801 Hochelaga Street East
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Moose Jaw Judo Club began about the same time as the end of World War II. Two men, Dave Pyle and Joe Gould first learned judo from two Japanese black belts who were held here at the air force base during the war years. The club remained very small for many years until Mr. Yves LeGal began working out with them. LeGal, originally from Paris, France obtained an M.S. in physiology from the University of Saskatchewan and while in Saskatchewan, Mr. LeGal, being a National Judo Counsellor for Canada between 1958-67, was directly responsible for organizing the sport of Judo in the province. LeGal was the chief instructor at six Judo Clubs in Saskatchewan and instructed at many clinics in the province from 1953-1968. Up to his leaving Saskatchewan in September of 1968, he had produced 22 black belts.
In 1963, Mr Gord Cousins moved to Moose Jaw from Ontario and brought an entirely new style of Judo to the local club. Cousins was barely five feet tall and weighed 110 pounds. Despite his stature, he placed second that year in the Canadian Open. This is impressive given that in those years, there were no weight divisions in Judo. Cousins new style was a stark contrast to the instructors before him as they were very knowledgeable in the technical aspects of the sport whereas Cousins brought with him the competitive style of the sport.
By 1967, the primary location of the club was still at the air force base with instructor Cousins. However, there were also programs being taught at the YMCA, Saskatchewan Technical Institute (now SIAST) and at Pyle’s Gym. At this time one of Cousin’s former judoka (student) from Ontario, John McCubbing, also moved to Moose Jaw and began training and coaching. McCubbing eventually took over teaching classes. The club began hosting tournaments with the help of the Royal Bank Junior Olympics Program. Tournaments were held at STI and at the base. McCubbing then took his black belt grading through Judo Saskatchewan at the same time as Cliff Wiens who then was a judoka in Swift Current. Both McCubbing and Wiens received their first degree black belts at the same time.
Tournament held in 1967 at the base---seen standing with arms folded in the background of the far left and middle pictures
is Cliff Wiens, former head Sensei of the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club
In 1968, the seventeen-year-old black belt, Cliff Wiens came to Moose Jaw from Swift Current and began training at the YMCA with Gould. Gould asked Wiens to take over instruction of the YMCA judo program. A year later the club had doubled in size and two new judoka, Doug Brentnell and Len Partridge joined the ranks.
In 1972, Wiens was transferred to Winnipeg with his job and green belts Brentnell and Partridge were left instructing until Wiens returned to the judo club.
In 1976, Moose Jaw hosted the Saskatchewan Winter Games and the Moose Jaw Judo club hosted the judo competition of the games with Wiens as the tournament director and Partridge, the assistant director.
In 1979, the Moose Jaw Judo club held it’s last workout at the YM-YWCA since the program was not being carried forward into the next season at the Y. The club found a new home working out on the wrestling mats at Vanier Collegiate. It was around this time that the club coached by Partridge started to flourish with a large youth class and adult judoka who were competing at various tournaments throughout the province and North America. Club coaches Wiens and Partridge competed in several Canadian Championships in the late 70’s and early 80’s, as well as Partridge competing in Spokane Washington in 1979 at the Can-Am games and at the American Championships in Arizona in 1981.
In 1982 Partridge retired from coaching at the local club and Wiens was again transferred with his job. The responsibility of the club coaching was left in the hands of Doug Brentnell, Sonny Lee and Vernon MacDonald.
In the mid-eighties, the club changed its name from the Moose Jaw Judo Club to the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club – a Japanese term “kosei” meaning “the right way” and “Kan” meaning “school”. The club became smaller through these years as the popularity of judo declined worldwide. Brentnell and Lee left the club and blue belt Vernon MacDonald kept the club running through the leaner memberships years in smaller dojo’s and with less resources.
MacDonald maintained the club until 1994 when Cliff Wiens returned to Moose Jaw and once again stepped up as the head coach of the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club in the fall of 1994 along with the help of his two sons, Jim and Josh who had started judo at the Moose Jaw club in 1978.
The club grew substantially in the mid-90’s as they practiced at the Moose Jaw Exhibition grounds. In 1995, with membership that had tripled in two years, the club became a major player on the provincial and inter-provincial judo scene. The club hosted its first tournament since 1982 and it was a huge success.
Also in 1995, Nancy Jewitt-Filteau, originally from Webb, Saskatchewan, started training with the club. Filteau had retired in 1988 from the sport of Judo after failing to qualify for the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. She had been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sport Hall of Fame and Museum in 1992 as a judo athlete but in 1993 decided to try one more time to reach for her Olympic dreams. By placing third at the 1995 Pan-Am Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Filteau secured a spot for her weight division for Judo Canada at the Olympics and for only the second time in Saskatchewan history, a judoka was going to compete in the Olympics. In July of 1996, Filteau competed for Team Canada in Atlanta at the Olympic Games, but failed to make the medal round after putting forth the best performance of any of the female Canadian judoka at the 1996 Olympics. Filteau retired again from competition immediately after the 1996 Olympics but continued to coach at the club level.
In 1997 the club had again outgrown its dojo thanks in part to the huge publicity the sport had received with Filteau’s Olympic performance. A deal was made with the City of Moose Jaw to acquire a vacant scout hall on the east end of the city, which is the current home of the club.
The club was honoured in 1997 by Judo Saskatchewan as Saskatchewan Club of the Year and in 1998 it was runner up for the same award. In 2000, 2002 and 2003 the club was again presented with the Club of the Year honours.
At the 2002 Junior National championships, a record was set as two members from the same club, Moose Jaw’s Garth Rivers and Jeremy Williams appeared on the podium together winning silver and bronze (respectively) in the men’s under 55 Kg category.
At the Senior Nationals in 2003, the club set another record for the most athletes from one club attending the Senior National championships with nine members of the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club competing in their respective weight divisions.
On November 29th 2003, the Moose Jaw Judo club made history in the province with eight members of our club being promoted to black belt by the provincial grading board at the same time -- Seven being promoted to first degree black (Shodan) and Cliff Wiens to second degree black (Nidan).
On March 7, 2009, the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club hosted the first ever closed provincial championships for Judo Saskatchewan which made for a very successful and fun day!
At the annual club awards banquet on May 14, 2009, head sensei Cluff Wiens announced his retirement from the sport and has moved on to enjoy his retirement in Flin Flon, Manitoba. He will surely be missed and we hope he comes back to visit often!
~Today at the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club~
The Moose Jaw Kosiekan Judo Club is one of the largest clubs by membership in the province and has nine active black belts. Jim Wiens is now the head sensei of the club after the retirment of his father, Cliff.
The club has classes five days a week! We have classes for children and adults. Our programs are designed to incorporate all athletes without regard to financial background. All our coaches are volunteers, which allows us to keep costs and fees as low as possible. The club also works with outside agencies to secure funding for athletes, especially youth, who would not normally have the opportunity to participate in an organized sport.
Judoka watch a demonstration in the club
The club hosts an annual children’s tournament in the dojo (workout hall), and on a larger scale, an annual provincial tournament..
Our club is a member of Judo Saskatchewan and Judo Canada, which is recognized by the International Judo Federation as the governing body of Judo in Canada. We practice Kodokan Judo, which is the original style of Judo as taught by Jigaro Kano, the founder and father of Judo.
Since December of 1997, we have been renting a former scout hall where we have built a subfloor so we can leave the tatami down permanently. (Those of you that don't have to move mats every class really don't know how lucky you are!)
Our club was named a runner up for the Judo Saskatchewan Club of the Year for 2011. That was the ninth time in recent years our club had been nominated for this honour. Our club also won the Provincial Team Tournament Championships for 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 at the Saskatchewan Championships.
Our bleachers and subfloor were great investments for our club!
After several months of welding, cutting, painting, wood finishing and installing, our bleachers were finally finished!! They provide an excellent place for visitors, parents and other spectators to come watch the exciting sport of Judo.
A big thank you to Kelly Wiens and Sensei Cliff Wiens for all their time effort and hard work in putting these bleachers together. They are well used and are a great addition to the dojo.
The biggest investment we have made in our new dojo was the addition of a new subfloor beneath our mats. This was a major improvement over throwing someone on mats supported only by a concrete floor.
The club looked into various ways to construct this floor and finally decided to use plywood sheets and foam hockey pucks. The pucks are glued onto the plywood and laid puck down on the concrete floor. This design was best for the club because it provided a softer surface for hard training and a more hardwood floor-like feel.
This design has proved so successful that we have increased our subfloor and mat size by 2 metres. Thanks to all who helped with this project and to Judo Saskatchewan for the grant to purchase the new mats.