Mark Colby Sensei
Businessman, author, and judo instructor based in Japan
Mark Colby Sensei began studying Kodokan judo in 1969 in the USA. The majority of his training took place under Japanese and Japanese-American teachers at Seikikan Dojo, one of Washington State's oldest schools of judo. He successfully competed in numerous tournaments, often placing first, qualifying to compete in the United States Judo Federation Nationals, and winning medals in the AAU Junior Olympics.
He received his first dan in 1976 from the Northwest Yudanshakai, United States Judo Federation, and Kodokan Judo Institute in Japan. His tournament success continued, and in 1979 he began training with the U.S. Olympic Judo Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
He married a Japanese woman, and he moved to Japan in 1980, where he started practicing judo with the Koichi Riot Police. The training in Japanese police dojo is notoriously rough, and the riot police are known as the roughest of the rough. Colby Sensei practices with the Koichi Riot Police to this day, and he has trained weekly at the Kodokan for over 20 years. The Kodokan is the birthplace of judo, and it's widely regarded as an international Mecca for judo practitioners. He also trains at the Nippon Ne Waza Kenkyujo, a dojo devoted to researching ground grappling within judo.
Two of his biggest tournament wins were the USA-Canadian Championships in 1981 and the 1985 Maroto Kaigai Championship in Japan. He was the Grand Champion at both events, winning every weight class. This is a feat usually accomplished today by heavyweight competitors. Colby Sensei is of average height and build. His win at the Maroto Kaigai Championship harkens back to the days of classical judo when smaller judoka competed in tournaments without weight classes and sometimes won overall.
The Maroto Kaigai Championships is a particularly important event, and Colby Sensei's victory is significant. So impressive was this triumph, that he was featured on NHK national television in Japan.
Colby Sensei teaches and practices traditional judo in the USA and Japan. His daughters have both studied at the Kodokan since childhood, with Julie Colby winning the United States Judo Association Nationals in her weight class in 1997.
Colby Sensei currently lives in the countryside of Chiba Prefecture. An author and artist, he is also a successful businessman. He is CEO of CGIKK. Based in Tokyo, CGIKK creates and implements innovative solutions for medical associations, healthcare professionals, and the medical industry.
Given his belief in preserving traditional judo and his lifetime of training, much of it under legendary teachers in Japan, the SMAA is honored to have Mark Colby Sensei on our Board of Advisors.