Blind since birth, Nolan Morris overcomes opponents, disability on the judo mat


Nolan Morris may not be able to see his opponent, but the feeling he gets from competing on the judo mat is filled with passion for the sport he took up just 18 months ago.

The eight-year-old from Dawson Creek, B.C., who was born without sight, competed in his very first judo tournament this weekend at the Edmonton International Judo tournament and earned a gold medal after winning all three of his matches in the U-10 category.

“This is the best feeling in the world. I did all the hard work as a white belt, got my yellow belt and worked so hard for this day to finally compete in a tournament,” said Morris, who was born with Libras Congenital Fibrosis.

“When someone grabs a hold of me, I can feel them moving, and I just tell myself that they’re not going to knock me down.”

When Nolan stepped out on to the mat Saturday morning his father Myles, mother Jennifer, brother Liam and sister Iya looked on with great joy.

“When he first walked on to the mat, I had tears in my eyes, I was so proud,” said his father Myles.

“He was diagnosed at four months old, after we started to notice he had no light perception and no vision. It’s been a learning experience for us every day.”

Despite his disability, Nolan was eager to learn and play a sport that he could compete in against able-bodied kids his own age. His parents tried him in various sports, but couldn’t find a fit.

One day at the local recreation centre in Dawson Creek, they met sensei Bruce Sydnam, a long-time judo instructor at Norther Warrior Academy, who encouraged them to give judo a try.

Now you can’t keep Nolan off the mat.

“To be able to bring an opportunity like this to a young man who is visually impaired is quite an honour … it’s a real gift and a shining moment in my near 50 years of teaching judo,” said Sydnam.

“Competition can help us define who we are and where we stand if not within society, but within ourselves and this gives him a chance to fight one-on-one with visually intact people, and he’s been absolutely incredible to teach.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to teach him drive, worth ethic, how to handle adversity, get thrown and get back up, because he’s done that his whole life.”

Training in judo can become a person’s lifestyle. It’s a form a martial art that people of all ages can learn and compete in well into their adult life.

For Nolan, it’s also helped him live a more stable life.

“He had pretty poor balance and body movement in tight spaces and it’s improved leaps and bounds in terms of stability and his ability to move through the world,” said Myles.

“It’s been remarkable to see. This has been the best therapy he could’ve ever had. Judo’s meant a lot to us.”

Nolan won’t be the only member of his family competing this weekend. After seeing how much fun his son was having, Myles decided to take up the sport as well, taking part in the adult classes after Nolan’s finished training. Both he and Nolan are making their tournament debuts.

“This is something we can do together all throughout life,” said Myles, who will compete in the adult division on Sunday.

“I know without a doubt, I’m the more nervous one competing this weekend … not even close. But this whole weekend has given me a huge amount of pride. This experience for him has been everything we could’ve imagined and more.”


The Edmonton International Judo Championships has grown to become a global event and it’s one of the largest judo competitions of its kind.

“This is our 11th year,” said tournament director Mark Hicks.

“We have 740 competitors and 112 black belts competing (this year). It’s a big tournament we have people from all over North America and Japan competing. This is three times the size of the Pan-American championships, so it gives you an idea how big this tournament has become.”

The tournament is held at West Edmonton Mall, and that allows the event to be showcased in a different setting in hopes of growing the sport.

Judo has become a very popular sport in Canada. Competitors from nine different provinces and two territories are taking part this weekend.

It’s also used as a training ground for coaches, referees and volunteers.

“It’s almost become a judo symposium,” said Hicks.

“We run seminars on coaching, refereeing and how to run the computer software for tournaments. This tournament has almost become a strong educational tool for us.”

Over the years, the tournament has had many former national and world champions compete, so the competition is strong, but it also has young athletes just learning the sport taking part, too.

“It’s a full skill tournament. Some places only hold tournaments for kids, or just adults. We cover all the bases. It’s a tournament for all ages,” said Hicks.

“We have a lot of family involvement where we get generations of families competing and this is very much a family sport.”


Pacific International Judo Tournament Results

2016 Pacific International Judo Tournament, March 05-06, 2016 – Steveston, BC

The 2016 Pacific International Judo Tournament is one of the most important competitions on the Judo Canada competition circuit with 350 athletes from USA, Japan and across Canada competing at this prestigious event. This competition is a national team ranking competition where athletes gain valuable points and standards in effort to progress them onto national teams.

Alberta won 40 medals over all on the weekend; winning 18 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 12 bronze medals. Team Alberta was represented by clubs from Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Groves, Airdrie, Calgary, Pincher Creek and Edmonton.

There were several outstanding performances during the weekend with Taeya Koliaska, Joel Demaere and Hana Varsanyi from Lethbridge winning two different age divisions over the weekend.

Quote Ewan Beaton, Judo Alberta HP Coach, 2x Olympian & 2004 Olympic Coach

“The Judo Alberta athletes represented themselves well at this important national level event. Many of the young athletes took big steps winning in older age divisions with spectacular throwing techniques. Dawson Mandal, Ali Briggs, Taeya Koliaska and Hana Varsanyi from Lethbridge won gold medals in the senior divisions for the first time which helps them gain valuable ranking points for the national team.”

“The depth of judo is growing in Alberta with gold medals coming from many different regions and different clubs in the province. When you have gold medals coming from smaller communities like Spruce Groves (Declan Harding) and Fort Saskatchewan (Alexandra & Nicholas Gagnon) this is a good sign for the future of the sport in Alberta.”

The next stop on the Judo Canada competition circuit is the Edmonton International Judo Championships running from March 11-13, 2016 at the West Edmonton Mall with over 750 athletes participating from across Canada and the USA.

To view the tournament results please click here!

Ewan Beaton HP Judo Alberta Coach
Phone: (306) 370-7412
Judo Alberta Website:
Judo Alberta Facebook:

2016 Female Training Camp and Sleepover

Featured Female Training Camp Instructor:

Amy Cotton

Amy was raised in Cape Breton Nova Scotia where she started judo with her family at the age of 6. She won her first Junior Nationals at 15 years old and also placed 3rd that same year at the Senior Nationals. At 19 years of age she moved to Quebec to train and qualify for the Olympic Games. She attended the 2004 and 2010 Olympic games. Amy has won 4 Senior National Championships, 2 gold medals at Pan Am Championships as well as over 50 medals Internationally. Amy retired in the fall of 2013 and is now the High Performance Coach for Judo Saskatchewan. Judo Alberta is pleased that Amy is coming back for a second time to our female training camp. Her first time was back in 2005 in Airdrie. To this date it is still the highest attended female camp.


Saturday April 23, 2016 Registration and welcome is from 11:30-12:30pm, Pick-up time is:
12pm on Sunday April 24.


1) $40 per participant (this will include food, lodging, activities and gift)
2) $25 per chaperone (If you are not a judoka but want to chaperone for the weekend)
3) Release form must be filled out and sent with payment
4) Payment due with release forms.

Please make cheques payable to Judo Alberta

There are no age or belt restrictions so long as you are a member in good standing with Judo Alberta or another provincial judo association. Judo techniques and strategies will be presented from a female perspective. As well, this is a great opportunity for girls to get to know each other and spend some time with other female athletes.

Registration Deadline:

Friday April 15th, 2016

Mail Release and payment to:

Tammy Thornton
48 Howson Cres
Edmonton, AB, T5A 4T6

Please e-mail club registrations forms and any inquiries to:
Or call Tammy at: (780) 717-1797

To view the camp registration form please click here.

female logo

2016 Florence Senda Junior Tournament


Saturday, April 9, 2016


Lethbridge Judo Club Dojo
775 – 28th Ave. South
Lethbridge, AB. T1K 7L6


Club coach/representative meeting 10:00 a.m.
Tournament: 10:30 a.m. (U10)
U12 and U14 start times will be posted after weigh in.


Saturday, April 9, 2015 (8:00 – 9:30 a.m.)

Tournament Director:

Guy Pomahac (

Registration Coordinator:

Vickie Nakagama (

Entry Fee:

$40.00 per contestant; (All fees are non-refundable unless event is cancelled)



Open to all members of Provincial Judo Associations, Judo Canada and IJF Associations
All competitors must be prepared to present their judo documentation.
Minimum rank – yellow belt

U14: Boys / Girls: born 2003 – 2004 (2 min. match duration)
U12: Boys / Girls: born 2005 – 2006 (2 min. randori format)
U10: Mixed Gender: born 2007 – 2008 (2 min. randori format)


• A U14 team competition will be held following the completion of the U14 divisions.
• There is no additional fee for participation.
• Team format and weight groupings will be announced at the Coach/representative meeting (10:00 AM)
• Teams may be created from more than 1 club
• Clubs may have more than 1 team


2016 Open National Championships

Dear Coaches / Judo Clubs,

The deadline for clubs to apply for athletes to take part in the 2016
Open Nationals is March 01, 2016. Please find attached to this
document the following information that has to be returned by this

A) 2016 Open Nationals Spread Sheet (please fill in all information)
B) 2016 Open Nationals Waiver form
C) 2016 Open Nationals Medical form
D) Judo Alberta Athlete Code of Conduct


Note: There is not minimum requirements for Veteran athletes. (There
is no funding for Veteran athletes – there is a typo in the selection

We would like to get all of this documentation done early so there is
no chasing and running all over the place.
FUNDING: Funding will be finalized in April 2016

Eligible events left in the selection criteria for points for funding
and events for eligibility standards:

Training Camps:
February 20-21, 2016, Provincial Camp, Fort Sask.

March 5-6, 2016, Pacific International, Vancouver
March 11-13, 2016, Edmonton Internatioinal, Edmonton
April 2-3, 2016, Rocky Mountain Tournament, Calgary



April 15-17, 2016 – Canmore Inter-Provincial Training Camp, Canmore
(BC, Alberta, SK)
April 20-May 01, 2016 Provincial Camp, Lethbridge



I have attached the points and win/loss records. Please review
carefully. If there are mistakes please contact me ASAP so we can make

The Blue Wave

Attached is some more information on the blue wave. We want to have as
many people involved as possible. We want the nationals to be
memorable for Judo Alberta and everyone involved.

Blue Wave Items will be included in the cost / package for the
athletes to ensure that everyone will be supporting the blue wave!



It you have any questions please let me know

Ewan Beaton
Judo Alberta HP Coach

Kata Judges Examination


March 4th, 2016


Richmond Olympic Oval
6 111 River Road,
Richmond, B.C.


Steveston Martial Arts Center



Those that wish to compete on the Saturday may also follow the evaluation.

Start Time:

14 h

1. Welcoming everyone to the Kata Judges evaluation seminar.

2. Evaluators:

a. Fred Blaney International “IJF”
b. Yves Landry International “IJF”
c. Gerald Poirier National “A”

3. The Kata being evaluated:

a. Katame no kata

4. Presentation of the “IJF” software.

a. How it works
b. How to complete the sheet.

5. Update on “IJF” regulations.

a. Go through the different points of a tournament.
b. Go over the different mistakes and their levels. (Minor, medium or major mistake)

6. Evaluation:

a. Presentation of kata by experts and review of Kodokan video along with commentary around key points for scoring.

b. Written test.

c. Evaluation

i. Presentation of kata on film.
ii. Evaluation by candidates on sheets and discussion
iii. Final presentation of Katame no kata on film.

Final evaluation by candidates on sheets will be picked up by presenter and handed over to evaluators for revision.

Evaluation for:

1. National Judges

2. Must register on BEAMSTREAM:

3. Cost: $ 50.00

4. Minimum Judo Rank: NIDAN


Registration must be in the Judo Canada office no later than February 29th, 2016 at 11 h 59. No late registration will be accepted.



There will be a U21 Nage no kata (5 series) division for Nationals 2016 in Calgary. Please promote.

Judo Canada Passport Application Process – effective immediately.

Please find below the link for Judo Canada Passport.

There is only 2 possible way to obtain a Judo Canada Passport,

via Beanstream where it is normally processed within 5 working days from the time we received it. Once the passport is ready to go, it is sent to the individual that ordered it by either Canada Post or Purolator depending on the member’s request.


via the Excel file that is sent to you to send to your clubs, where it is normally processed with 5 working days from the time we received it. Once the passport is ready to go, it is sent to the club along with the membership cards that was included on the excel file.

Either way, it is no longer required to include photos or copy of Birth Certificate or Proof of Citizenship.

Please be advised that paper Passport application form will no longer be accepted, so they will not be processed and they will be returned to the sender.

Francine Latreille

Office Manager
Gestionnaire de bureau
Judo Canada
1155 Lola Street, suite 201
Ottawa, On Canada K1K 4C1
T 1.877.738.5836 x 221

2016 Saskatchewan Open Results

Congratulations to all judoka who competed this weekend at the Saskatchewan Open.

To view the results please click here.

Judo Alberta Winter Provincial Training Camp, February 20-21, 2016


U14, U16, U18, U21, seniors, Masters

Address for training camp:

Tolide Judo Kwai
Dow Centennial Centre
84 St. & 87 Ave. Fort Saskatchewan

SATURDAY February 20, 2016

1300-1530 Physical Testing / Throwing
1530-1700 Break
1700-1930 Randori & Technical

SUNDAY February 21, 2016

800-900 Technical & Drills
900-1000 Break
1000-1150 Randori

Please bring running shoes and exercise clothing.

This Provincial training camp is #4 out of 4 Provincial training camp for this season. Please review the provincial team selection policy to know how many camps are required for minimum selection criteria.

If you have any questions please let me know.

Thank you

Ewan Beaton HP Judo Alberta Coach
Phone: 306-370-7412

Regional Training Camp February 26-27, 2016


U14, U16, U18, U21, seniors, Masters

Friday February 26, 2016

19:00-21:00 Technique / Randori

Saturday February 27, 2016

800-900 Physical Training
900-10:00 Break
10:00-11:30 Technique
11:30-12:30 Break
12:30-14:00 Randori

Address for regional training camp location:

Hiro’s Judo Club
#115 1919 – 27th Avenue, Calgary, Alberta

Ewan Beaton HP Judo Alberta Coach
Phone: (306) 370-7412

Alberta Sport ConnectionNCCPOur Sponsors