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Dale Lehman - Founder of OBC Judo Team

           To begin with Dale was born at a very young age ( Sorry but that date is top secret ) in Davenport, Iowa and grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa,  where he attended school and began wrestling when he was a sophomore in high school. His senior year Dale won 3rd place in the heavyweight division of the Iowa High School Wrestling Championships and 1st place in the Iowa A.A.U. Wrestling Championships. Upon completing high school Dale entered the United States Air Force.

            It was there that he was first introduced to the sport of Judo in 1960, while stationed in Roswell, New Mexico. During his tour of duty, he won several Air Force Judo Championships. In 1960, his first year of Judo, Dale became the Strategic Air Command Novice Champion and the 15th Air Force Novice Champion. By 1963 he became the All Air Force Open Judo Champion. Dale was also the New Mexico State Champion in 1961, 1962, and 1963. In 1963 Dale received his honorable discharge from the Air Force and moved to Odessa, his wife's hometown.

            After arriving in Odessa, Dale went to work as an apprentice plumber and later started his own plumbing business “City Plumbing". In the fall of 1963 he started a Judo Club in Odessa and later in 1964, Dale became the Sensei of the famous Odessa Boys Club Judo Team or as it is well known across the nation as OBC Judo. During Dale's first year as our Sensei, he won the title of Texas State Judo Champion in the Open Division and also the Overall State Champion every year from 1964 through 1972.  In 1968 Dale was the National YMCA Champion and the first Texan to place in the U.S. Senior National Judo Championships.  In 1969 Dale was chosen to represent the United States in the Pan Am Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico and he placed 3rd in the Open Division.

          Dale Lehman has directed 5 National Championships & has held several offices to promote Judo in Texas. Dale served as Co-Director of the 2000 Senior Nationals in Houston, Texas.

          In 1970 Dale was chosen 1 of 15 to represent the United States in the World Judo Tournament in Mexico City, Mexico. Dale was also voted "All American in Judo" and chosen as "Judoka of the year" in 1969 and 1970. Dale has placed 5 times in the United States National Championships.       

            Dale Lehman's work with the youth through Judo was recognized in 1968 and 1972, when he was presented with the "Boy's Clubs of America Golden Boy Award " by the Odessa Boys Club.  Dale was awarded the Volunteer Leader Award for 12 years straight from 1972 to 1985 by the Odessa Boys Club. Dale Lehman has made such an impression on citizens here in Odessa, that a special award was named after him in 1998. They call this award the "Dale Lehman Volunteer of the Year Award". This is awarded each year to an individual that stands out as a volunteer.

Past Offices Held;

  1. Vice President – Texas Judo Black Belt Association
  2. Vice President – Texas Judo, Inc.
  3. Chief Referee – Texas Judo, Inc.
  4. Chairman of the Board of Promotions & Examiners – Texas Judo, Inc.
  5. Texas Volunteer All Star – 2012


  1. Dale currently holds the rank of Hachidan, 8th degree Black Belt.
  2. Life Member of Texas Judo, Inc.
  3. Life Member of United States Judo Federation
  4. Life Member of United States Judo, Inc.
  5. International Judo Coach
  6. Member of Texas Promotion Board