Gurnee Judo Club make an impact

Article by: Mary Jo Przygoda
Article from: Daily Herald

Some 16 bodies smack down on floor mats with a thud - twisting, pulling, throwing, grunting - and this is just the warm-up.

These eager facesare members of Gurnee’s newest martial arts class, the Gurnee Judo Club.

Sponsered by the Gurnee Park District, the club was formed four months ago by Gurnee resident and judo black belt Tim Schultheis.

“I moved here not long ago from California and was looking for a judo club,” Schultheis said. “I could not find one, so I linked up with the park district to start a club.”

Schultheis, who teaches all the classes for the 16 members at the club, has been a black belt for six years and involved in the martial arts for many years. His two children, Nicki, a fifth grader, and Robby, a second grader, have competed in martial arts tournaments for years and are also members of the class.

“Robby has been doing judo moves ever since he got out of the cradle,” Schultheis said.

Classes meet from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the Kilbourne Center, 940 N. Kilbourne Road.

Schultheis is clearly admired by his students and their parents.

“My boys love him,” said Judith Buckley, whose two sons, Adam, 11, and Jonah, 9, take the class. “Tim really knows how to work with kids; he’s demanding, but very patient and understanding.”

Buckley said her sons had tried tae kwon do before, but they like judo better. “It’s more wrestling, and they like that aspect,” she said.

Barry Henby, who takes the class with his two sons, Shawn and Danny, said he also likes the wrestling aspect of the sport. “This is more fun than some of the other martial arts; it’s more down on the floor , wrestling,” the father said. “It’s a good workout. In just a few months of doing judo, I’ve lost 14 pounds.”

Shawn, 14, said the class is “awsome.” “ I like the contact fighting,” he said. “We get to throw people, and we learn how to take a fall.”

Schultheis concers about the wrestling. “Some martial arts are more isolated punches and kicks,” he said. “Judo is about grappling with an opponent and taking him down. It’s an intense, Olympic sport and it has very realistic self-defense moves.”

Lee Kuebler, 15, who started with the class as a beginner, but in a few months has progressed through several belt ranks, said, “I like learning all the self defense moves. It’s good to know and it’s fun.”

The students have participated in four tournaments so far, competing against others across the midwest, and Schultheis said he is pleased with his students’ performances. In the most recent tournament, the Gurnee Judo Club earned three first place awards, one second and two third places, he said

“Tim is a wonderful coach,” Barry Henby said. “He inspires all of us to do our best.”

In addition to teaching judo moves, Schultheis also teaches the class the Japanese names of the moves and how to count in Japanese.

“It’s a whole discipline,” Barry Henby said. “You get caught up in it, and it’s really fun.”

The club is looking for more participants, Schultheis said. Those ages 6 years and up can join at anytime, and beginners are particularly welcome, he said.

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