Doug Brentnell is a supporter of judo for what it does for young athletes.
"This may sound kind of flakey but it does develop moral fiber." said Brentnell, one of the instructors at the Moose Jaw Judo School. "Kids come in and they learn self-respect and technique.
"They develop a good all round attitude that does not end with judo. It carries into their school and home life."
This sort of attitude is very evident while watching the 25 judo wrestlers go through their paces at a practice. The instructors: Sonny Lee, Vernon MacDonald and Brentnell let the kids have fun but under strict supervision.
And none of the kids mind. They return quietly to their line along the wall and wait breathlessly for another chance to roll and tumble on the mat.
GET INTO SHAPE
"The basic principle behind judo is to get into shape and learn the technique," explains Brentnell while the wrestlers practice their moves on the mat in Vanier's Collegiate's small gym. "It's the up and coming thing."
"There is the provincial system and a national system for wrestlers from as young six to compete in."
The club started about 17 years ago. Len Partridge has been the headmaster for the last 10 years but retired at Christmas.
"Judo is not doing very well in the city of Moose Jaw," admits Brentnell. "The club members have fared very well in the meets we have taken part in but we do need some older kids and more input from the parents."
A quartet of Judo wrestlers did very well at a meet in Swift Current. Eight year old Jordan Dellabough placed first in 50 and under category while Stella Dellabough came in second in the 80 and under. Greg Kreutzer placed second in the 90 and under weight class and was awarded his green belt. Stanley Colenut placed second in the meet.
Judo is one yof the few sports where girls fight boys in the same weight class. Stella Dellabough usually ends up wrestling the opposite sex when she is on the mat.
"It is hard because the boys are a little stronger than I am," explained the 10-year-old judo wrestler. "All I can do is try."
But, I don't really care who I fight or whether I win or lose. I just enjoy judo."
Dellabough has encouraged other girls at school to join the club but admits it has been hard.
"I am trying to convince the girls at school to take judo but as of yet no one has been interested."
Kreutzer enjoys the competitive aspect of judo
"The competition and fighting different guys is what I like most about judo," said the 12-year-old green belt.
Kreutzer originally joined judo, a year and a half ago, because some of friends were involved but since then they all quit.
"I wish they would come back because they were the reason I joined. Also they were fun to wrestle with."
Jordan Dellabough likes judo for some simpler reasons.
"I like the throws, the flips, and when we break our falls," said the orange belted youngster while eyeing the other kids on the mats. "I like it when we fight."
Dellabough has had some sucess in recruiting members for the club.
"I have told my friends and one (pointing to Joel Chvrier sitting against the wall) is one of them." said the young judo wrestler proudly.
With up and coming wrestlers in the ranks of the Moose Jaw club next year should be one where all the members can point to another and proudly say they brought them in.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Spring 1983