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Judo club opens in Fort Simpson

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, November 27 2008

LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON - Dean Harvey is hoping to interest adults in Fort Simpson in a martial arts form.

Harvey has started the Fort Simpson Judo Club, which had its first meeting on Nov. 21. Judo, which originated in Japan, is distinctive from other martial arts because it doesn't involve kicking or punching, said Harvey.

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Dean Harvey demonstrates a head and shoulders hold down on Nicolas Nelner during the first session of the Fort Simpson Judo Club. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

"It makes it the kind of sport that can be practised without injuring other people," he said.

The rate of injuries, which is much lower than other adult sports like hockey, rugby or football, is one of the benefits of judo, said Harvey. Judo, which involves a lot of grappling and groundwork, tends to attract former wrestlers.

"Most wrestlers drop wrestling and join judo because it's the closest martial art," he said.

Harvey started judo in elementary school before taking up wrestling and later returning to the martial art.

After practising for 10 years in British Columbia and teaching family judo at a club Harvey, a brown belt, was about to try for a black belt when he moved North in 1998.

"I'd like to bring it back," he said.

Judo is expanding in the North, said Harvey and Fort Simpson should be a part of that.

At the beginner level, where the classes are starting, judo is good for physical strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance, self-defense and learning proper falling techniques.

"Every time you practise a throw someone has to practise a fall," he said.

Judo is for people who like a physical challenge because you always need a second person to practise with, said Harvey.

"It's definitely a contact sport," he said.

"We have our bumps and bruises."

The objective in Judo is to grab your opponent, throw them on their back or hold them down and make them submit, said Harvey.

There are three ways to win a judo fight. One is to cleanly throw your opponent on their back. The second is to hold your opponent down on the mat and control them for 30 seconds.

At a more advanced level submission holds including arm bars or chokes can be used to force an opponent to yield.

Harvey is offering the judo classes to people ages 15 and up. Exceptions are being made for younger participants whose parents agree to attend and practise with them.

Practices are every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the upstairs room at the recreation centre. The sessions could be expanded to weeknights if there's enough interest, Harvey said.