By Cornelius Suchy
Revelstoke Judo Club
The Revelstoke Judo Club had its annual Randori, a semi-formal sparring event. Judokas from various clubs in the Okanagan participated with more than 50 athletes aged 5 to 15 on the mat. Half of the competitors were from Revelstoke, showing the increasing popularity of this Japanese martial art in Revelstoke. The club has grown from a handful of students when Cornelius Suchy took over from Sensei Lawrence Wayman ten years ago.
In the last years the club has been growing steadily, now numbering 42 members. “We have turned from a loose group of aficionados to an organized club, with a board and several coaches on the mat” says Sensei Cornelius Suchy. The annual Randori has been a great way of exposing the new judokas to sparing rules, while the more experienced students get to test their skills on judokas from other clubs. “Those that I expected to do good, did great and those I thought would do really well exceeded my expectations,” says Ted Allain, one of the coaches.
Randoris allow white belts to step up to the mat, something a formal, officially sanctioned Shiai does not allow. Sensei Stu Leatherdale of Kelowna started out the day by explaining the rules of the sparring. Some of the children were visibly nervous at the beginning, but grew more confident after their first fight. All of the club coaches agree that we need more of these grass-root events to promote Judo in the region. Revelstoke’s hospitality was praised once more by the travelling participants. From the old, but less common billeting of competitors to providing breakfast and food parents made sure the guest would enjoy and remember the day.
Judo, often translated as “the gentle way”, is all about making use of your opponent’s energy with pure muscle power being of little use. This principle was seen when some of the judokas flew way off their feet and soon after landed flat on their back. The competition was a mixed event with boys and girls in the same weight and age categories. ”Make no mistake,” says Suchy, “some of the girls sure know how to stand their ground. And win flat out.”
The Judo club trains at the Revelstoke Legion every Monday and Wednesday evening. Junior classes are full, but students aged 10 and up may still join the club. Come by and try it out or just watch to see if it interests you. Here are some photos from Sunday’s competition: