The Fort Frances Judo Club, entering its 15th season of operation, is reporting a 10-15 percent increase in registration numbers this year.
The local club has attracted about 40 judoists in each of the last five years but this season it’s already seen those numbers swell to nearly 50 members.
Bob Dobransky, in charge of media relations with the club, said he’s seeing a lot of kids in the five- to six-year-old range participate for the first time this year.
But the club also has seen an increase in adults who have decided to resume with the sport after taking time off to pursue other activities.
“[Judoka] is a stop-and-start sport," admitted Dobransky, who also is a club member. "I’m seeing adults come back [to our club] that I haven’t seen before—who had stopped going years ago.”
The club is in action Monday and Thursday of each week at the old Filmore’s store on First Street East. Its regular class runs from 7-8 p.m., followed by an advanced one (which runs for about 40 minutes) for senior competitors.
Currently the club is practising under the direction of Delbert Deschamps, a first-degree black belt member and an instructor for the past 10 years.
Deschamps is leading the club in its initial stage in place of long-time instructor Frank King, who will be away until mid-October due to other commitments.
Dobransky said about four or five judokas routinely travel to out-of-town tournaments in Winnipeg, Kenora, Dryden and sometimes Thunder Bay. He added these same ones should be making those trips again this year.
“Our guys have always done well in tournaments,” said Dobransky, adding there may be another in-house tournament for club members later in the year.
“We don’t have the facility to house a tournament like the ones in Winnipeg," he added. "We would have to move to a school gym or something.”