Sensei Benjamin G. Palacio

Perpetual Judo Scholarship Award

Presented to a CCSF Judo Student

Benjamin G. Palacio

Perpetual Judo Scholarship Awarded to:

Thomas Wells, Spring 2009

Mike Murrell, Fall 2007

Jorge Rendon:Spring 2007

Kieran Waegner: Fall 2006

Michel Arellano: Spring 2006

Samir Golubovic: Fall 2005


At the End of Semester Awards Dinner, a $100 scholarship award will be presented to the CCSF Judo Student who best reflects the philosophy and spirit of Sensei Benjamin G. Palacio.

***Donations to the Benjamin G. Palacio Scholarship can be sent to the United States Judo Federation, Attn: Benjamin G. Palacio Scholarship.***

Sensei Palacio was a very special person because he was such a great teacher. He knew how to teach students and he possessed an open mind and an engaging personality. He is remembered through this Perpetual Judo Scholarship because he was a positive influence in the lives of his Judo students. He taught and trained his Judo students to see how Judo was beneficial to one's life. He believed that Judo is essential to the development of the mind, body and spirit and groomed many Judo champions.

Sensei Palacio was a great man, a generous Judo teacher and a great judoka. He lived and radiated the Judo spirit. He mastered the art of teaching many different types of students Judo.


Sensei Palacio had great respect for his own judo instructors. They were Sensei Higami, Sensei George Hamamoto and Sensei Okazaki, Sensei Sakabe, Sensei Yamada and Sensei Mits Kimura. He began his study of judo in 1948 on the Big Island of Hawaii. He continued to study and practiced jujitsu at Hibiscus Dojo in Honolulu with Sensei George Hamamoto. He also studied judo and shiatsu massage with Sensei Okazaki in Honolulu. .


In 1959, he established the Koyukan Judo Dojo in San Francisco. He named his dojo "Koyukan" - which means "mixture of people coming together". And for the next forty years, Koyukan was that kind of gathering place for his Judo students of all cultures and backgrounds.

He taught Judo to junior and senior students, Monday through Saturday, and attended Judo tournaments on Sundays. He worked full time at the San Francisco Hilton and together with his wife, Yukino, raised six children.

He led each of his Judo classes with firm discipline, precision, ease and gentleness. He personalized his teaching techniques and adjusted them to the individual student. Sensei Palacio studied Judo as intensely as he taught his students thoroughly about Judo as art and sport. He taught them the principle of maximum efficient use of mind and body.

He encourage and demanded dignity of his Judo students on and off the mat. He had compassion and charisma and a natural talent for story telling when he instructed his students in Judo.

He taught training drills at every level of practice. He simplified each throw by diagramming basic steps and taught his students each part of the throw over and over as a drill until they could connect all steps into a graceful physical throw with intent and purpose. He knew how to completely warm up a Judo class. And, he took his time through each level of practice. He taught by example and by taking the time to relate to his student.

Sensei Palacio always encouraged discipline of mind and body and taught his students to sit and mediate on the mat for a set period of time during practice. Students were drawn to his irresistible humanity. He, in turn, paid attention to each of his students and was acutely aware of a student's strengths and weaknesses. He treated his students with dignity and respect and they flourished under his directed attention. He was a strict teacher but he was never mean. He was a stricter Judo instructor when he was younger; and he was gentler as he aged. He taught his students the art of knowing oneself. He often challenged his students beyond the obvious when he saw their true potential.

Sensei Palacio knew how to teach and he taught his students how to be neat, how to fold a judo-gi, how to sit and stand straight and how to walk tall in and out of the dojo. Sensei Palacio taught each of his six children judo from an early age and taught each child how to teach Judo, thereby instilling Judo deeply in each child's character. And, each one of his children earned a black belt.

Judo students responded to Sensei Palacio because they were drawn to his life force, his strong and good spirit, his integrity and character. He was an egalitarian man. He motivated his Judo students to prepare for local, regional and national competitions because he knew that contests in Judo have as their rational that the lessons taught in matches will find applications not only in future training but in the world at large.

Sensei Palacio was an exceptional Judo teacher because he was open to learning new things from his students and through his students became a wise and experienced teacher. He also taught Judo at the Daly City Recreation Center, South San Francisco Recreation Department and the Burlingame Recreation Department to many youngsters, in addition to his own Koyukan Judo Dojo. In 1997, he joined the Makimoto Judo Club/Vacaville Police Athletic Club. In addition, the United States Judo Federation National Promotion Committee subsequently promoted him to Rokudan. (6th Degree Black Belt)


He invented the electric timers and scoreboards for Judo competition with the help of his Koyukan Judo Dojo parents. The scoreboards and timers allowed judokas and their supporters to view the scoreboards from both sides of the mat efficiently and fairly.


Sensei Palacio was one of the first to teach women's Judo and was considered maverick for teaching women Judo as sport, art and way of life. He was ahead of his time and in line with the gentleness and discipline of Judo when he also taught his women judo students traditional kata and randori as well as self-defense movements.

He adopted the Kodokan's then-newly developed system for physical culture and mental training as well as winning contests. He taught his women students the taisabaki and seriokyu zenyo kokumin as part of daily judo practice. He also taught his women Judo students the history of Judo, jujitsu and aikido.


Sensei Palacio believed that one should pay close attention to the relationship between the self and others as well as be aware of one's own strengths and weaknesses while critically assessing one's surroundings. He was very conscious of the people around him and was aware of a greater consciousness. He believed that Judo taught one how to use maximum efficient use of power.

He believed in both kata and randori as forms that contribute to the intellectual training of young minds. Sensei Palacio believed in "in yielding is strength" He believed in taking the lead-the strategy of making a move that will entice the other player to move a certain way.

Sensei Palacio taught that Judo gives each student the same potential for success and often guided as student out of lethargy and disappointment to a state of vigorous activity.

Sensei Palacio radiated with the Judo spirit and on February 27, 1999, when he passed on to eternal life, he left a lifetime legacy of his Judo spirit with all his students and friends.