The martial art known as the “gentle way” in Japanese is enjoying new growth in Nova Scotia after a successful Canada Games.
“Judo is one of the sports that has every aspect of sports in it. It has gymnastics, it has all agility-type exercises and I think it’s one of those sports that not only can be developed as far as cross-training sport but it can be good for anyone who wants to achieve international levels,” said Jason Scott, the owner of Nova United Martial Arts and Team Nova Scotia coach.
Scott recently took nine youth athletes to Red Deer, Alta., to compete at the Canada Games.
One of those athletes was 14-year-old Robin Khairallah.
“I started judo at seven years old and every year I start progressing in judo and I love it every year more and more,” he said.
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Scott says the combat sport takes both mental and physical discipline and although it can seem aggressive, the goal isn’t to hurt your opponent but submit them.
“The principles of judo are mutual welfare and benefit for all. So, we try to put that into kids’ minds the first day they step on the mat and judo becomes more of a lifestyle than a sport,” Scott said.
The team is still riding the buzz of a silver medal win by a 17-year-old female athlete, Sierra Tanner of Halifax.
“We’re all very excited and we want to start creating the next level of Canada Games athletes and also take this level of Canada Games athletes to the next level which is international or national level,” Scott said.
The ability to profess through different levels of competition is one of the reasons Khairallah has so much passion for the sport.
“It’s not only that you can train but you can also have fun,” Khairallah said. “I just started judo for fun and here I am competing for competitive levels.”