Atikmeksheng Anishnabek First Nation receives provincial community partnership award

Wednesday September 12th, 2007
Since the inception of its judo program in September 2006, Whitefish Lake First Nation has become a strong supporter of the sport of judo. The program represents a partnership between the community and the local non-profit judo club, Nickel Belt Budokan. Judo offers recreation and competitive sport opportunity for all ages. According to Lee Frappier, the program instructor, “We have children as young as 3 years of age working out with parents and youth. The judo recipe is simple, we look after each other and focus on fun. The family class involves a lot of games with the youth helping out the little ones. The second class engages adults and youth in hard training and advanced skills, including break falls, throws, hold downs and submission techniques.” At a competitive level the club has also experienced success with top medals at local tournaments and taking gold and silver at the first ever Northern Ontario Aboriginal Judo Challenge in Marathon this April. The “Spirit of Judo Award” was presented by Judo Ontario’s north region representative, Mike Woodcock at the program’s year end banquet hosted by the community. Woodcock states the program emulates the values of judo, which include mutual welfare/benefit and self-improvement. For this reason Judo Ontario has chosen to recognize the community’s efforts with this award. The banquet included the judokas receiving their new belt ranks from white/yellow up to green belt. Given the participant enthusiasm and being fast learners, we anticipate having a couple individuals being instructor ready by the end of next season. According to Frappier, program sustainability is a main goal and investing in community leadership will guarantee the program’s future success. The community program coordinators, Jennifer Nootchtai and Amanda Wabegishig-Jordain inform the judo has been one of the community’s most successful programs with a key being the volunteerism offered by everyone involved.
On a broader note, the program at Atikmeksheng Anishnabek (formerly Whitefish Lake First Nation) was instigated by Judo Ontario’s “Tour of Nations” initiative in the summer of 2006. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotions, Judo Ontario traveled to eleven First Nation communities in Central Ontario, Sudbury and Manitoulin districts providing workshops to promote the many benefits of the sport of judo.
As an Olympic grappling sport, judo is one of the most internationally participated sports. It has been incorporated into school curriculums for both physical education and for pro-social skills. With a martial arts history based in Eastern culture, judo’s values have many parallels that complement Aboriginal cultures and concept of sport. Further evidence of this is Nunavut’s first ever medal at the Canada Games being in judo. The Iqualiut judo program is also story worth checking out. For information about judo programs in your area contact Nickel Belt Budokan Judo at or Judo Ontario.

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