Fayetteville-Fort Bragg athlete captures national, international judo Gold Judo

Ishmael McGinty, son of retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul C. McGinty and a rising senior at Terry Sanford High School bounced from sport to sport as young man in search of his niche. He recently parlayed his passion into two gold medals at the USA Judo Junior Olympics in Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas on June 27 to 29. McGinty captured gold medals in the National Division and then repeated this feat in the International Division.  With these victories, he is now rated as the number one male, Juvenile “B” Judoka at 90 kilograms.

McGinty first started swimming with the YMCA Sea Dragons and Fayetteville Flying Fish (Fayetteville Aquatic Swim Team), running with the Fayetteville Flyers Track Club and wrestling with the Pinning Pythons before finding his passion at the Fayetteville-Fort Bragg Judo Club under the direction of former Fayetteville Police Chief Ron Hansen.

McGinty earned his Shodan (Black Belt) in 2013 after nearly nine years of consistent practice and competitions at the local, state, national and international level where he has consistently medaled. 

He has managed to accomplish this while maintaining a rigorous academic schedule, varsity wrestling captain, Eagle Scout in Boy Scout Troop 776 (Fort Bragg) and a member of TeamROC Brazilian Jui Jitsu Club.

When asked about judo and why he was attracted to the sport, McGinty said he was always last in every race in track, and although a very strong Amatuer Athletic Union swimmer, he was teased for his portly build. But in judo he was able to use his size and strength gained from the other sports to his advantage. McGinty now stands at 5’11” and a muscular 195 pounds.  

His sensei (head instructor), Ron Hansen, an 8th Dan with more than 50 years in judo, has said that McGinty came to judo as an “open slate” ready to learn, an attitude he continues to display today. 

Ron Czolek, an assistant instructor and nationally rated judo referee, echoes the sensei Hansen’s sentiments highlighting McGinty respect for the sport.

When asked about his future goals after high school, McGinty said he wants to continue to pursue judo at the collegiate level. He is looking at West Point, the Naval Academy, Texas A&M or San Jose State University all of which have very competitive judo programs as well as solid academic credentials. 

No matter where the road takes him, McGinty said he will continue to give back to the community and instill the lessons he has learned in judo