Tashima Sensei: 3rd from left | Hiraoka Sensei: 3rd from left
ODA SENSEI – HEAD INSTRUCTOR SGJD MID 1920’S
IIDA SENSEI – HEAD INSTRUCTOR 1930’S – 6TH DAN
SOGIOKA SENSEI – INSTRUCTOR POST WAR AND RESTARTED
WEST COVINA JUDO DOJO WITH MASARU HARADA
KAWAI SENSEI –
NISHI SENSEI – HEAD INSTRUCTOR EARLY 60’S
TASHIMA SENSEI – HEAD INSTRUCTOR THROUGH THE 1960’S
HIRAOKA SENSEI – HEAD INSTRUCTOR FROM 1975
NORIEGA SENSEI – HEAD INSTRUCTOR 2004
Judo in the San Gabriel Vally began in the mid-1920s with head instructor Oda Sensei.
Yoshi Sogioka, the eldest child of a farming family followed Oda Sensei as head instructor but not before being relocated to Wyoming Relocation Center when the evacuation order was implemented. While there, he helped to organize the Heart Mountain Judo Dojo with Kikuchi Sensei of Hollywood and Inouye Sensei of Seattle. He also helped to form West Covina Judo Dojo in 1958 along Senseis Kitamura, Harada, Shibata and Horiuchi.
Sogioka Sensei was to be followed by head instructors, Kawai Sensei and Nishi Sensei during the early 60’s and Tashima Sensei during the mid to late 60’s. Tashimi Sensei was the head instructor at the Manzanar Relocation Camp and also instructed at Gardena and Hollywood Dojo and ultimately headed Norwalk Dojo through the early 90’s. From 1975 San Gabriel Judo Dojo matured under the leadership of Hiraoka Sensei. In his earlier days, Hiraoka Sensei was the captain of his university team. He graduated from Hosei University with a BA in Business Administration in 1966. Hiraoka Sensei proudly went on to become a 2 time US Champion and World Champion in judo since arriving in the US.
San Gabriel Judo Dojo’s most contemporary Instructors is Sensei Mike Noriega.
He started judo at San Gabriel Judo Dojo under Tashima Sensei. By 1976 he was promoted to Shodan. In the same year he graduated from Cal State LA in the field of Criminology/Sociology. In 1985 he became an assistant judo instructor under Hiraoka Sensei. For 4 years he served as the Nanka Junior Board Secretary and in 1993 he earned his coaching certification at Michigan State University. In 1994 Sensei Noriega went on to earn his coaching certificate at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. In 2004 he held the prestigious position of USJF International Youth and earned the Adult Coach of the Year. In the same year he became the head instructor at San Gabriel Judo Dojo. Finally in 2007 he became a Certified Rank Examiner and in 2014 became the International Coach/Head Coach and technical adviser for San Gabriel Judo Dojo.