Kootenay judokas enjoy Creston kata clinic

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(Back row

(Back row

I couldn’t think of a better way to bring warmth and judo spirit to Creston’s brand new training facility than the hosting of a kata clinic. Sensei Joe Meers was present to honour the event and officially open Creston’s new dojo.

Meers started his training in Belgium in 1950 under sensei Ishiro Abe. Meers is now 90 and still oversees the activities of the Creston Judo Club. Now, the Creston Judo Club members have dedicated this beautiful facility to Meers — and, we got to play in it!

On Oct. 1 and 2, Judo BC supported the clinic, respectfully sending Art Nishi, shichidan from the Judo BC grading board and Ron Kuramoto, godan from the Steveston Judo Club. Together with participants from Invermere, Fernie, Castlegar, Salmo and Creston, we learned about nage no kata or forms of throwing, one of the Randori no katas and ju no kata, which studies the principles of attack and defense.

We had an enthusiastic youth group of nine who attended a pre-clinic instructional course in Salmo with Sensei Sandy Vaughan-Sydnam the weekend prior. The youth group were all under 13 and had a whole bunch of fun learning the nage no kata sequence and demonstrating kokoro (judo spirit) to all of the adults. The youth were so very interested and performed some amazing technical skills for their grade and age. They all managed to get the first three sets, (left-handed and right-handed) memorized and demonstrated.

Sandy Vaughan-Sydnam of Salmo and Ben Reinhardt of Creston were designated by Nishi as the nage no kata demo team — until Reinhardt left for work and Vaughan-Sydnam’s uki increased in size to Fred Gietz from Fernie for the sacrifice throws. Ron Kuramoto and Vaughan-Sydnam finished out the Sunday by demonstrating the ju no kata for the group, all under Nishi’s trained eye.

All of us, whether novice or youth, competitor or recreational judoka went back home with a load of information, not to mention bruises, bumps and sore muscles, to share with our fellow judokas.

All the students extend their appreciation to Nishi and Kuramoto, as well as to Judo BC for making this Kootenay kata clinic possible. We are very happy to have you come to the Kootenays to share your knowledge.