Fourteen year-old JuCoy Johnson, who first participated in the Meijer State Games of Michigan five years ago, jokingly said he maintains a healthy lifestyle by eating gummy worms. He added, “I think it helps me bounce.” In reality, he has dedicated much of his time and energy to perfecting his Judo skills.
The Meijer State Games of Michigan was Johnson’s introductory tournament, and he has participated ever since. Participating each year gives him an opportunity to compete against new judokas with unique skills. He enjoys participating in tournaments because it gives him a chance to improve.
In order to prepare for the State Games, Johnson trains twice a week and conditions at least two times per month. He conditions through Kata, which helps with his form. In addition, he has participated in wrestling which has helped with his ground technique.
Judo was a part of Johnson’s life since birth. During her pregnancy, Johnson’s mother practiced martial art form. Johnson commented, “I thought it was the coolest thing ever and wanted to do it as well. I expressed to her that I always wanted to do martial art form and one day she surprised me with it.” From the beginning, Johnson has had a rewarding career.
Two years ago Johnson was given the opportunity to represent the USA in the Sanix Invitational in Fukoaka, Japan. Due to the culture and dedication to Judo that Johnson witnessed, this experience made him love the sport even more. He was able to train for six hours a day and he had the opportunity to meet 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, Kayla Harrison. Johnson said the best part was having the chance to wear her gold medal.
Johnson has also won many awards in Judo including 2011 and 2012 Fighting Spirit Award, 2013 Sportsmanship Award, 2014 Best Technique Award and Outstanding Player Award, and 2015 Junior National Champion.
Despite all of his accomplishments, Johnson knows that engaging in positive sportsmanship is important. He is always open to advice from coaches and senseis. He also tries to maintain friendships with opposing judokas from other clubs. Johnson noted, “On the mat you are my competitor, off the mat we are friends.” It is this genuine attitude that makes Johnson a true athlete.
Johnson thinks highly of his sensei, Sensei Jim. One of Johnson’s favorite quotes that Sensei Jim shares is, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts.” He says it’s his favorite because no matter how much an athlete thinks he/she knows, there is always something to learn. Knowing there is more out there gives athletes the drive to push themselves further in life.
When he isn’t participating in Judo, Johnson enjoys rollerblading, chess, and cycling. Judo is his biggest passion and his goal is to participate in the sport at the Olympic level. With his positive attitude and dedication to the sport, he has already begun the road to success.
As for now, JuCoy Johnson will continue to compete in the Meijer State Games of Michigan. To participate alongside Johnson, check out the Judo page.
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.