This week we chat with Ed Maley, who has been teaching judo for more than 65 years.
He’s worked with Tampa Bay area youths for more than 50 years as the founder and head instructor of the Florida School of Judo. Maley oversees the instruction of judo students at several locations, including the Brandon Recreation Center and the Campo Family YMCA in Valrico.
This week, Maley, 81, received a Community Service Award from the Egypt Shriners in Tampa. Before picking up his prize, he spoke with us about his career and the sport of judo.
Q: How did you first get into judo all those years ago?
Answer: We had a green belt instructor come out to my high school in Brooklyn. At that time, there was only one judo school in all the five boroughs in New York City. I really got into it when I went into the service [Air Force] in the early ‘50s. They had me set up a conditioning unit.
Q: What is it about your method of teaching that has allowed you to have such a long, successful career?
Answer: I care. I really put my heart into it. It’s all about growing the sport. Today, judo is second only to soccer in the world, in terms of participation.
Q: How has the sport evolved over the years?
Answer: In my time, judo has grown by leaps and bounds. I’ve seen it added to the Olympics in ‘64 before it became a permanent sport in ‘72. I’ve also seen women able to compete for judo medals in the Olympics starting in ‘92. Even now, the people in MMA who have judo backgrounds tend to do better.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out you were receiving the Community Service Award?
Answer: I felt very honored. The Shriners do a lot to help a lot of kids, and it felt good to be recognized by them.
Q: You’re obviously a tough guy, but is there anyone you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley?
Answer: I’m not afraid of anyone.