Montana Tech senior to compete in Judo Collegiate Nationals in College Station, Texas


Electrical Engineering senior Devin Amtmann will travel to Texas A&M University to compete in the Judo Collegiate Nationals on April 5-7. She is the first Montana Technological University Judo Club member to attend a national judo competition in its 33-year history.


“Devin has always enjoyed challenging herself, and this is a tough national tournament. She has trained hard and is ready for the challenge,” said Biological Sciences Professor John Amtmann, Montana Tech’s Judo Club sponsor, and Devin’s father. “During her time as Judo Club President, she trained and competed all over the USA and she (along with her sisters) came with me to Japan and trained with some of the best in the world. We are so proud of her! It requires discipline and focus to succeed academically and athletically in a club sport.”


Marisa Pedulla, professor of biology at Montana Tech, 1996 U.S. Olympian, and 4-time national collegiate judo champion, noted, “I recognized Devin’s intensity at a young age during judo practice and competitions. From years of training, she has developed the skills and focus to compete successfully at the highest level in a physically and mentally demanding sport. Let’s go, Devin!”

Devin has been practicing Japanese martial art since she was three years old.


“My dad taught it to me and my sisters,” Devin said. “I don’t even remember learning it. We practiced every day. We competed at different tournaments in Montana.”

The family traveled to Chicago to compete in a tournament every year growing up. When Devin explains what judo is, she speaks with excitement.

“Judo is a martial art, kind of like wrestling,” Devin said. “You are just trying to take people down. You can use submission. You can use armlocks. It’s similar to jiujitsu.”

Devin is the president of Montana Tech’s Judo Club. It meets twice weekly, Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Sometimes only a couple of people attend club meetings. Other times there are 10-15 students.

“The club is for all levels,” Devin said. “I think it helps people when they get stressed with school, especially the engineering students.”

A lot of members are former high school athletes who miss participating in athletics.

“It’s perfect for people who wrestled,” Devin said.

In the past year, Devin decided to start competing again.

“I practice every day,” Devin said. “Dad and I do more competition-specific trainings in the mornings. Club is more beginning judo where we show you how to fall, and stuff like that. I also train at nights as well as Copper City Combat Club in jiujitsu and mixed martial arts.”

Training consists of uchikomi, a practice of repetitive motions of different maneuvers.

“There are takedown drills and turnover drills, mixed in with strength and conditioning as well,” Devin said. “Matches are five minutes long, which doesn’t seem like a long time, but it is longer than it seems, so you want to build endurance to do a five-minute match. Most training is just repetition. You want to build your muscle memory.”

Devin qualified for the Judo Collegiate Nationals by earning her brown belt. Different colored belts are awarded based on competency.

“Mostly, you put in a lot of time and demonstrate that you know technique,” Devin said.

In addition to judo, Devin also made her mixed martial arts (MMA) debut in December, where she won a unanimous decision and was awarded Fight of the Night.

Devin does not know exactly where she will be working after graduation, but she hopes she will find a remote job so she might travel and continue training.

“There’s not a lot of judo in Montana,” Devin said. “If I could go somewhere on the East Coast, they have big judo groups there.”

In the meantime, Devin encourages folks on campus to consider checking out the Judo Club.

“You just have to show up,” Devin said. “We can teach you the rest.”