The Red Deer Judo Club, also known as Aka Shika, has been in existence in Central Alberta for 50 years and is in search of a permanent home, known as a Dojo.
“In 50 years we have moved 16 times,” said Cobralin Brochu, one of the board members of the Red Deer Judo Club.
They currently rent from the Goshinkan Jujitsu building Tuesdays and Thursdays, which simply just isn’t enough time. This is their second year in the building, with the Jujitsu club having the space the rest of the week.
Brochu said the space is also way too small for the kids, so much so that the kids are getting hurt, bumping into one another when they practice.
“We need our own permanent place so that we can practice as many nights as we want and we’re capped at an overhead of 50 people here,” she said.
William Rodger who is a sensei and is on the board of directors also had a few things to say about the limited space.
“Imagine trying to rent a space for 50 years, so imagine not owning a home for 50 years and every three to five years you happen to move again and again,” he said.
He said every time they move, they lose some participation with their kids, and they can’t permanently set up a space to train on different days of the week.
“We can’t set up a space for our kids to be able to really enjoy and make it truly our own,” he said.
It’s also too small for the staff. Brochu said they were supposed to have use of the offices and storage but they don’t currently.
If they could grow, she said, it would be beneficial, and with a bigger space, opportunities would present themselves.
“Judo is an Olympic sport. I think it’s the only martial art that is Olympic, therefore you can get scholarships.”
One of the Club’s girls, who was raised in Red Deer is travelling the world being paid to do Judo, but she’s training in Montreal.
Brochu said if they could build up their timing and space, they could have more kids doing that. Right now, 42% of the Club is female out of the 50 members they have. And the numbers are up and rising for females.
“Back when I was young it was one female for every 10 men so for the girls it’s up and rising in numbers. It’s awesome to see.”
Brochu said in the new facility they are looking for space, a bit of storage and an office.
“There’s about seven or eight of us senseis that all have bits and pieces at our own homes, so having it all together would mean more organization for us,” she said.
The Club has just started their fundraising as they’ve been let down with some of the leads for potential homes.
They recently had a sushi and Sake night where they sold tickets and did a fundraiser.
They also did a recent throw-a-thon where the kids had to raise pledges to see how many throws they could do in six minutes.
“The highest was 130 throws in six minutes. If they did that many throws they did double the break falls,” Brochu said with a laugh.
Their goal is to raise $50,000. Currently, they have raised $10,000.
“With numbers of 50 it’s hard to really get there. Judo is not hockey so it’s not as publicized.”
They have also set a goal to be in their new by the 2019 Canada Winter Games which will be hosted in Red Deer.
“With the economy out there and being a non-profit sport, it’s really hard for us to afford the economy,” she said adding they need to rely on the City, big donations and grants.
The Club currently has a capital campaign they’re calling ‘Dough for the Dojo’.
People can donate at their fundrazr.com page ‘Dough for the Dojo’.