Judo club tumbles into new season

Bodies were hitting the ground everywhere you turned Monday.
But don’t panic, it was just the start of another flip-filled season at the Fort Frances Judo Club.
Les Wiersema, club president for the last eight years, estimated about 30 judokas came out for the season’s inaugural session.
“It’s about the same as last year, although we’ve got a few more adults this time,” he noted.
“It’s kind of tough to get people out,” Wiersema admitted. “There’s a lot of other martial arts places in town, like karate and Tae Kwon Do, as well as other sports for people to do, such as swimming.”
Local judoists have the option of getting involved in meets across Northwestern Ontario and Manitoba, but Wiersema said the theme at the club was more rooted in camaraderie than competition.
“We want to try and keep it fun, especially for the younger ones,” he remarked. “That’s the main reason I’m involved, as well as to see the future of the sport continue in this town.”
Wiersema dismissed the notion that anybody wanting to take part in judo had to be in top physical condition.
“We’ve got seniors here who just come out and do what they can,” he noted. “Every individual is judged on their own [abilities]. You don’t have to do extra work to keep pace with the group.”
The club has had its headquarters just off the corner of First Street East and Minnie Avenue for more than a decade now, and Wiersema said renovations are looming down the road.
“We’ll add some showers possibly, as well as some other things,” he said. “But it’s still in the planning stages.”
There still is space for both youths and adults who want to join the club. Anyone wanting to join can call Wiersema (275-7180), Chuck McDonald (274-2812), or Ken Kozik (274-3921).
They also can register in person during the club’s weekly classes every Monday and Thursday from 6:30-7:30 p.m.