Judo instructors win gold at Pan-American Games

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As seen in The Summerville Journal Scene

A pair of Summerville martial artists earned medals for the United States during the 2018 Pan-American Judo Championships.

The Pan-American Championships began this spring in San Jose, Costa Rica, where Judoists from across the Americas gathered to contest the title of best in the West. The Western Hemisphere, that is.

Representatives for the United States team are chosen based on performance at the U.S. Senior National Championships held each spring.

The first day featured kata competition, dominated by the United States, Brazil, and Canada. Kata is a prearranged skills demonstration graded by expert judges; it is technical, exacting, and precise. Summerville residents Robert Gouthro and Dr. Lisa Capriotti each brought home two gold medals, defeating teams from Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico. The total medal count for the U.S. team at the kata competition was three gold and three silver medals.

This was the third consecutive year Gouthro and Capriotti participated in the Pan-American Championships and brought home two gold medals each. The husband and wife team have also won gold at the American-Canadian championships the last two years and have dominated the U.S. National Championship, winning multiple gold medals in each annual competition since 2014. Their next international competition will be representing the United States for the fifth time at the Veterans World Judo Championships in Cancun, Mexico in October.

Gouthro teaches English as a Second Language at Fort Dorchester Elementary School. Dr. Capriotti, a US Navy veteran, teaches chemistry at The Citadel. Gouthro has studied judo, karate, iaido (quick draw of the samurai sword), and jujutsu for 16 years and holds a second-degree black belt in judo. Capriotti has studied judo, karate, iaido, and jujutsu for over 19 years and is a third-degree black belt in judo.

The pair has practiced kata, which requires two people performing together, for the past eight years. Their goal is to win gold at the International Judo Federation Kata World Championships.

In addition to their training, Capriotti coaches the Citadel judo team. She and Gouthro teach at a new judo club in Goose Creek when not volunteering as instructors at the Samurai Judo Association on the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek. That is a free club for active duty military-connected personnel Department of Defense contractors. They also volunteer at the American Judo and Jujitsu Academy on Highway 78 in Summerville. Additionally, Gouthro teaches karate twice a week also at the Naval Weapons Station.