The Gentle Way Judo Club, Inc. was founded in May of 1996 by Tony Leone and Bob Navitsky. The inspriation to start the club was the direct result of a request from Tony's son Anthony, who at 14 years old, had just received his 1st Degree in Karate at the Champion Karate Center in Southington, CT. Anthony expressed a strong desire to take Judo with the hopes of achieving his black belt in that martial art some day.
Bob and Tony chipped in enough cash to buy mats and a mat cover and installed them at the Champion Karate Center with the owners permission. The early classes consisted primarily of the Leone clan, which included Tony's wife Sherry, Christine, Carey, Beth, and Anthony Leone, Bob Navitsky, Richard Martin, and his daughter Lisa.
Tony, Bob, and Richard had all been very involved in Judo 20 years earlier and had hung up their uniforms for various reasons.
The newly found club became chartered under the United States Judo Association and shortly thereafter had to find a new location due to the closing of Champion Karate.
The Gentle Way Judo Club relocated to 530 Birch Street in Bristol, CT. The Bristol General Manufacturing Company became the site that has allowed the club to grow in numbers to over 50, and reclassify our group as a Class "A" chartered club with the United States Judo Association.
The club has met with success due to the hard work of all of its members. Mr. John Gianoni, our very generous landlord, has kept our monthly rent to a minimum, while allowing us to expand our mat area to a very respectable 1200 square feet. In the process, walls had to be knocked down, new ceilings constructed, etc. This tremendous effort was made possible due to the teamwork of the Senseis, Parents, and Students.
Gentle Way Judo Club Dojo. 1200 Square Ft. and growing...