The Shindo Kan School of Judo was founded in the late 1950’s on the southeast side of Chicago at 63rd and Stony Island in Chicago, Illinois by Blaise “Joe” Zorich.
Joe’s first exposure to martial arts occurred during an evening out with his future brother in law who had learned some martial arts from friends in the circus. A discussion began regarding how one could “take care of himself.” Joe, a Golden Gloves boxing champion, said a good boxer could defend himself against anyone. Without revealing “the secret” the future relative disagreed. The challenge was met, Joe ended up on the floor of the bar, and judo became his passion.
Blaise "Joe" Zorich began working out with Jim Beres, Art Broadbent and John Osako who were among the earliest Midwest judoka. Though the Chicago Judo Black Belt Association was formed in 1947, at that time many schools (dojos) were not really organized. It was more of a group of like-minded individuals working out together. The better the workouts, the better the reputation, the more like-minded people were attracted to the location. The group grew, attracting judo players (judoka) from all over the Midwest.
In 1961 Osako Sensei moved to Detroit and soon became the head instructor. This left the club to Joe and Mr. Beres. Mr. Beres retired and Joe continued running the school on his own until his retirement in 1980’s. Shindo Kan became one of the premier dojos in the Chicago Yudanshakai along with Chicago Judo Club, Jiu Jitsu Institute, Lawson, Oak Park and Hyde Park YMCA’s and the Uptown Judo Club.
To stimulate interest in judo Shindo Kan began doing judo demonstrations for various charitable organizations. They were the only school to appear on television, Channel 11, presenting demonstrations and offering classes for bidding, which was the way Channel 11 ran their pledge drives in those days.
In the 1960’s Shindo Kan moved south a few blocks to a larger facility on 85th and Stony Island. Karate was also added to the curriculum.
Many of Joe’s training methods were ahead of their time. For example in an era when coaches believed the best training for any sport was repetitions of the activity itself, when no one was running, when it was believed weight lifting made you stiff and inflexible Joe believed in cross-training. All judoka were required to run and weight lift to gain fitness for competition. The dojo continued through the 1980’s producing many local and national champions until Joe’s retirement.
This was the progression we used at Shindo Kan. I believe it was comparable to what the Kodokan was using. Though the IJF was charted in 1951 and many dojos use different systems now back in those days I seem to remember the Kodokan being considered the defining organization.
|White||A student receives a white belt on starting|
|Yellow with white stripe|
|Purple||Under 14 years of age|
At the Sensei discretion youth judoka may receive “tape” stripes on their belts to designate progress
Shindo Kan School of Judo
Mailing address:334 S. Salem Drive
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DOING BUSINESS AT DOJO/SCHOOL LOCATION:Schaumburg Park District- Meineke Center
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