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In 1963, Jim Koteles received his Brown Belt and became Captain of the Manson Five-Man Brown Belt Team, winning the Eastern Canadian Championships in Montreal. In 1964-65 Jim placed in the Top Three in several team championships, and Top Five in numerous competitions throughout Eastern Canada and Western New York.
In 1965 he was promoted to Shodan, First Degree Black Belt, and began teaching Judo at the Welland Judo Club, which he co-owned. In 1967 Jim was promoted to Nidan, Second Degree Black Belt, and entered into a partnership with other Black Belts to purchase the Manson Judo Club. This club was renamed ‘Niagara Falls Judo Centre Limited’.
In 1968 Jim attended the National Coaches Clinic sponsored by Amateur Sports Directorate of National Health and Welfare, one of only thirty black belts selected by the Canadian Kodokan Black Belt Association.
For over a decade, Jim Koteles taught many high profile students and was Sensei to the next generations of highly successful judokas, including Black Belt Gerald Cyr. During a tour of Canada, Professor Kotani, Ninth Degree Black Belt from the Kodokan Institute of Judo in Japan honored Jim and his club by accepting an invitation to visit.
Jim Koteles was also instrumental in the training of Larry Kaminsky, who went on to compete in the Canadian Judo Championships, losing to Doug Rogers, the Canadian Judo Champion at the time. Larry Kaminsky is a member of the Welland Sports Wall of Fame.
Over the years, Jim Koteles has guided and coached many students through the ranks of judo, and always strived to bring out the best in everyone. Jim never gave up on his students, as he encouraged them to try their best in order to get the most out of their
abilities. He was a great leader in the sport of judo and in the City of Niagara Falls, and this is why Jim Koteles deserves to be a member of the Sports Wall of Fame.
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