Inuvik’s Kuzuri Judo Club hosted its first-ever Arctic Regional Judo Festival last weekend.
The Inuvik Judo Association’s president, Mario Desforges, and national judo champion Wilson Elliot visited for the two-day event.
The event kicked off with visits from Desforges and Elliot to East Three School’s Grade 6 to 12 physical education classes on Oct. 26.
Approximately 150 students had the chance to learn about judo, see demonstrations from Desforges and Elliot, and find out how they could get involved with the sport.
Later that evening, regular judo classes led by coach Ed Hartley at the school.
On Oct. 27, Hartley said the festival included parent-child sessions, games, a mini tournament, competition practice and a “judodge ball tournament” – a game that incorporates dodgeball and judo.
“We wanted to put on this event to get people interested in the sport, but also to get some of our competitors ready for the upcoming Arctic Open in November in Yellowknife,” said Hartley, festival organizer. “We also wanted to promote ideas about friendship and respect and just have fun.”
Hartley added that judo is all about building self-confidence and healthy relationships. While it is a contact sport, he said no one should be getting hurt while practicing it – judo does mean “the gentle way,” after all.
At the festival, Hartley received an award from the NWT Judo Association recognizing his support for judo in Canada’s Arctic.
“I just do it because I love it!” he said.
Judo in Inuvik
Hartley said the Kuzuri Judo Club, which currently has 30 members aged five to adults, is growing in popularity.
The club’s name, Kuzuri, which means “wolverine” is meant to fit in alongside Northern culture.
The club holds classes at East Three Secondary School on Wednesday evenings.