Don Montero (William Montero Jr)

Don MonteroWilliam (Don) Montero Jr. was born in 1936, Honolulu, Hawaii. At the age of 6 he began studying Judo & Ju Jitsu with Professor Seishiro Okazaki while under the direct instruction and responsibility of Johnny Sing, an instructor of the Mui Mikimiki Club at the Kodenkan. Later in San Jose, CA he continued to study under his father, Bill Montero when he opened Pacific Judo Academy. At the age of 16 (1952) he received his Black Belt (shodan) in Danzan Ry Ju Jitsu, making him the youngest individual to receive a First Degree Degree Black Belt rank in the system. A year later (1953) he received his Black Belt
(shodan) in Judo from the Hokka Yudanshakai and was also recognized through certification by the Kodokan in Tokyo, Japan, not only for his first Black Belt rank but all those to follow.

His martial arts career began with Danzan Ryu Ju Jitsu and while he continued to study the art, he began competing in Judo,Don Montero locally, regionally, and nationally. He excelled at all levels and became known as a strong and respected competitor in the sport. Over the years he received multiple awards and one such award was when he was named “Outstanding Judoka for 1962” by the Hokka Yudanshakai. That award was made for overall record achievement and sportsmanship on the mat, meaning as a judoka (practitioner of Judo) and off the mat, as an individual based on personal accomplishments for himself and others. Later when asked about that award he said: “I was dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. To me such an award means more than just randori, it is a symbol of respect and I shall do my most to uphold it”. And that he did, as a competitor and as a coach. Later, he went on to coach children, teenagers and adults in judo. He formed a Judo and team they competed at local, regional and national level tournaments, always bringing back a high number of trophies. His training was intense, often including over an hour of running every morning and two hours of practice most nights. But his philosophy with regard to Judo was that is should be fun. Still, he expected a serious commitment by all his competitors, who, obviously understood that they represented Pacific Judo Academy.

Don Montero retired from the arts in 1978 and relocated to Colorado Springs, CO, where in 1981 he was joined by his father and mother who also chose to retire there. In 1992, just days prior to his father passing away he was asked by him to visit Pacific Judo Academy, by then Pacific Judo & Ju Jitsu Academy, to assist in it’s direction and continuation. It was there that a teacher / student bond was formed between him and Angelo Caruana; one that would last and grow in spite of geographical distance. Montero sensei played an active role in PJJA as teacher, coach, and mentor until he passed away in April 2017. Sensei’s teachings and our long conversations will be missed very much.