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Philadelphia 76ers Judo Demonstration PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 19 December 2011 12:09

In 1983, David Huffman was working for the Vietnam Veteran Leadership Program (VVLP).  He was on the national staff.  He participated helping the local VVLP in DE as well.  The VVLP was a Ronald Reagan sponsored low budget project with a small national staff and 50 local based Vietnam Veteran organizations with one paid director.  President Reagan was determined to change the way Vietnam Veterans were treated.  He felt the best way to do this was through local Vietnam Veteran leadership throughout the country.  Vietnam Veteran recognitions and memorials went up all over the country as a result of President Reagan’s project. 

Huffman had bought judo mats for his basement, 11 ½ by 19.  The judo mats gave him the opportunity to work out at home.  One day he was able to put the mats to another use.  The Philadelphia 76ers sponsored a Vietnam Veteran recognition night at a 76er game in 1983.  Before the game, Wilmington Vietnam Veterans played Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans.  The Wilmington Vietnam Veterans were mad.  Philadelphia threw in some non-Vietnam Veterans who were ex-players into the game.  The Wilmington Vietnam Veterans had to be calmed down.  Huffman’s judo club did a demonstration at half-time.  The instructor, Dick Hugh, was on the loudspeaker; Huffman and 5 others demonstrated throws, chokes, arm-bars and hold downs.  Huffman carried the mats out with the other Wilmington YMCA judo demonstrators from his club.  There were 17,000 people in the audience.  Except for the ones that knew him; most of the 17,000 didn’t know Huffman was blind.  Everyone knew what they wanted to do.  Huffman switched his grip around in order to make the throw look better for the audience.  He still has the same mats in 2011; 28 years later.