Port Hawkesbury Judo Club celebrating 50th anniversary

Wayne Reynolds offers some pointers.

PORT HAWKESBURY: A local judo club is hitting a pretty significant milestone this weekend, as they approach a half-century training young judokas in the Strait area.

This Saturday at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43, the Port Hawkesbury Judo Club will celebrate their 50th anniversary from 12– 3 p.m., inviting anybody who has been associated with the club over its 50-year existence.

The year-end banquet will hand out awards to their judokas, and will serve as a time to reflect on the club’s history. Established in 1969 by a local businessman, it grew the popularity of judo in the area and would train approximately 50 people during their initial couple of workouts.

“That’s around [the time] the Bruce Lee Kung-Fu movies were popular. There were all kinds of interest in martial arts back then,” Sensei Wayne Reynolds told The Reporter in an interview on June 13. “The only other organizations that I can think of that has a longer history is the Strait Pirates and the Richmond Amateur Baseball Association.”

Over the years, the judo club has progressed; they’ve attended multiple training camps and seminars and got to a point where the club was being led by three people, Reynolds, John Ross and Eddie Walsh.

Reynolds, who has a second-degree black belt and has been with the club throughout its 50-year tenure in the Strait area, joined the club when he was only a teenager, and said the club, which has seen its fair share of ups-and-downs, currently has about a dozen faithful members.

The club’s judokas range in age from five to 14, and there is something for everyone, as they practice recreational judo, while also training for competitive judo, which are also known of tournament fighters.

“We’re looking at getting better and new facilities, right now we’re above the curling club,” Reynolds said. “I’m hoping if we do get new facilities, to branch off into other avenues; having a tots day, encouraging adult classes, and incorporating Thai-Chi.”