Neil Simon, M.A., Head Instructor,
Rokudan (6th Degree Black Belt)
Neil Simon has been involved in Judo since 1978 and has dedicated his life to the sport. Prior to founding Shojin Judo in 2004, he was the head instructor of the Ann Arbor YMCA Judo Club.
Neil has contributed to the development of Judo at the local, regional, and national levels. From 2006 to 2012, he served as the President of the United States Judo Federation. In that capacity, he collaborated with the other two major judo organizations in the United States, USA Judo and the United States Judo Association, to foster the growth of Judo in schools and communities across the nation. Neil is the current president of the Judo Affiliates of Michigan and remains active in other Judo organizations.
Neil is an accomplished 6th degree black belt. He is also a national coach, teacher, kata judge, and international referee. As an instructor, he emphasizes the development of fundamental techniques and principles of Judo. He has developed a specialty in teaching individuals with physical, emotional, and mental challenges. His objective for his students is that they implement the basic maxims of judo and gain the tools that they need in their journey through life.
Ahmad Nabil Taher Elalem, Head Technical Instructor,
Rokudan (6th Degree Black Belt)
Ahmad Nabil Taher Elalem has dedicated his life to the sport and development of Judo. He started practicing Judo in 1976 in Tripoli, Libya. Mr. Elalem was the former President of the Libyan Judo Federation as well as the national coach for the Libyan team in the Pan Arab Games in 1999. He is a multi-time Libyan Judo champion.
In the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games, Mr. Elalem served as a national coach and team official for the Libyan Judo team. He is currently an A-Level referee with the International Judo Federation (IJF-A). Mr. Elalem headed the Sport Directors of African Judo Union from 2008-2014 and was a member of the International Judo Federation Sport Commission from 2008-2012.
Mr. Elalem has extensively studied Judo coaching techniques. He has a Master of Science in teaching and coaching Judo. Mr. Elalem holds a Kodokan International Coaching Certificate, an International Coaching Enrichment Certificate by the International Olympic Committee, and was awarded a Gold Medal Award from the International Judo Federation. Mr. Elalem is also trained in self defense techniques. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and the Bahasa Malaysia language.
Peter Boylan, Sandan (Third Degree Black Belt)
Peter has been training in Judo for over 25 years. Fluent in Japanese, he spent 7 years training, competing and coaching in Shiga, Japan. He is also a student of several other Japanese budo arts, including Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, Shinto Muso Ryu, and Shinto Hatakage. After more than a decade focused on competition, he now has a particular interest in kata and non-competition applications of Judo. He is the the author of a popular blog on Judo and Budo, the Budo Bum.
Dave Bentley, Assistant Instructor, Sandan (3rd Degree Black Belt)
Dave Bentley has been with the judo community for most of his youth and adult life. He started Judo at the Northwestern Family YMCA in Detroit under the direction of James Walmsley. He was later a member of the Michigan State Judo Club’s competition team from 1977-1981 where he received his Shodan from Mr. J. Kim. He has a competitive and medal winning history and is one of the club coaches for intermediate and advanced students.