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Judo Instructors

Kari Gabriel

  • Started Judo at 8 years old
  • 17 years as a competitor
  • At 14 moved to Colorado Springs to train at the OTC
  • At 15 was the #1 ranked junior for 5 yrs and #3 ranked senior
  • At 16 won the prestigious US Open and took over the #1 ranked position at the senior level and was on the National team traveling to all major grand slam events world wide for 7 years until retired
  • Moved to Denver in 1996 and took over as the head coach at Hyland Hills Judo Club
  • Been producing National and International Champions ever since
  • Coaching for 23 years

So many proud moments as a coach. Many students winning medals at the pan am tournaments along the years and Proudest

accomplishment would be Jesse Butler making the 2017 Junior World Team and getting his silver medal at senior nationals in the

73kg division and qualifying to compete and train at the world level at age 17 and having his sights set on 2024, 2028 Olympics


  • 14 time National Champion
  • Two time winner of “Most Outstanding Player” at Nationals
  • US Open champion and two time bronze medalist and 2X 5th place
  • British open 5th place
  • International Pacific Rim silver medalist
  • Jr. Pan Am 2x Gold medalist
  • Sr Pan Am two time bronze medalist
  • Sweden Open champion & most outstanding female award given
  • Dutch Open Silver medal
  • German Open 9th place
  • Fukuoka Japan Intl 7th Place
  • Austrian open 7th place
  • 1992 Olympic second seed position


Student Achievements

Multiple Time National Champions 1996-current:

Sara Hogarth, Bethany Ogzewalla, Trevor Mallo, Foryst Hudson,

Chelsea Hudson, Dasha Cogswell, Sasha Cogswell, Ryan Blair,

Robert Burger, Brittany Burger, Marissa Gallegos, Nicholas

Gallegos, Jeriah Garcia, Jesse Butler, Naomi Butler, Angel

Dominguez, Antonio Segura, Daniel Cardenas, Lily Vasquez, Mia

Tuka, Noella Tuka, Elias Jordan, Anastacia Fucci

Pan Am Champions and medalists:

  • Jesse Butler – Argentina 2011 bronze and Cancun 2017 7th place
  • Naomi Butler- El Salvador 2014 bronze
  • Marissa Gallegos- Argentina 2011 bronze and Puerto Rico 2013
  • gold & silver
  • Robert Burger- Argentina 2011 bronze & gold
  • Mia Tuka- Dominican Republic 2016 and Peru 2017 silver & gold
  • Dasha Cogswell- Costa Rica 2005 bronze
  • Jr World Team Member:
  • Jesse Butler- Croatia 2017

Current National Ranked Athletes:

  • Jesse Butler #2 ranked junior and 7th senior
  • Mia Tuka #10 ranked
  • Noella Tuka #1 ranked

Goals and Dreams

Judo and Brazlian Jujitsu is not in the school systems, therefore I would love to offer a scholarship program. That way we can compete with high school sports and keep these kids long term and also set their future up for life after sport. Also both sports have no government funding or sponsorship help for the serious competitors that are setting high goals. I would like to offer a sponsorship program for these athletes so they can compete and have a chance at the international level. These two things help to get these kids to gain the commitment, discipline, accountability, responsibility, hard work ethic, and setting goals and knowing they can achieve anything and they can see a future.

I have kids from other countries that want to come and train under me but have no place to house them. So having a place set up for room and board would be excellent for our training center bringing in international athletes to train with our local kids. This is a dream of mine I’ve been working towards for a long time, but need funding in order to accomplish this.

Jesse Butler

  • Rank- Black belt
  • Age- 20
  • Years in Judo- 14 Years
  • Judo Club- Elite Performance Judo Center
  • National Ranking- Currently ranked #2 in Jr and 7th in Sr in USA

Highlights of career:

  • Multiple time National Champion
  • Pan Am Bronze medalist, 2011 Argentina
  • 2014 Most outstanding male award at Nationals (out of over 900 competitors)
  • At age 16, National silver medalist in the men’s black belt elite division
  • Currently ranked #1 in the Jr. male 18-20 yrs of age, 81kg
  • Currently ranked in the top 10 in the Mens 81kg
  • Trained for 2 weeks in Austria with the worlds best Olympic athletes
  • Officially selected by USA Judo for the Jr Pan Am team 2017 at 81kg, Cancun Mexico
  • Officially selected by USA Judo for a trip to Japan for training, summer of 2017. Jesse was 1 of only 4 men selected out of America.
  • 2017 JR WORLD TEAM member held in Croatia

Short Term Goals

To climb to top 3 at 81kg Senior category 2019.

Qualify to compete in Grand Prix and Grand Slams in 2020.

Long Term Goals

To make Olympic Team in 2024 and 2028. To transition to an MMA career afterward.


Jesse graduated from Westminster High School with a 3.75 GPA, honor roll, and completing the 4 year PLTW engineering course. He managed to maintain all of this while becoming #1 in the nation at a new weight class, 81kg, and traveling constantly worldwide to achieve his dreams. Jesse trains six days a week year around, maintains a position as an assistant coach at his training facility, and holds strength and conditioning classes for Elite Performance Judo Center on the weekends. Jesse also works full time for Dr Joseph Arvay at Maximized Living. Dr Joe has been a big supporter in these last few years and has always believed in Jesse, but having to travel the world for training and competitions all year around to become top 22 in the world for men and qualify for the Olympics takes an army. Jesse Butler has an undeniable work ethic and unbreakable discipline to go for gold and would appreciate any help in supporting his goals.

2019 Competition and Training Schedule January-July

  • January
    • 10 day Olympic Training Camp, Montreal Canada
  • February
    • San Jose tournament in CA.
    • Lone Star in Dallas
  • March
    • Denver Spring Tournament
  • April
    • State Championships, Denver
    • Pedros Challenge, Boston
    • Liberty Bell, Philadelphia
  • May
    • Training
  • June
    • Senior Nationals, Las Vegas
  • July
    • Intl Olympic camp, Spain
    • US Open, Ft Lauderdale

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