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#16 Shinjiro Sasaki

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Growing up in Japan Shinjiro Sasaki wanted to study Karate with his boyhood friends. At the age of 6, Shinjiro Sasaki’s young life took an unexpected turn when a Judo gi mistakenly arrived instead of the Karate gi his mother ordered.

This began a Judo career that took him all the way to the Beijing Olympic trails.

But after failing to make the Olympic team Shinjiro wanted to get as far from Judo as he could. Without any money or being able to speak any English, he moved to the US and settled in Florida. 

While studying English in his new country a series of coincidences and accidents kept bringing Shinjiro back to Judo.  

Shinjiro soon found himself competing in local tournaments. His skill drew him many admirers who wanted him to train them and soon Shinjiro went from an athlete to coach. 

But not knowing English was still obstacles and people used it to take advantage of Shinjiro. He found himself being scammed and eventually homeless. 

Back in Japan quitting was not allowed and he used that belief in never quitting to rebuild his new American life and now has his own dojo, family, and gives back to his community by teaching special needs students Judo at a local university. 

Shinjiro has lead two separate lives one in Japan and one in America. Two lives with many challenges and obstacles joined together and made successful by the common thread of his love of Judo.


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