1st Black Belts for Fishers Island Judo Club

by Jane Ahrens

Congratulations to all our Judo students
on a successful year and lots of promotions!
Special congratulations to Thad Allen and Emma Cypherd,
the first Fishers Island students to earn their Black Belts in Judo!

Fishers Island seniors Emma Cypherd and Thad during their demonstration just prior to receiving their black belts.

By Ronald Egnor
Sensei Ron Egnor Instructor
Rokudan (6th degree)
May 20, 2017

It is not easy or quick to get a black belt in the Olympic sport of Judo. Now the Fishers Island Judo Club has two. A brief history of the journey to this auspicious day helps.

In the fall of 2010 Michael Shine (Class of 2011), arranged with Cynthia Riley who directed “Extra-curricular programming “ as one of her many titles, to have an 8-week introductory Judo program. Now living in Maine she sent her congratulations along with this quote:

“Please extend my congratulations to all, especially Black Belt recipients! Wow! I remember being paired with Emma in those first months. She always threw me!”

That trial program started in January of 2011 and is still going strong. Over these past 6 ½ years over 40 Fishers Island students have attended at least 10 weeks (20 hours) of Judo. Some of them now have over 250 hours on the mat. It is so enjoyable to watch them grow in life as well as judo and see many of them go off to college or the work force.

The club’s biggest fan, Principal Karen Goodwin, and I share a common factor that we both love the kids. In return, I feel that they earn this by their hard work and enthusiasm. They all work hard in school and on the mat. Principal Goodwin stated at the end of the day that all the members show great respect, discipline, and behavior to all around them. This is not just from judo but also from the school.

Sensei Sharon Hunt, (Yodan 4th degree), co-founder of New London County Judo to which Fishers Island judo belongs, was very impressed by the techniques used in the mini tournament she orchestrated. She was especially taken by the way the team put down the mats and was ready to go in perfect fashion.

We both want to thank the Fishers Island School for the honor bestowed upon us but we know we owe it to the kids.

Judo Technique Demonstration
Photo credit: Marj Beck
Click any photo to view a larger image and scroll through the gallery.

May 18, 2017


Junior Yellow Belt
Olyvia  Frazier
Brianna Beck
Alex Mego

Junior Orange Belt
Bella Harris
Griffin Harris
Maddie Lusker
Kloe Scroxton
Izabel Scroxton

Junior Blue Belt
Benjamin Edwards

Junior Brown Belt
Only awarded for exceptional junior players
who are too young for senior rank.

Jackson Eastman
Lydia Doucette


Senior Orange Belt
Caroline Toldo

Senior Sankyu Brown Belt (3rd Level)
Meg Allen
Ashley Morrell

Senior Nikyu Brown Belt (2nd Level)
Mitchell Kucsera
Nicholas Oickle

Senior Shodan Black Belt (1st Degree)

Emma Cypherd
Fishers Island’s 1st player promoted to black belt.

Thaddeus Allen
Fishers Island’s 2nd player promoted to black belt

Michael Shine (2011 Alumni)
Promoted in Montville on May 19, 2017

Judo Promotion Ceremony

At the end of the ceremony, FI School Principal/Superintendent Karen Goodwin presented Sensei Egnor with an official Fishers Island School Staff aluminum Viking Pride water bottle as an honorary member of the Fishers Island School faculty. On behalf of the Board, students, and families Karen expressed, “We have respect and deep gratitude for his dedication to our judo students and school, often braving fierce west winds get to Fishers to provide expert differentiated instruction to his class of kindergarteners through seniors. The skill, respect, and cooperation our kids learn from Sensei Egnor and his team are a testament to the program’s effectiveness.”

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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