Who we are

Kevin Asano

Kevin Asano


Kevin Asano was born in Honolulu, Hawaii but began his judo career in 1970 as a seven year old under professor Tsuruo Fukushima. After moving back to Hawaii in 1971 he practiced judo at Pearl City Judo Club where he received his 1st degree black belt (shodan) at 16 years old. In 1981 Kevin moved to Leeward Judo Club again studying under Fukushima sensei. After graduating from Pearl City High School, he trained at Tokai University in Kanagawa, Japan for two years under professor Nobuyuki Sato. Upon returning to the U.S., he trained at San Jose State University under professor Yosh Uchida.


Kevin’s accomplishments include winning the high school nationals, junior nationals, collegiate nationals, U.S. Open and a bronze medal at the 1987 World Championships in Essen, West Germany.  After 18 years of training, Kevin earned a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Kevin has been inducted into the United States Judo Federation Hall of Fame, the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame, the San Jose State University Sports Hall of Fame, and the USA Judo Hall of Fame. He is a 7th degree black belt and a professor of judo. In 2019 Kevin was awarded the Government of Japan’s Foreign Minster’s Commendation in recognition of his work to promote mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the U.S. (Hawaii) through sports.


Kevin is currently the president of Hawaii Judo, Inc. and Executive Instructor at Leeward Judo Club with two locations in Pearl City and Kapolei. He is also the past president of the United States Judo Federation. He is a managing partner at Mission Financial Group, a wealth management organization, and the co-founder of Personal Transformation International, a non-profit organization committed to transforming individuals by helping them find their life’s calling. He is a public speaker and author of the book, “Step onto the Mat” which highlights his discipline and journey to becoming an Olympic Silver Medalist.


Kevin and his wife, Mari, have five children. His whole family is active in judo, with his three older daughters as black belts and his two younger sons following in his footsteps. Together, the family frequently travels to Japan for business, judo and visiting family.

Steve Alphabet

Steve Alphabet

Head Judo Instructor

Steven Alphabet is originally from Atlanta, Georgia but currently calls Hawaii his home. He has over four decades experience in practicing and teaching judo and jujitsu. Steven has a passion to educate and mentor children and young men and women to become successful in all aspects of life.

He is a 5thdegree black belt, certified national judo referee,  certified international judo coach, and certified Department of Education teacher with 20 years experience in general education, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and special education.

In 1993 he founded Judo the Ultimate Challenge, Inc., a 501c3 organization. JTUC provides children and young adults with quality programs and experiences that will positively impact their intellectual, social, ethical and physical development. Programs under JTUC include Ultimate Challenge Afterschool Judo Program, Youth Exploring Science (Y.E.S.), Youth Career Initiative (YCI), Today Not Tomorrow (TNT Fit), Cognitive Awareness Training (CAT), and Walk It Out/Talk It Out. Steve is also the creator of the ABC Judo Curriculum which is the bases for his success of his students both on and off the mat. 

Steven founded Kokoro Tatsu Marital Arts & Fitness in Georgia where he developed local, national and international champions. In 1996 he was the competition manager for the judo event at the Centennial Olympic and Paralympic Games. Steve is also the creator and founder of Judocise, a fun, invigorating, and challenging physical fitness program based on the principles of judo movement.


Our Mission & Vision

 In the early 1990’s Kevin Asano and Steven Alphabet met in Miami, Florida at a national judo training clinic. Over the 30 years Kevin and Steven continued their friendship. On several occasions, Kevin visited Steven in Atlanta, Georgia where he saw the success of his Kokoro Tatsu Judo Club and Judo the Ultimate Challenge programs. Kevin and Steven both have a vision to build the next generation through judo and after school academic programs. In 2017 Steven accepted Kevin’s invitation to move to Hawaii, and Honolulu Judo Club is the genesis of this vision.

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