Three girls on podium

Fight for the Cure

In October, our students attend the Fight for the Cure judo tournament and clinic. It was definitely the most judo players they had ever seen on a mat at one time, and, for those who competed, their first tournament. Stephanie (seen competing below) had a couple of very close, hard-fought matches, gave it her all and came in second place.

Stephanie’s (at right) first match

Noelli, who had only been in judo less than three months, came in first in her novice division.

As well as a good time and sense of confidence, the tournament let our instructors see where students might be lacking in their judo skills, giving us ideas on what to work on in the following practices.

All of the funds raised at this tournament are donated to a local non-profit that provides assistance to individuals with breast cancer and their families. (Fact: While the majority of people who get breast cancer are women, men do get it, too.)

Most judo tournaments have few female competitors and it is not uncommon for women and girls to come to a tournament and have only one competitor or no one at all in their division. Years ago, the Riverside Youth Judo Club, led by Sensei Brian Money, came up with the idea of having a tournament with all female competitors because what better event to raise money for a cancer that overwhelmingly affects women?

At Gompers Judo, we wanted to support this worthwhile event, but we also wanted everyone in our club, boys and girls, to be able to participate. Sensei AnnMaria De Mars suggested having a workout before the tournament, open to everyone. This idea expanded to having three instructors, Olympians Nina Cutro-Kelly and Marti Malloy, and our own world champion instructor, AnnMaria.

If you’re significantly bigger or smaller than the average student, it can be frustrating to always have to go easier to keep from hurting your partner, or to struggle to pick up someone who is much bigger than you. Having so many people at the workout guaranteed that everyone had someone their size to work with. 

The Fight for the Cure tournament and workout was a good time as well as a good learning experience. Events like these get students out of their comfort zone, help them to come together as a team and are an opportunity to meet others from outside their community. Our focus is at Gompers Judo is not on having the club the builds the best judo competitors but, rather, that builds the best character.

We try to do an event with our students several times a year. You won’t believe what is coming up next ….

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