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Monday, 16 June 2014 10:41

Judo MatsThe 19’ x 11’ judo mats for extra practice Huffman bought for his home in the 70’s are gone.  He gave his mats to his karate sensi, Master Paul Snider, black belt 10 in karate in Parkersburg, WV.  Huffman has a black belt in judo, a brown belt in aikido and a brown belt in karate and is working on his black belt for karate in the mornings between 7:30 and 8:30 with his karate sensi Paul Snider who is a file clerk for Huffman’s law office.  Huffman’s lifetime judo sensi was Richard Hugh formerly at the Wilmington YMCA Judo Club and more recently in Parkersburg, William Kincaid, and John Allen was his sensi for aikido also in Parkersburg.  Huffman’s judo mats have a long history of sentimentality to him.  He would get extra practice in his home in DE with his friend, John Toner.  He would have fun wrestling around with his kids and nieces and nephews tossing them around on the mats.  They all remember having fun being tossed around by Huffman.  They also played on the mats.  

The mats traveled to a Philadelphia 76er game at halftime during a Vietnam Veteran recognition night in Philadelphia in 1983.  Only those who knew Huffman knew he was blind; he helped carry the mats.  In the 80’s he gave his niece April’s boyfriend, Barry the opportunity to marry his niece in a week if he could hold Huffman down for 10 seconds on the mats in any hold he wanted, but he would have to wait until April graduated college if Huffman could hold him down as long as he wanted to.  Huffman won both bets. Huffman said, “April didn’t marry Barry. Although holding him down didn’t make a difference it was fun embarrassing him.” The energy gained from judo took Huffman from high school dropout to attorney. Huffman did judo to get a high rather than doing drugs.  Huffman said, “Judo helped me with everything else I did in my life”.  

Huffman became divorced from his first wife, Sherry after 18 years in 1989.  Huffman said, “I would always come back sweaty from judo, I’d thrown me immediately in the shower if I were her instead of letting me sit in a chair in my stinky judo ghee and making the chair stinky.  Sherry is still friends with me and my wife, Cheryl. Sherry and I have children together that have great memories of the judo mats”.  Huffman’s friend from DE who moved out in the country in WV, David Rively had the mats for around 10 years during the 90’s at his farm in the storage area.  The mats got moldy and had to be cleaned before they found their way to the attic on the 3rd floor of Huffman’s historical home on Juliana St. in Parkersburg.  The chandeliers would shake on the 2nd floor after a throw or a break fall.  Huffman taught judo to a young man, Robbie Waggle to assist him with becoming better at football and wrestling by improvising the martial arts that Huffman was teaching him in the attic with Huffman’s son Will.  Robbie’s high school team, Williamstown High School won a championship for the 1st time.  Robbie won all-state linebacker.  Huffman did receive some credit for helping, although Robbie’s work ethics in his sport and lifting weights, and his coach had a lot to do with Robbie’ success.  The mats made it to the other side of the 3rd floor in the Dils building in Parkersburg where Huffman’s law practice is located. Huffman and employees use it for exercise.  In addition Master Paul Snider was teaching Huffman various weapons and akada techniques on the judo mats.  Master Paul Snider does so much to help the community with affordable karate so those who can’t afford karate are able to afford it.  Master Paul Snider teaches at the YMCA in Parkersburg and has a hundred students.  William Kincaid teaches judo in another YMCA in Parkersburg under Master Paul Snider.

Huffman feels the judo mats could not go to a better person than Master Paul Snider for the use of William Kincaid’s judo club.  Huffman’s sentimentality for his judo mats will always be there.  “They are not the same color as when I bought them, but they have the same value in my heart.  A part of my heart will always be in those judo mats from the 70’s.  They sure weren’t’ the size of the 40’x40’ mats at the YMCA in Wilmington, DE in the 70’s, but they are as big in my heart.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:11