But all that changed when Lt. Col. Tim Schultheis moved into the area and reached an agreement with the Gurnee Park District.
The judo club has been up and running for three months and currently has 16 members. Schultheis hopes to reach the maximum of 25 students in the near future.
We offer a class that ranges from beginner to advanced, and at a reasonable price, he said. So far, weve been in four tournaments, and I am really excited about how well we are doing.
Unlike tae kwon do and karate, which focus on blocks and fancy kicks, Schultheis said judo is more practical because it focuses on takedowns, pins and submission holds, much like wrestling.
Judo is a more realistic form of self-defense because most fights end up on the ground, he said. Flying scissor kicks look impressive, but they arent very realistic.
Schultheis, who is registered with both the US Judo Association and Judo, Inc. knows a thing or two about other disciplines, as hes been involved in the martial arts for the past 19 years and has acquired a black belt in karate as well as in judo.
Judo offers physical exercise, self-defense and build self-confidence as well as teaching discipline, said Schultheis. I have two kids in the club, and they really seem to enjoy it. Id recommend it to kids of all ages, beginning at around the age of 6.
Schultheis was transferred to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center last August. He was involved in judo while stationed in Barsto, Calif., and was surprised when he couldnt find judo being offered anywhere in the area.
Judo is very popular in California, he said. There are probably 1,200 different groups operating there, so when we came here, I just decided to teach a class myself. The Gurnee Park District was willing to help.
The club meets every Monday and Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. and the fee is $25 per month.
One of the most important things to me is keeping the price low, he said. I really enjoy the sport, and I want others to enjoy it also. In the clubs most recent tournament appearance, Schultheis class members brought home four first place finishes and one second place award from an event in Fond Du Lac, Wis. His daughter, Nicki a fifth grade student at Woodland Elementary was the top club performer. She currently is ranked second in her age group.
Other first place winners included Jackie Boller (sixth grade student at Warren Middle School), Matt Wilson and Mike Delima. Adam (Hunter) Wilson of Lindenhurst finished second.
Im really excited because weve only been going since October, Schultheis said. Im encouraged by how well we are doing in the tournaments weve participated in so far. Hopefully, we can fill the club with 25 members and continue our success.