Olympian gives back to community

Josh Terao
Josh Terao
Taylor Takata
Taylor Takata

By Stephen Florino - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It's like shooting hoops with Kobe Bryant, or hitting balls with the Williams sisters. More than 50 people learn some of the latest judo techniques from an Olympian. And this world class athlete was born and raised right here in Hawaii.

Taylor Takata grew up in Wahiawa. He put on Sunday's seminar as a way to give back to the community. And they might not have known it, but the participants were also helping him on his way to Beijing.

These judoka are in for a treat. They get to train with some of America's best, including local boy Taylor Takata -- 2008 Olympian.

"It's very fun working with an Olympian that's gonna go off to China," said Josh Terao. "It's a great opportunity to practice with him and learn all his moves."

They run, roll, and spar under the watchful eye of instructors. The goal for this clinic -- sharing what they've learned on the way to becoming the best in the world.

"We've travelled around the world, competed against the best," said Takata. "I believe we have a lot to offer kids as far as experience and knowledge."

"I wanted to learn neiwaza, and tachiwaza, which is standing up and throwing people. and neiwaza, when you pin people and choke them, or arm bar them," said Terao.

But the clinic also has another purpose -- fundraiser. Taylor's been training for the last four years, meaning he hasn't been working.

"Everything helps," said Takata. "The money's gonna go to my training, my travel expenses, all of my expenses. U.S. judo doesn't cover a lot of my expenses, so everything, all the support here, I've very grateful for it."

Taylor's also having a fundraising dinner next weekend. And American Savings Bank is accepting donations on his behalf.

He'll be home for another ten days, before making his way to Beijing.