Olympian Jean Pierre Cantin had members of Moose Jaw’s Koseikan Judo Club a little choked up when he passed through the city Saturday.
But the local contingent was very happy to see him.
Cantin — a 12-time Canadian champion — had just finished instructing at Judo Saskatchewan’s Summer Camp of Champions near Fort Qu’Appelle and conducted an impromptu backyard session in Moose Jaw before returning to Montreal.
Among the evening’s lessons were choking techniques and other mat work (ne-waza). Cantin shared variations he’s learned through 24 years of experience.
“When you do a technique, it’s the same everywhere but different countries apply different methods,” said Cantin. “Some use more strength or a different trick.”
And Cantin, who has trained in Japan and Russia, is certainly qualified to speak on international experience. He has competed at nine world championships, plus the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
His medal haul includes two gold at Pan-Am Championships, silver and bronze at the Pan American Games and bronze at the Commonwealth Games.
Plus he’s a nationally-certified Level III coach.
Passing Cantin’s expertise on to other Koseikan members — particularly the younger ones — is the ultimate goal, said Moose Jaw’s Vernon MacDonald, a 14-year judo veteran.
“I’m still learning now and I’ve been doing judo a long time. If they can learn in their second year, it stays with them and it grows with them.”
“I think it’s within everybody to wrestle,” said Cantin, noting harmless sibling battles. “With judo, you do it in a perfect, safe environment.”
The key is “how you use your reaction to your best advantage and make it work to do your move.”
With judo season beginning soon, the local judokans couldn’t ask for a better primer. Club registration is Thursday, Sept. 4 (7 p.m.) at the Golden Mile Diner on the exhibition grounds. Newcomers are invited to take advantage of a free two-week trial period.
For more information contact Jim Wiens at 691-0051.
Meanwhile, Cantin — who missed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics with a broken leg — has his sights on the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Aug 25, 1997