Kikuchi Sensei at the Los Angeles Coliseum (Photo courtesy from the book, “Fighting Spirit, Judo in Southern California, 1930-1941,” p.57)

Sawtelle Judo Dojo is one of the oldest Judo schools in the United States.

Takashi Kikuchi, 7th Dan, founded Sawtelle Judo Dojo in 1927. In 1930, Sawtelle Judo Dojo was established as an adjunct to the West Los Angeles Nikkei Community Center at 2110 Corinth Ave., Los Angeles, CA. He was also very active in other Southern California judo dojos over the years. He assisted at Hollywood Judo under Iida Sensei and also active at Uyemachi, Moneta and Seinan Judo Dojos among others prior to World War II.

Photo commemorating Dr. Jigoro Kano’s visit to Sawtelle Judo Dojo in April, 1932. Dr. Kano sits in the front row, fourth from the right. This is a view of the north facing wall of the auditorium or the wall to our right as we enter our dojo.
“Y.M.A. Make Plans For Judo Tourney” (Image courtesy of Rafu Shimpo and UCLA Young’s Research Library archives)

It was forced to close its doors during WWII. Later re-opened in 1950, Sawtelle Judo Dojo is dedicated to introducing interested students to the principles of Kodokan Judo, not only as a practical sport and self-defense mechanism but as a principle that maximizes efficient use of the mind and body. The fine instruction and practice facilities have resulted in many junior and senior champions of whom we are very proud of.

The dojo in 2016.

Sawtelle Judo Dojo is affiliated with the following organizations:

United States Judo Federation (USJF)

Nanka Judo Yudanshakai (Southern California Judo Black Belt Association since 1950)

United States Judo Association (USJA)

USA Judo (Judo national governing body under the United States Olympic Committee)

International Judo Federation (IJF hosts all of the international tournaments year-round with World Championships held every year except Olympic, 2020 being one of them.)