©2005 NPT PHOTO BY STEVE
The 2005 Tennessee State Judo
Champion is Cocke County Sheriff's
Department Sergeant Richard Caldwell,
|Last updated: 5:05 PM, 08/03/2009
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
By STEVE BLANCHETT
NPT Sports Editor
NEWPORT-Richard Caldwell, of Cosby,
who is a United States Judo Association
(USJA) First-Degree Black Belt, won the
USJA's Tennessee State Judo
Championship in Clarksville on Saturday,
"I feel honored to have won the open judo
competition championship," said
Caldwell on Wednesday. "It's not the first
time I have won a state championship. I
also won the North Carolina State
Championship in 1992."
In total, there were more than 300
competitors from all across the south at
the state competition and in Caldwell's
division he had to win three matches to
take the Tennessee State Judo
Caldwell first became associated with
judo when he was seven years old
through the Armed Forces Judo
Association. His father, J. C. Caldwell,
was in the Marine Corps and Caldwell
has participated in the sport off and on
since that time.
Caldwell was also an amateur wrestler in
junior high school for two years and at
Bay High School in Panama City, Fla., for
two years before his family moved to
Newport where he attended Cocke
County High School for his senior year,
but did not wrestle because Cocke
County didn't have a wrestling team.
Caldwell said he is currently in the
process of trying to start a wrestling team
at Cosby High School and at a recent
meeting 34 students said they were
interested in the wrestling program.
"I've discussed it with the principal, Dr.
Duran Williams, and the athletic director,
Brad Flatford, and both of them said they
thought it was a good idea," said
Caldwell. "I'm going to have another
meeting with school officials and
students in the near future to continue my
efforts to promote the development of a
Caldwell is also the instructor of the
Smoky Mountain Judo Club in Newport.
"We're starting out small," said Caldwell.
"We been holding classes at Jack's
Fitness Center on Saturdays from 11:30
in the morning to 1 in the afternoon," said
Caldwell. "I want to thank Jack's Fitness
Center for allowing me the use of one of
its rooms to hold my judo classes in. I
also let the center's members workout
with us for free, if they wish.
"Judo is an affordable sport," said
Caldwell. "It only costs $40 to join the
judo association and the other costs
associated with the sport are minimal.
Judo is also one of the best workouts a
person can do to get into shape or to stay
Along with learning judo at the Smoky
Mountain Judo Club, members also learn
basic self-defense techniques from
The Smoky Mountain Judo Club mostly
competes in the North Carolina/Virginia
region because it has the most
competitions for the club's members to
Caldwell said he began training for the
state judo tournament in October of 2004
by working out two to three days per week
and walking as often as possible.
Caldwell said he is in the process of
registering for the USJA Judo Nationals in
Virginia Beach, Virginia, the third
weekend of April, and hopes to be able to
compete, but he has to clear a prior
commitment before that can take place.
"I will do everything I can to be able to
compete in the nationals," said Caldwell.
If Caldwell competes in the nationals, he
will compete in the Master's Division,
which goes by age, weight, and rank.
The Master's Division is for competitors
that are 35 years-of-age or older,
weighing more than 250 pounds, and
holding a first-degree black belt or higher
Caldwell is 40 years-old, weighs about
390 pounds, and is a first-degree black
belt, which qualifies him for the Master's
"Sometimes the association will divide
the Master's Division by weight class
depending on the number of entries, so I
could have to compete in the 300-pound
and up class, if they do split the division,"
Caldwell is employed by the Cocke
County Sheriff's Department and is a
Sergeant in the department.
He has also trained law enforcement
officers since 1993 in judo and
His parents are Annette and J. C.
Caldwell, of Newport. Caldwell's wife is
Patricia Caldwell and they have one son,
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