The Blind Judo Foundation helps blind and visually-impaired athletes achieve maximum independence through the pursuit of Judo.
- promote the physical, psychological, emotional and productive benefits of Judo to the blind and visually-impaired community
- identify Head Instructors and their Dojos interested in working with blind and visually-impaired students
- offer professional development activities and educational resources to coaches on how to work with visually-impaired students
- educate legislators and policymakers about scientific knowledge, developments and opportunities for the blind and visually-impaired
Board Members & Advisors
Coach Willy Cahill is a 10th Degree Black Belt in Jujitsu and an 8th Degree in Judo coming from a highly respected lineage Judo instructors. His father, John Cahill, studied the Kodenkan System of Jujitsu in Hawaii under Professor Okazaki, before founding Cahill’s Judo Academy in Daly City, CA. When his father passed away in 1963, Willy Cahill built his own Dojo in San Bruno to honor his father’s memory and realize his father’s dream of training Olympic-quality Judo athletes. As a private coach and as coach for both the US Olympic Judo Team (starting in 1988) and US Paralympic Judo Team (starting in 1999), Coach Cahill has produced over 1,200 National and International Medal winners. Under his leadership, blind and visually-impaired athletes have dominated the Paralympic Games starting with the 2000 games in Sydney. They have won a total of 10 medals, including two Gold. Interestingly, no sighted US athlete has ever won an Olympic gold medal in Judo. Coach Willy is in the Black Belt Hall of Fame and the Black Belt Coaches Hall of Fame and has been named Jujitsu American Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year.
Ron Peck has worked around the globe for Fortune 500 companies as a sales and marketing executive in Healthcare, Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology. Since returning to the US, Ron has devoted his personal and professional life to the formation & management of health and wellness non-profits. He met Willy in a gym in Foster City, CA, and the Foundation grew out of the friendship they formed there. As Co-Founder and CFO Ron manages all “off the mat” efforts to promote and grow the Blind Judo Foundation and its amazing athletes. Ron is a graduate of Columbia Pacific University with a Bachelors Degree in Management and an MBA in Marketing.
Capt. Ivan Castro is a decorated soldier who has received numerous awards, including the Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal, for his dedication and sacrifice to the defense of our country in multiple overseas deployments. Life-threatening injuries sustained during Operation Iraqi Freedom resulted in the loss of his right eye and the permanent loss of vision in his left eye. Despite the loss of vision, he serves as the Executive officer for 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Headquarters and Headquarters Company where he runs the Group’s language lab. Always a gifted athlete, he continues to challenge himself, participating in the Army 10-Miler, the Marine Corps Marathon, the Boston Marathon and other sporting events. Castro currently resides in Raeford, NC, with his wife, Evelyn, and 15-year-old son, Ivan Eduardo.
Michael Glaser is a Partner in the Menlo Park office of Perkins Coie and is a key member of the firm’s nationwide Emerging Companies practice group. With his foundation in finance and securities, Glaser brings a valuable quantitative perspective to transactional negotiations. He has led clients through more than 200 venture capital financing transactions. In addition, he has an active M&A practice, advising clients in complex mergers and strategic business combinations ranging in size from several million dollars to over $400 million dollars. Glaser graduated from New York University School of Law and worked at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati before joining Perkins Coie.
Patrick McGill has extensive international business experience in strategic business development and M&A, with a long track record of success in the mobile convergence space. Most recently, he has worked for boutique consulting firms advising clients on corporate investment strategy. Originally from the UK, Patrick served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Verifone, reporting directly to the Chairman, successfully initiating the corporation’s equity investment in WebTV and playing an intimate role in the acquisition of VeriFone by Hewlett Packard. Prior to his career in high tech, he managed airports for British Airways in Africa, Bangladesh, Finland, India and the Persian Gulf.
Bruno Carmeni is an International Ambassador for the sport of Judo, particularly for blind and visually-impaired athletes. Living and working in Italy, he began his Judo practice at age 15 and represented Italy at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the first Olympic games to feature Judo. During the 1960s, he earned the title of Italian National Champion and participated in eight European Championships. He spent decades as the trainer of the Italian National Junior, Senior, University and Blind Sports Teams and as head instructor at the A.S.D. Judo Conegliano. Bruno is the author of several books, including Judo and Blindness. His favorite saying is “Judo gives light to the visually impaired.” He is married to Aida Guemati.
Aida Guemati, a 3rd Dan Black Belt, is passionate about the sport of Judo with over 25 years of experience competing and teaching the sport of Judo. From her home in Italy, she travels the world with her husband, Bruno Carmeni, as a Judo ambassador. Originally from St. Louis, MO, she attended Universita degli Studi Venezia and Universita degli Studi Padova in Italy, earning an AB Degree in Modern Languages and Literature. She is fluent in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic. In her professional life, she is the Export Manager for a major producer of handmade Italian blown glass. Her favorite quote is “maximum results with minimum efforts.”