Students and teachers at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School have added a new afternoon activity.
Principal Jonathon Kakegamic launched the Sa-Nug (it means so good) judo dojo April 7 alongside his sensei Norm Sakamotu.
“We are always looking for other sports we can launch for our students,” said Kakegamic, who is a brown belt working toward his black belt. “We want to reach out to students who aren’t into volleyball, soccer and hockey.”
So far, about 20 people have attended each practice, held Wednesdays and sometimes Sundays at the school.
While it is a contact sport, Kakegamic was quick to caution there is a lot more to judo than contact, throws and striking.
“This teaches them discipline and respect,” he said. “You bow to your opponent before and after each match. When I first started, it really helped me.”
When he stopped training for a few years as he completed training and courses to become eligible to become a principal and pursue more higher education, Kakegamic missed the instruction he would get from his sensei.
The sport also teaches youth about goals.
“There are many stages of belts until you get up to multiple black belts,” Kakegamic said. “I always talk to my own kids and the students here about goals. I have my goals: to get my black belt, to get my master’s degree.
“I’m showing them my goals. I hope the students we’re training will set their goals. I have goals for them. I hope the students will get their yellow belts before they graduate.”
He said the students are already starting to improve their form in just four or five classes.
So far, the most important lessons have been about learning to fall correctly.
“You can’t let fear get in the way of training,” he said. “When I first started, I had to get over the feeling that I didn’t like feeling out of control and my feet leaving the ground. But I got over it.”
I feel a greater sense of hope and optimism these days for the future when I talk to many of our young First Nation people. There are still many hurdles and...