AnnMaria De Mars

Dr. AnnMaria De Mars was the first American to win the World Judo Championships, in 1984. She also won gold medals in the Panamerican Games, Austrian Open, Canada Cup, Pacific Rim, U.S. Open (twice), U.S. National Championships (three times) and a bunch of other stuff. She began judo when she was in middle school, back in 1972 and credits her experiences in both judo and mathematics for keeping her out of Chino Women’s Prison, which early on seemed her more likely destination than co-founder of multiple technology companies. In her day job, AnnMaria is president of 7 Generation Games, an educational software company.

Judo student, Stephanie (left), Jose Gonzalez (right)

This program would not be possible without a certified teacher as supervisor – a role Jose has filled for fourteen years! José graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and then went ahead and cleared his teaching credential from there as well. He has worked as a middle school teacher for 16 years at Gompers Middle School in South Central Los Angeles.  During that time, José has taught on and off the mat, accompanying students to judo camps and tournaments in Washington, D.C., Kansas City, MO, Salt Lake City, UT and throughout southern California. Mr. Gonzalez insures that each judo activity also supports students’ education, arranging activities ranging from hiking part of the Lewis and Clark Trail to visiting the Smithsonian Museum.

Jimmy Sanchez (left) and Flavio Canto (right)

A multitasker, Jimmy Sanchez assists in judo instruction, provides supervision during judo camps and clinics, serves as back-up LAUSD staff member for Mr. Gonzalez, manages the social media for Gompers Judo. Follow us on Instagram at @gompersjudo . He also occasionally serves as Spanish translator. Mr. Sanchez has had a long tenure – over a decade – with Gompers Judo, and even longer at Gompers Middle School. He attended Gompers as a middle school student and while still attending college returned as a paraprofessional, first assisting with bilingual students and currently working with students with disabilities.