Robert Tanaka - showcases USA Paralympic spirit with the power of Judo. Fight ON!

Robert Tanaka

Name: Robert Tanaka
Sport: Para Judo
Weight Class: 66kg
Classification: B3
Hometown: Denver, Colo.
Dojos: Ju Shin Kan Judo Academy (Home Dojo), Denver Judo, and Sawtelle Judo Dojo.
Sensei: Paul Truong, Heidi and Scott Moore, and Kenji Osugi
College: University of Southern California
Undergrad: Studying Econ/Math B.S.
Paralympic Experience
- One-time Paralympian 2020
- Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020
- Nationals Judo Champion Las Vegas 2019

Though the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 has caused the postponement of the Tokyo Paralympic Games, it has not changed Robert Tanaka's dream of competing on the sports biggest stage.

Robert, 21 - qualified and will represent the United States of America in the men's -66kg division in the Nippon Budokan judo venue at the now Tokyo Paralympic Games.

The Paralympic Olympics takes place
Aug. 27-29 in Tokyo.


My name is Robert Tanaka, and I am a 2020+1 U.S.A. Paralympian Judoka (66kg).

I was born on January 11, 2000 in Denver, CO.

At a couple of months old, I was diagnosed with albinism, a rare genetic disorder that effects skin and hair pigmentation, vision, and sensitive to sunlight.

Because of my albinism, my participation in sports was limited to those were indoors and did not require sight.

At age five, my parents introduced me to judo, a japanese martial art that focuses on using your opponent’s momentum to gain leverage in attempt to throw them on to their back.

Judo was a perfect fit – it does no require sight, but requires training, balance, anticipation, technique, hard work, and dedication, plus it a blast.

From my first practice as a five year old with Senseis Scott and Heidi Moore at Denver Judo to my qualifying for the 2020+1 Tokyo Paralympic Games, judo has provided me with many opportunities, such as traveling around the world to train, compete and make new friends, and many life lessons, such as setting goals, training and working hard, to dealing with success a well as failure.

Growing up with albinism has taught me to adapt in ways that compensate for my impaired vision.

My parent have instilled in me and by younger brother, Nicholas, who also has albinism and is a judoka, to never use our visual impairment as an excuse to not setting and pursuing our goals.

I hope to continue to compete in judo, but I also want to teach judo and its lessons to others, especially children who may have a disability.

Not only had judo provided me with a sport I love, it has also provided me with may opportunities.

I believe I can to any judo dojo in the world and be welcomed to practice judo.

Judo have introduced me to wonderful senseis, judokas, competitors, and friends.

Many of my Paralympic competitors around the world are also my friends.

In addition to judo, I am a full-time student at the University of Southern California (Fight On!) where I’m studying Economics and Math.

I love hanging out with family and friends, traveling around the world and small town U.S.A.

In my free time, I enjoy working out, playing the guitar and piano, listening to music, and target practice.


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