The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club is officially the largest in Saskatchewan — and according to many of the province’s top instructors it’s also the best club in the province.
So good that Judo Saskatchewan has asked the local club to make a video of how they run their classes and day-to-day activities.
“There are a lot of people who are really interested in how we do things because we’ve been so successful during the last few years,” said Koseikan sensei Cliff Wiens. “I think the biggest reason is that we have so many dedicated people working with the club and who have helped us get to where we are today.”
Much of the out-of-town interest stemmed from a two-day coaches retreat the Koseikan club recently hosted, involving Senseis from throughout the province. The event covered everything from marketing to training methods.
“I think there are a lot of people in the province who are looking at our club as a model of how one should be run and that’s a great honour,” Wiens said. “Probably the most important thing for us is that we make judo fun, especially for the younger kids. If they come here and enjoy themselves, they want to come back and that’s what we hope happens. It might get noisy (at the dojo) once in awhile, but if that means the kids are having fun then that’s all we can ask for.”
The club substantially boosted their numbers this season, when 28 new members signed up for the fall session. The influx of new judokas has further strengthened Koseikan’s base of young talent, one that has produced an impressive medal haul at competitions in recent seasons.
Coming off the 1998-99 campaign, where they won 144 medals — 58 gold, 50 silver and 38 bronze — the club recently sent 16 members to a tournament in Watrous, bringing home 16 medals.
And while winning that much hardware would have most clubs in the province dancing for joy, it was a touch under expectations for Koseikan.
“I’m still happy with how everyone did, this was the first tournament of the year for a lot of us and maybe since had so much success last year we were a little lackadaisical, but it was a good learning experience,” Wiens said. “Everyone knows they have to keep working hard to keep winning.”
Wiens pointed to the last week of training, in preparation for a tournament this weekend in Melfort, as a good indicator of how the team responded.
“Everyone was really focussed, they really want to do better,” he said. “It’ll be a good challenge for everyone, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the medals we win another colour better right across the board,” he said.
Results from recent Koseikan tournaments are as follows:
Brian Smith — gold, junior men under-74 kg; bronze, senior men under-90 kg.Watrous Ju-No-Ri Tournament
Chris Gerry — gold, cadet boys under-35 kg
Stephan Gerry — fourth, cadet boys under-25 kg
Jim Wiens — bronze, senior men over-100 kg
Alana Kerr — silver, senior/junior women over-78 kg
Brian Smith — silver, junior men under-90 kg; bronze, senior men under-90
kg Garth Rivers — bronze, juvenile boys under-50 kg
Mark Kerr — bronze, juvenile boys over-74 kg
Marisa Kerr — gold, juvenile /cadet girls under-63 kg
Danielle Pakula — silver, juvenile/cadet girls under-63 kg; gold, cadet girls over-46 kg
Merrisa Kurp — gold, juvenile girls under-45 kg
Stephanie Legault — bronze, juvenile girls under-57 kg
Chris Gerry — bronze, cadet boys under-34 kg
Leigh White — bronze, cadet boys under-38 kg
Chris Kuntz — gold, cadet boys over-46 kg
Connor MacDonald — silver, cadet boys under-26/30 kg
Kendra Kurp — silver, cadet girls under-34 kg
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Nov 18, 1999