Ishikawa Family Judo Club: Making good use of physical and mental strength

石川ファミリー柔道クラブ 〜心身の力を、有効に使う道〜

We interviewed Takao Izumi, who is a holder of a black belt in judo and is the head instructor and president of Ishikawa Family Judo Club. The members of the club have been competing in the Canadian Judo Nationals every year, and this year won the coveted Canadian champion award in the U18 category as well as a third place in U16. In his twenties, Izumi had fun training in a dojo in Japan, but it was also a humbling learning experience. “Although judo is a combat sport, I believe its ultimate goal is not to defeat the opponent but to train ourselves to become stronger,” Izumi says. “Judo can be a dangerous sport, involving techniques like throwing, choking, and joint locking. So in a sense it’s a training to help one another to hone our skills and be respectful and kind to one another.”

In 1994, Takao Izumi began offering a new judo class at Nakajima Dojo in Burnaby.  At the time the father of three children aged five, seven, and nine, Izumi worked with other parents of small children who had experience in judo. The goal was to give young children and their parents a chance to learn judo while having fun together. Izumi and his classmates steadily improved their skills as they participated in one competition after another. In 1997, Izumi opened his own Ishikawa Family Judo Club on Canada Way. The club has been with Nikkei Centre since 2004.

Q: What made you open your own judo club?

A: Initially, I wanted my kids to learn judo in Canada. I wanted to create an environment where I can teach Japanese judo to my children. My thinking was that if I had my own dojo, I could give my children a great exposure to Japanese judo.

Q: Why is it called Ishikawa Dojo and not Izumi Dojo?

A: At Nakajima Dojo, I was lucky enough to meet Ishikawa Sensei, who studied women’s judo when it was still in its early days and now holds the 4th dan awarded by the Kodokan Judo Institute. After hearing that Ishikawa Sensei had her own bonesetter’s clinic (i.e., judo therapy clinic), I decided to name my club as “Ishikawa Dojo” as a way of possibly boosting her business and promoting the profession of judo therapist. My dream is to one day add a clinic to my judo club to provide a fully equipped learning environment.

Currently, Izumi works closely with Police Judo of the Vancouver Police Department, the only police department incorporating judo training, as it is done in Japan. “Japan has many wonderful cultures and philosophies to offer,” Izumi says. “I believe we should first introduce the beauty of Japanese culture to the children of Nikkei descent. We should also spare no effort in giving other Canadians a chance to learn about Japanese culture and customs.”

At present, almost 20 people are studying with Ishikawa Family Judo Club. “To train in a traditional Japanese sport like judo, one must take time to fully master it,” Izumi said at the end of the interview. “My dream is to see these children work together to build a dojo where they can teach proper basic skills and provide cultural exchange opportunities. We’re determined to keep up our daily practice with the goal of becoming great judo athletes who embody not just physical and mental strength, but also compassion and kindness.”

カナダ全国大会に毎回出場し、今回念願のU18部門でカナダチャンピオン、またU16部門では、3位入賞も果たした、石川ファミリー柔道クラブの責任者・代表で柔道初段の泉孝雄(いずみたかお)さんにお話を伺った。 20代の頃、日本で道場通いをされ、楽しみながら柔道を通していろいろと勉強をされたという、泉さん。「柔道は、格闘技ですが、相手を倒す事より、自分自身を強くする修行では思います。お互い投げあったり、絞めたり、関節を決めたり、ややもすると危険なスポーツです。だからこそ、お互い助け合って、柔道の技を磨き合い、相手に対して敬い、尊敬する優しい気持ちを持つという修行の場だと思います。」と泉さんは語る。









Posted in Health & Wellness, In the Community.