It’s been nearly a year since Irwin Cohen, a longtime judo coach from Buffalo Grove, passed away. His family plans to mark the anniversary of his death next week with a balloon release at his judo club.
Cohen’s sons Aaron and Richard now run Cohen Brothers Judo Club, which relocated from Mundelein to Vernon Hills earlier this year. The club was started by Irwin Cohen and his brother, Steve, who were both also Olympic athletes.
Aaron Cohen, a Stevenson High School graduate who still lives in Buffalo Grove, said judo students and their parents have been invited to an Aug. 27 dedication in honor of his father. Students will sign balloons before releasing them at the school.
“My dad was very well known in judo. The kids loved him and he was very passionate,” Aaron Cohen said. “We should have a good turnout. It should be fun. I just want the kids to know he was a big part of the judo club.”
Cohen said his family’s judo training center has produced five Olympic athletes as well as a number of others who later became doctors and lawyers.
“[Judo] gives you the confidence, the life lessons, the discipline for hard work,” he said.
Aaron Cohen, who was trained in judo by his father and his uncle, was an Olympic alternate in the 2008 competition in Beijing. In addition to training judo players at the Vernon Hills school, he is now a wrestling coach at Deerfield High School.
He and his brother are continuing their father and uncle’s record of excellence at Cohen Brothers Judo Club. The program sent 25 athletes this year to the Junior Nationals competition in Texas and earned nine medals, he said.