Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Money.
The Riverside Youth Judo Club officially began in June 2012. Several instructors at the UC Riverside Judo Dojo saw a need for “Youth judo” classes. UC Riverside only allows adults so we began looking for ways to include a kids’ class.
In about April 2012, Program Director and Instructor, Detective Brian Money, had a chance breakfast meeting with his boss, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz (both of the Riverside Police Department) at a local restaurant. As it turns out, Chief Diaz studied judo as a youngster and respected the philosophies and benefits it offered to Youth. Diaz and Money agreed to start a “Youth Judo Club” as part of the Riverside Police Activities League and funded by the Non-Profit Riverside Police Foundation and the Riverside Police Officers Association. No public funds would be used for the program – only funds raised through the two nonprofit organizations would be used.
In June 2012, we started our first classes at the Riverside YMCA. We converted a small racquetball court into the “dojo” (school or classroom). We started off with 6 students. We reached out to the local high schools and by December 2013 our club had about 50 students. We created the “Village” program (it takes a village to raise a child), acquiring funds to help pay for the uniforms and supplies for several at-risk students. We also included several Developmentally Disabled students into our class. Unfortunately, in January 2013, the Riverside YMCA unexpectedly went bankrupt.
We arrived for class one day and the entire building was locked down. We lost thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment that the bankruptcy would not let us recover.
Chief Sergio Diaz and the City of Riverside stepped in to help us keep our youth club. We were allowed to use an existing facility at our Magnolia Police Station. The room is used for police defensive tactics training during the day. The Riverside Youth Judo club uses the room on weekends and evenings for its classes. The location is safe and secure and much larger than the room we had at the YMCA.
The Riverside Youth Judo Club has grown over the past several years to over 210 active registered members. This makes us one of the top 3 largest judo clubs in the US! We completely sponsor over 60% of our students. We have over 50 students with Developmental Disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disability, Tuberous Sclerosis, and CHARGE Syndrome.
Our Special Needs students are mainstreamed into our typical classes and all students work together as one. Our Chief Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Pedro Villa, has helped train several Registered Behavior Therapists (RBT) at our club. Our Special Needs judo students have made amazing progress and our typical students learn compassion and understanding.
The Riverside Youth Judo Club also includes many at-risk kids who have been referred to us by the Juvenile Courts. The club allows these students to serve their community service hours while learning discipline and humility through Judo. It is important to note that Judo is a “defensive” martial art that does not include punching or kicking. The idea is to “control” your opponent without serious injury.
We have hosted the very first Special Needs judo tournament in the US. The tournament is known as the “Yuuki no Shiai” or “Contest of Courage”. We have hosted this tournament for the past three years – the last one in March 2017 which was a National event for all judo athletes with Developmental Disabilities. This tournament is 100% free to all its athletes.
We also host an “All Womens” Judo Tournament. The tournament is called “Fight for the Cure” and is a Charity event to help raise money for Breast and Ovarian Cancer relief. Our tournament last year in October 2016 raised $5,000 for The Pink Ribbon Place which is a charitable breast cancer program with the Riverside Community Health Foundation. We our hosting the 2017 “Fight for the Cure” Breast Cancer Tournament on October 1st this year and hope to raise over $7,000!
Our club raises funds all year long to support our students. We provide scholarships to our graduating seniors who have committed to a college or university. We also award scholarships to our Special Needs students who have competed their adult job programs. In 2017, we awarded $10,000 in scholarships. In 2016, $7,500.00. In 2015, $10,000. In 2014, $5,000. In 2013, $5,000.
There are many other wonderful things our club is able to do including participating in community events. We do Backpack giveaways every year.
Has it been a smooth road?
1) We lost our original club location and all our equipment in a January 2013 when the Riverside YMCA went bankrupt.
2) Our club has grown so much, so quickly that we’ve had to add many more volunteer instructors and admin staff. We have 15 certified black belt instructors – all who donate their time.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Riverside Youth Judo Club story. Tell us more about the business.
The Riverside Youth Judo Club is a Charitable Non-Profit organization which is a Police Activities League. We are completely funded by donations – we do not accept or use public monies.
We are 100% inclusive. We never turn a student away because of physical or financial limitations.
We provide more scholarship monies for judo students than almost all universities (with judo programs).
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We would like to add classes and programs for Senior Citizens.
- $35 / month for students who are able to pay
- Website: www.riversideyouthjudoclub.com
- Phone: (951) 353-7118
- Email: Bmoney@riversideca.gov
- Facebook: Riverside Youth Judo Club
Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.