Judo continues to be a one-credit option for students

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:10:00 PM

For the past 20 years, Stritch alumnus and 5th degree black belt Dennis Staral, '93, has introduced countless students, faculty, staff and alumni to judo through an accredited, one-credit class offered each semester on the University's main campus. With registration for the spring 2014 semester approaching, students can consider adding Self Defense 1 (Judo) to their slate of classes for the upcoming term (course number: PE 117).

The class not only introduces students to the history and philosophy of judo, but also an array of physical maneuvers, many of which are applicable for self-defense purposes. The semester culminates with a judo demonstration, where students can showcase the falling techniques, 13 throws, five mat holds, three chokes, and two arm locks they learned in class.

In a typical class, Staral leads warm-ups, flexibility exercises, and falling practice; reviews old and teaches new techniques; and applies the techniques to a self-defense situation.

Staral, a graduate of Stritch's Master of Science in Management program, began studying judo 48 years ago, and expresses his love for the art and sport by teaching judo to others.

"I feel that I grow and learn from the students every time that I teach them," Staral said.

Fellow Stritch alumnus Jon Holsten, '97, assists Staral. He took the one-credit class at Stritch years ago and got "hooked." He progressed through the ranks and now has a first degree black belt.

While judo provides practical self-defense techniques, stress relief and regular exercise for students, Staral also emphasizes the spiritual component of the art. He said judo, which translates to "the gentle way," is founded on two principles: 1). maximum efficiency with minimum effort and 2). mutual welfare and benefit. The second principle, which focuses on honoring the precepts of judo in everyday life to benefit society as a whole, incorporates Stritch's Franciscan values -- compassion, peacemaking, creating a caring community, and reverencing creation.

Judo is offered every Thursday evening during the academic year starting at 6 p.m. in Serra Hall, room 014. For more information, see the undergraduate course catalog or contact Staral or (414) 410-4174. Faculty, staff and alumni should contact Staral prior to the start of the spring semester to sign up for the spring 2014 session.