Description & History

The East Bay Judo Institute was originally founded as the Berkeley Judo Club in the early 1960s by a group of local Judo enthusiasts. During the first few years of the club’s existence, instructors were brought from Japan to teach. Unfortunately, as it was difficult for any one instructor to stay and make a living while teaching Judo, the Berkeley Judo Club saw different head instructors come and go in the first few years.

When the club was founded, it was located on University Avenue in Berkeley. Around 1970, the club moved to Solano Avenue in Albany, maintaining the original name. Takayuki Kawakami was the head instructor at this time and remained so for 10 years until he moved in 1981. During those years, the club was stable and strong and a member of the Central Coast Judo Association.

With the departure of Mr. Kawakami, the club was again left without a head instructor. From 1981 to 1983, several visitors aided in teaching at the club, which consisted of only a small core of students. In late 1983, the Berkeley Judo Club asked David Matsumoto to become its head instructor. He still serves in that capacity. The club is now a member of the Daiheigen Judo Yudanshakai.

In March of 1986, the club moved back to Berkeley, and was located on Sacramento Avenue near Ashby Avenue. In January of 1991, however, the club moved to its present location in El Cerrito on San Pablo Avenue. With this latest move, the club changed its name to “East Bay Judo Institute.” With students from all over the San Francisco Bay Area, this name more adequately reflects the size and scope of the club.

Today, East Bay Judo Institute is one of the leading schools of judo instruction in the United States. The instructional staff includes many current and former national champions. Members of the East Bay Judo Institute have participated in events all over the world including the World Championships and Olympic Games.

About the organization

East Bay Judo Institute

Sayaka Torra
Executive Director
Organization’s website: