by alternating demonstration with hands-on practice with the attendees.


Adams demonstrated outstanding guidance of the juniors as well as the seniors in attendance, fine-tuning his teaching to the levels of the attendees. During the breaks and lunch, he also spent unhurried time talking with the attendees, signing books and standing for pictures to the delight of juniors and seniors alike.

Tad Nalls, the head instructor of the Washington Judo Club and the host of the clinic, was appreciative of Georgetown University’s Athletic Department for making the room available on a Sunday, and noted the assistance of members of the WJC in preparing the dojo and running the event.

Tad Nalls, Sensei of the Washington Judo Club


Nalls also was impressed by the high turnout and the superior level of judo instruction from Sensei Adams. “This is a very good turnout – we have people from all over – Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania, almost too many people.  Neil is an excellent clinician, and I don’t think there is anybody who can give you as much detail and explanation as he can for the English-speaking population.”

Grace Talusan, son Maddox Pugh, and daughter Devyn Pugh with Sensei Adams


Grace Talusan, along with her husband Jim Pugh, son Mattox, 9, and daughter Devyn, 7, traveled from the Midwest to attend the clinic. “We came from Champaign, Illinois, two hours south of Chicago, because Neil Adams is so amazing – a ninth degree black belt, and there’s no way not to learn from him.  Even at the black belt level, we always keep learning.  I’ve seen him before in Kentucky, and he’s an amazing clinician, but I’ve never seen him work with the kids.  He breaks everything down systematically, and his teaching is so phenomenal.  That’s why we came.  I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”


Miki Takemori, Chair of the Shufu Board of Examiners and daughter of Jim Takemori, for

Miki Takemori, Shufu Board of Examiners Chairperson

whom the annual event is named, referenced the importance of her dad’s legacy. “It’s exciting to see all the people here and exciting to learn new ways of doing things.  This is just what my dad would have wanted.  As my dad would say, ‘you never stop learning, and learning by seeing techniques being done in a slightly different manner.’”

Roy Englert, Shufu President, with Sensei Neil Adams


After the clinic, Roy Englert, President of Shufu Judo Yudanshakai, expressed his great satisfaction with the event.  “This clinic could not have gone better. Neil Adams has so much to offer, and I know he was pleased at how receptive clinic participants were to his technical knowledge and methods of teaching and coaching. And the cherry on top is that, at the clinic honoring the memory of Jimmy Takemori Sensei, his daughters Miki and Teri, and Teri’s twin 9-year-old daughters Dani and Randi were able to participate. Finally, heartfelt thanks to Tad Nalls and the Washington Judo Club for arranging the use of the terrific facilities at Yates Field House. “

Dani Morris, Miki Takemori, Teri Takemori, and Randi Morris with Sensei Neil Adams


Mr. Englert also mentioned that Sensei Adams was returning home to England, and would immediately travel to Doha, Qatar, where he would be a co-leader of the IJF Refereeing and Coaching Seminar the very next weekend.


In summary, the Fourth Annual James H. Takemori Memorial Clinic was a resounding success, with a large attendance of judokas from every level from a multi-state region, who came to learn from one of the most well-known and respected judokas in the world. Sensei Neil Adams showed by his reputation, skill, teaching technique, affability, and humility that he is clearly deserving of his reputation as one of the preeminent judokas of our time, following his incredible competition career with a lifetime of study, teaching, and service for judokas throughout the world.


The planning committee, consisting of Miki Takemori, Roy Englert, Roy Nanjo, and Eric Spears, is already at work planning the next installment of this annual clinic.  They have elevated the James H. Takemori Memorial Clinic to the level of one of the most anticipated and useful clinics in the eastern US, and are deserving of our appreciation for providing high-level opportunities for not just the Shufu membership, but for all judokas in the tradition of mutual welfare and benefit.



  • (1986) “A Life in Judo” (with Nicolas Soames)

  • (1986) “Olympic Judo: Throwing Techniques” Pelham (with Cyril Carter)

  • (1986) “Olympic Judo: Variations on Groundwork” Pelham (with Cyril Carter)

  • (1988) “Olympic Judo: Preparation and Training” Pelham (with Cyril Carter)

  • (1991) “Tai-otoshi” Judo Masterclass Techniques Ippon Books

  • (1991) “Arm Locks” Judo Masterclass Techniques Ippon Books

  • (1991) “Grips” Judo Masterclass Techniques Ippon Books

  • (2016) “A Game of Throws – celebrating 50 years in Judo” Fox Spirit Books


Other sources


Follow This Link for More Photos from the Takemori Memorial Clinic with Neil Adams, Courtesy of Roy Nanjo

All photos and video Ⓒ2020 Chuck Medani /

All Rights Reserved.

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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

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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.