Canada’s largest judo tournament hosted at West Edmonton Mall

This weekend, hundreds of judo competitors descended on West Edmonton Mall to take part in Canada’s largest tournament.

The three-day Edmonton International Judo Championship concluded Sunday, with approximately 940 competitors of all ages from across Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

The annual event was last held in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark Hicks, tournament director, told CTV News Edmonton that some of the best local and international talent participated in the event.

“It’s high-level judo here,” Hicks said. “There are people here who eventually sometime may go to the Olympics or have been to the Olympics. We had a guy competing here yesterday who was a three-time Olympian.”

Hicks explained judo as a sport that is all about unbalancing someone, either through chokes, throws, or joint locking.

“Most of the stuff you see is people trying to unbalance them and trying to throw them,” he said.

“When they’re fighting, if you make a mistake, if you put your foot in the wrong place, you are on your back looking at the ceiling,” he added. “It’s very much a strategic fighting art.”

The tournament is organized by all seven greater Edmonton area judo clubs.

“It’s a great sport because you get physically fit,” Hicks added. It’s super good for your confidence, and I think it’s just all-around good self-defence. If someone attacks you and you throw them, and they’re looking at the roof, they start thinking maybe this is a bad idea.” 

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