Christopher Skelley started his martial arts training in 1976,
when he was first introduced to the sport of Judo. Chris’ parents
wanted him to practice a martial art for self defense because of
his small stature. He joined the Fort Lee Judo Center and trained
with head instructor Bill Camal. When the dojo closed its doors
in1982, Chris traveled throughout the tri-state area to continue his
In 1986, Chris took a break from judo to pursue an education. He
graduated from William Paterson University in1988. After working
in Manhattan for 8 years, he decided to open up his own dry
cleaning business in New Jersey. Soon after, he married and
started a family.
When his son Dylan turned 5, Chris and his wife Amy decided to
enroll Dylan in Judo. Dylan trained with Anthony Camal, son of Bill
Camal, at Camal Judo in West Paterson, NJ. Chris then decided
to start teaching judo at the dojo. He later enrolled his daughter
Taylor and it was a family affair.
Chris quickly excelled as a coach for USA Judo, at the junior
level, traveling around the world with Team USA. In 2004, he
joined the USA staff, with head coach Jimmy Pedro, and started
the U-23 Program. Their goal and mission was to produce a gold
medalist in the 2012 Olympics. This mission was accomplished
at the 2012 Olympic Games when Kayla Harrison became the
first-ever Judo gold medalist. As an added bonus, USA team
member Marti Malloy walked away with a bronze medal.
In 2016, Chris and the USA staff proved, once again, that they
had what it takes to produce a champion. Harrison won her
second gold medal and Travis Stevens earned a silver medal.
After the Rio Games, Harrison, Malloy and Stevens decided to
retire from competition.
The team of dedicated coaches and champion athletes formed a
new organization called Project 2024 to help teach the “American
judo system.” Chris believes Project 2024 is the single most
important project in the United States to ensure the success of
American Judo players in the future.
During his 17 year career, Chris has had the honor and pleasure
of not only producing Olympic champions but teaching Judo to a
number of children and adults with great success in both local and
Chris still practices the sport himself
and earned a Bronze Medal in the 2006 Masters World
Championship in Canada. Chris opened Skelley Judo to continue
passing on the winning methods of training and competition that
he learned at an early age from the Camal family.