Michael (” Mike “) Lee Swain (born December 21, 1960 in Elizabeth, New Jersey) is one of the most successful American judokas. He competed in countless international competitions. He is now the VP of Martial Arts at Dollamur, Sports LP where he develops and sells Martial Arts equipment and continues to be a spokesperson and Board member for USA Judo.
Swain competed in major international tournaments including four Olympics and five World Championships. He is most known for his historic win in 1987, becoming the first male judoka from the Western Hemisphere to win a World Championship since it’s inception in 1956. He also won silver at both the 1985 and 1989 World Championships, as well as a gold at the 1987 Pan American Games. He is a four time Olympian*, a five time World team member and was the 1996 US Olympic Judo coach for the Atlanta Games.
- The US boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games held in Moscow, USSR
Training & CoachingThroughout his professional judo career, he spent much of his time training in Japan at Nihon University and the Tokyo Police Academy. He also trained internationally in Wimbledon, UK at the Crystal Palace Training Center with Neil Adams, in Kendal, England at the National Judo Training Center, in Seoul, Korea at Yongin University , in Paris, France at INSEP and, and in Koln, Germany at the Koln National Judo Training Center. Despite all his travels, Swain continually returned San Jose where he trained under Yoshihiro Uchida, a pioneer for American judo. Swain graduated from SJSU in 1985 with a degree in business marketing and continues to this day to coach and bring more students to the program with the Swain Scholarship.
HonorsSwain has been honored for many of his accomplishments as an American judoka. He was named Black Belt Magazine’s “competitor of the year” in 1985, as well as Instructor of the year in 1994. In 2003 the USOC honored several athletes who were pioneers in their sports. Swain was honored as a pioneer for USA Judo alongside other athletes such as Evander Holyfield for boxing and Dan Gable for wrestling.
Honors & Awards List
US and World Olympic Honors
1980, 1984, 1988, 1992 – Olympic Team Member
1988 – Olympic Team Captain
1996 – Men’s Olympic Judo Coach
1977, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989 – World Team Member
1987 – World Championships
1987 – Pan American Games
1991 – US Open
1988 – Italian Open
1984 – Belgian Open
1984 – Czechoslovakian Open
1982 – Dutch Open
1989 – World Championships
1985 – World Championships
1991 – Sungkok Cup
Pacific Rim Championships
1990 – Goodwill Games
1987 – Shoriki Cup
1986 – Kano Cup
1985 – Matsumae Cup
1983 & 1985 – US Open
1977 – Pan American Championships
1988 – Olympic Games
1989 – Pacific Rim Championships
1987 – German Open
1983 – Pan American Games
1983 – Pacific Rim Championships
1981 – Dutch Open
1981 – US Open
1981 – US Open
BusinessIn 1987 he founded Swain Sports. He grew the company to become a successful multi-million dollar, international business at the heart of the martial arts equipment industry. In 2008 he sold his company to Dollamur and became the VP of the Global Martial Arts Division, where he and the company worked together to develop the next generation Flexi-Roll mat. He is the author of two books Ashiwaza II and Championship Judo, as well as the Co-producer of several martial arts shows like Pro Judo, Pro Tae Kwon Do, and Pro Sumo which all have premiered on ESPN. He is the producer of the DVD series Complete Judo, Basic Judo and Basic Grappling.
PersonalSwain’s wife Tania Chie Ishii represented Brazil in the 1992 Olympic games, and his father-in-law Chiaki Ishii won the bronze medal for Brazil in the 1972 Olympics. They live in San Jose with their daughter, Sophia, and a son, Masato, who have grown up doing judo and other sports.