Sensei Walter Miller began practicing judo at Yale Judo Club in 1969 after wrestling for five years. At Yale, he won the state championships both times he entered in his respective belt and weight divisions under Sensei Insoo Hwang. After college, he studied Japanese Ju-Jitsu and earned his black belt. He returned to judo as a white belt with his new sensei John Pereira. He competed for the Connecticut Travel Team in his thirties and placed second at the Connecticut State Championships with a black belt. He has taught Ju-Jitsu and Judo ever since, including at his own dojo for several years. Sensei Miller obtained his undergraduate degree from Yale in Psychology and his Masters in Social Work from UCONN. Following retirement from a career as a clinical social worker with a specialty in addiction treatment, he moved to Morriston, Florida. He took over responsibilities as coach of the recently revived Gator Judo Club in November 2015. He holds a Sandan (3rd-degree black belt) in Judo and a Shichidan (7th-degree black belt) in Ju-Jitsu.
Sensei Diba Mani began her judo training in 2000 at Northglenn Judo Club in Colorado and then transitioned to Boulder Judo Training Center in Fall 2006, where she trained with 2004 Olympic Team leader Buck Wessell and Japanese Olympic multi-medalist Noriko Narazaki. As a member of the founding cohort of Team FORCE, she also benefitted from training with U.S. Olympic coach Jimmy Pedro. Sensei Mani has ample experience competing at national and international U.S. events as a junior athlete, as well as senior events (i.e. gold at the Collegiate National Championships in 2009).
Sensei Mani has experience teaching judo to children and novice adults, as well as implementing judo programs for special populations such as disadvantaged youth through the City of Boulder juvenile delinquency program and mentally and/or physically disabled children and adults. Sensei Mani earned her National Referee licensure for U.S.A. Judo in 2010, and is currently an International “B” Referee.
Outside the dojo, Sensei Mani earned her Bachelors degrees in Integrative Physiology and Asian Studies, Masters in Integrative Physiology, and Doctorate with specialty in Neurophysiology, all from the University of Colorado Boulder. She currently teaches human physiology, neuromuscular exercise, and motor control/learning courses at the University of Florida.
Sensei AJ began his judo career in his youth in New York. Since then he has achieved the rank of Yondan. A J has been a sensei with Gator Judo for over 3 years and has been a huge asset to the club.
Sensei Josh is currently 1st degree black belt and assists mainly with beginner's instruction at our club. He also trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and provides valuable insight into newaza (ground fighting) techniques.