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Judo America San Diego

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We Help Parents Raise Confident Leaders
& Adults Reach Their True Potential!

Since 1972, Judo America San Diego has provided its members with a road map to success based on self-defense, confidence and goal-setting skills.


9825 Carroll Centre Rd, Suite #400, San Diego, CA 92126

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Judo America San Diego Owner

Hi, I’m Gerald Lafon.


When I was a child, I was the little guy on the block, rambunctious, very competitive, and I needed an outlet for my high energy.  My father, a judoplayer himself, finally relented and enrolled me in the local Judo school.  Little did I know that my martial arts journey would be the most profound experience in my life, along with my service in the United States Marine Corps.

When I opened my school in 1972, I made a commitment to serving and empowering the community of San Diego by teaching children and adults the confidence, leadership and fitness skills that can only be achieved through martial arts.

We Share & teach The Same Values You Teach At Home.

Our programs have a strong focus on personal development. The foundations of our morals, values and core character traits are formed in our early years. For this reason, the programs at Judo America San Diego are an essential way to enhance the growth and personal development of young students of all ages. 

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You may have experienced boredom with your usual fitness routine or reached a plateau in your performance or physical fitness results. Our adult programs are the perfect alternative to a boring gym routine, as they help you develop into your maximum potential both physically and mentally by providing real life self-defense strategies in a fun, focused environment. 

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Our History & Mission Statement

Judo America San Diego is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. It was founded as a college club in February 1972 by Gerald Lafon, a young returning USMC Vietnam veteran, and was originally named San Diego City College Judo Club. With each growth spurt, the club renamed itself: first to Byakko Judo Club in 1974, then Byakko Judo Institute upon becoming a non-profit corporation in 1982, followed by San Diego Judo Inc. in 1990 before finally settling on Judo America San Diego in 1995.

Mission Statement

Judo America San Diego is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of the individual. Through the discipline of Judo, we build character and promote physical fitness and positive social values. We provide a safe environment for students to channel their natural aggression into self-control and teamwork, and we encourage the development of personal excellence.

Judo America San Diego

Our Facility

• 1,470 Square-Foot Main Training Area With 16 Foot Ceilings
   & Spring-Loaded Platform With Zebra Tatami
• Secondary Floor 225 Square Foot Training Area Includes Spring
   Loaded Platform With Zebra Mats for Maximum Safety
• Climbing wall, ropes, and poles, peg boards, horizontal, and vertical ladders
• Roll-Up Doors For Training Area Ventilation
• Bleacher Seating for Parents & Spectators
• Locker Room Area
• Equipped to Host Seminars, Inter-Club Workouts, Tournaments and Birthday Parties


What Makes Judo America San Diego Different From other
Karate & Taekwondo Schools?

We focus on the personal development aspect of martial arts, not just self-defense moves.

Our instructors are all certified black belts, qualified and licensed to teach martial arts.

Our facility is always clean and features a viewing area for parents, as well as matted floors throughout.

Our Promise at Judo America San Diego:

To Train in the
Highest Quality Martial Arts
Program Available

To Focus On
Personal Development
in a Positive Environment

To Offer Programs
Accessible & Enjoyable
by People of Any Age


Judo, known as "the gentle way" is the style of martial arts practiced by Judo America San Diego students. Judo is a relatively modern Martial Art that is derived from earlier Japanese fighting styles. Judo places an emphasis on throwing opponents and subduing them via pins and locks, making it an effective self-defense form, as well as a sport that even children can participate in. The journey from White Belt to Black Belt is one of incremental learning and skill development, that students of any age and fitness level can embark on.


Our students participate in a variety of tournaments, all designed to develop character, gauge progress and improve performance.  Most of the tournaments we attend are in Southern California.  More extensive travel is required for our national and state championships. Below are the various types of tournaments we attend.

Informal or Non-Sanctioned Tournaments: these tournaments don’t require membership in any of the national organizations, which are USA Judo, U.S. Judo Association and U.S, Judo Federation.  Insurance coverage offered by the national organizations is not in effect at these tournaments.

Sanctioned Tournaments: these tournaments are sanctioned by one of the national organizations, and require that participants be a member of one of the national organizations.  Their insurance coverage is in effect.

Judo America Tournaments: these are our in-house tournaments, which are non-sanctioned. We attempt to host at least two tournaments per year.

Fight Night: held on a monthly basis during our regularly scheduled classes to offer a tournament-like environment.

  • Gerald Lafon

    Gerald Lafon

    Director of Coaching

    7th Degree Black Belt

  • Jose Rodriguez

    Jose Rodriguez

    Assistant Director of Coaching

    3rd Degree Black Belt

  • Fred Horeh

    Fred Horeh

    Assistant Coach

    2nd Degree Black Belt

  • Duc Dinh

    Duc Dinh

    Assistant Coach

    2nd Degree Black Belt

  • Joan Serrano

    Joan Serrano

    Assistant Coach For Juniors

    Ikkyu (1st Brown)

  • Eddie Huynh

    Eddie Huynh

    Assistant Coach For Juniors


  • Paul Smith

    Paul Smith

    Assistant Coach

    3rd Degree Black Belt

  • Raffy De La Torre

    Raffy De La Torre

    Assistant Coach for Juniors, Ikkyu

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