Professor Ed Maley always believed in helping others achieve their goals. The judo instructor of 70 years passed away at the age of 87 in the beginning of October.
Maley started practicing judo when he was in the Air Force and made a career out of it. He taught combative measure to the troops, and he eventually went with a few other soldiers as the first team ever sent to Japan to the headquarters of worldwide judo, the Kodokan Institute, where he competed. He was the first military man to place in the U.S. Nationals.
He was transferred to MacDill AFB in 1959, where he was in charge of the Physical Conditioning Unit, training troops in self defense, judo and karate. He passed on the Olympic trials to start the Florida School of Judo in 1963 when he left the Air Force after 12 years of service.
About 15 years ago, he sold his business, but continued to volunteer. He spent a lot of his free time volunteering at various facilities, including the Campo YMCA as a judo instructor for many years, offering free classes.
According to his son, Keith Maley, at one point in time, his father traveled to eight to twelve facilities and recreation centers a week to teach classes. On the front window of his Tampa business, he had the phrase, “Nice people and champions are made here.”
He taught several state, national, international, world and Olympic competitors and champions. About two weeks before he passed away, he was still teaching classes.
“He was one of a kind,” said Keith. “It wasn’t about the money for him. He didn’t try to run it like a business. He enjoyed teaching, and he tried to help people and give them confidence.”
Shihan Maley, as his students loving referred to him, had many accomplishments and awards, including the 1998 Platinum Award for 50 years of teaching, the 2004 Hillsborough County Son & Daughter Award and the 2008 Black Belt magazine’s Best Traditional Judo School in the United States, to name a few.
He is included in the Black Belt World of GI Halls of Fame and he was undefeated in the state of Florida and won eight consecutive championships. He was also awarded his 9th Degree Black Belt, the second highest achievement in judo before the 10th Degree, in 2015.
In 2009, then Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio proclaimed September 12 as ‘Professor Ed Maley Day,’ encouraging citizens to honor Ed for his achievements and dedication to playing such a major role in Tampa’s sports history.
“He was the best man I ever knew,” said Keith. “He would give the shirt off his back. If you had a bad day at work, or you had a bad day with traffic, or you were having a bad time at home or whatever, when you went in there and worked out for an hour or two, you forgot about all that and he kept your mind off of it and he would talk to people as a father. It was all about his family, his judo family and his regular family.”
The Florida School of Judo is a nonprofit organization that volunteers at the YMCA. Any profit that is made goes towards equipment and sponsorships. There are currently 40-60 kids that are a part of the school and 30-40 adults on the weekend at the Campo YMCA.
For more information, visit Florida School of Judo on Facebook.