The Philadelphia Judo Club began in 1949 as the Philadelphia Jiu Jitsu Club located within the center city YMHA.
The head instructor was Jack Feinsinger. The Philadelphia Jiu Jitsu players would compete frequently in Judo tournaments, hosted by George Uchida.
During this time period, Jiu Jitsu did not have a ranking system, so Mr. Uchida awarded Judo rank to the competing Jiu Jitsu players.
In 1953, Dr. Eichi Koiwai took over as head instructor and changed the name to the Philadelphia Judo Club.
From this time until the arrival of Sensei Takahiko Ishikawa in 1962, the Philadelphia Judo Club grew in numbers and was the home of the first black belts to be awarded in any martial art in Philadelphia.