When you change the way, you look at things, the things you look at change.

-Albert Einstein-

Our move from the JIS

For those of you who attended our holiday party, we also celebrated our last evening in the auditorium of the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle (JIS). Our lease is up at the end of year at a location that we have been at since 1929 when the JIS was just a small square building on the lot. We will be displaced. In February 2023, the JIS will undergo renovating the aging facility by the first four classrooms by modernizing and upgrading its use of future use. Phase I construction will last 4-6 months. In that time, access to the auditorium will be blocked by construction equipment, scaffolding, and other construction materials. Phase II covers the renovation of the auditorium. The scope of Phase II will decrease the auditorium floor space by 1/3, remove our storage and changing rooms for a school office and HVAC equipment.

Given this situation, we have moved out our entire inventory, our mats and other equipment and supplies, into storage until we secure a new location to practice. We have looked into local parks, churches, and community centers. However, due to impacted programs, limited space, and lack of storage, it has been very challenging to find a suitable location to fit our needs. We have also been investigating securing a commercial lease, a venture into a new realm for our Dojo would transform our Dojo and the way we conduct our organization. We have realtors assisting us in activity and also consulting with local city organizations to the possibility of being a city-contracted service.

There is a lot of history in the place. It is a poignant moment. The place vitally needs the improvements. For us, it is time to move on. Thank you very much to those helped out moving everything out of the JIS last weekend in incredibly fast 2-1/2 hours.

Judo in 2023

In the meantime, when we return to Judo practice next year, January 2023, we will be part of the Grand Opening of Flip1stGymnastics, owned by Dan Levi, a good friend of mine. He and his teenage daughter are former members of Sawtelle Judo Dojo. Flip1stGymnastics will open a brand new, spacious 6,800 sq. ft. facility in Santa Monica. Currently, the facility is undergoing final buildout and city inspection. Dan plans to have movers move and install his large gymnastics equipment next week. Included in this move will be their main gymnastics sprung floor, a bouncy 40’x40’. 4” springs are mounted onto the back of plywood sheets, assembled together into a 40’x40’ pattern. This plywood surface is then covered with a solid 2” foam layer with carpet over that. That is where we will hold Judo practice in January.

Your ukemis will definitely have a bounce to them. We will have more space to practice since the mat area is 10% larger, 1,600 sq. ft., and square in shape. As guests, let’s keep this gymnasium clean, don’t use the gymnastics equipment at all and honor the privilege of using this location.

Dan Levi has graciously opened his new gym to our Dojo on a temporary basis until we can secure a new location for ourselves. At our holiday party, we thanked him with a standing ovation for his generosity. So, we look forward to some exciting times ahead. Grand opening is slated for Monday 9 January, pending final buildout and city inspections. If you are willing assist Dan move and installed equipment, come on down for an early preview in late December/early January. Details will be posted in upcoming newsletters.


1908-C Lincoln Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA. 90405

It is on the southwest corner of Lincoln and Pico Blvd., about 3-1/2 miles west of old location at the JIS. Flip1stGymnastics is located in the back corner of the strip mall where a Starbucks Coffee sits on the street corner. Flip1stGymnastics is just blocks away from Santa Monica High School and about a mile from Santa Monica Beach and Pier.

The cerebral corner

Here is a YouTube video that resonates throughout the Judo community, “Education for Life | Judoka, Shintaro Nakano,” on why people practice and teach Judo. Nakano Sensei is the head instructor of the Nakano Judo Academy in San Jose, CA.