The Fernie Judo Club scored four gold medals last weekend when they hosted their annual tournament.

The Fernie Judo Club scored four gold medals last weekend when they hosted their annual tournament.

Athletes throw down at annual judo tournament

On Feb. 25, about 87 athletes competed in the annual Fernie Judo Club Invitational Judo Tournament at Fernie Secondary School.

On Feb. 25, about 87 athletes competed in the annual Fernie Judo Club Invitational Judo Tournament at Fernie Secondary School.

Sixteen members of the Fernie Judo Club were awarded medals including Ruth Ann Juneau, Alex MacGregor, Devon MacGregor and Cohen Musshoot who won gold in their age categories.

Eight clubs from across B.C. and Southwestern Alberta competed in the tournament.

“We see good enough judo so that nobody got hurt other than a few scrapes and hurt feelings,” said longtime Fernie coach and black belt Fred Gietz.

Learning to fall is an important element of the sport, which is a derivative of the Japanese martial art of Jujitsu, explained Gietz. The athletes were no worse for wear even after experiencing brutal looking takedowns.

Brian Glover, Fernie Judo Club coach, explained how athletes are scored. In Judo you can win a competition by throwing your opponent so that they land hard on their back, you can hold them down for 20 seconds or at a senior level you can submit them using an arm bar or chokehold.

The primary reason for holding the tournament was to give area athletes a taste of formal competition and better their skills in judo’s neverending quest for improvement.

“In judo you never achieve anything unless you’re always working towards bettering yourself. You never achieve perfection,” he said.

Judo also teaches the need for teamwork, he said, as overly aggressive or rough competitors can have trouble finding sparring partners.

“There’s a need for cooperation,” he said. “You can’t get better unless you have a partner to work with.”

The club has five black belts of various degrees who act as the primary coaches.

For Glover, judo is a family affair. Both his sons got into it and his daughter is one of the coaches but he mostly does it for fun.

“As an adult, where else can I go play?” he said.