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Black belt 20 years in the making

Luke Moisey has been working out with the Smithers Judo Club for around 20 years
New black belt Luke Moisey (left) helps a player learn the balance breaking moves for a throw while instructor Joe McCarthy looks on. Tom Best photo

After around 20 years in the sport, Luke Moisey passed the test for black belt held recently in Steveston.

His training for the test consisted of demonstrating many of the various techniques as well as performing a kata, a formalized illustration of the different styles of throws. While he was well prepared, his mother’s ill health prior to her passing was a cause for concern. In addition, his regular partner had to decline attending the test.

Fortunately, he was able to procure a partner who was able to help him complete the test successfully.

“The biggest issue was mother’s death. I wanted to get it done before she passed. She was very proud of me when I called her up and told her that I had passed the test,” he said.

Joe McCarthy, another black belt with the Smithers Judo Club, said that Moisey has been working out with the club for around 20 years and has shown steady progress during that time.

In order to pass the black belt test, Moisey had to demonstrate his knowledge from around 70 throwing techniques, a wide variety of grappling techniques and chokes and arm locks. He also had to have knowledge of the competition rules and, of course, how to fall safely.

Judo, an Olympic sport since 1960, has been popular in Canada for many years and has produced many athletes at the international level.

Unlike many martial arts, in judo there are no blows or kicks. Matches can be won by throwing an opponent on their back with force, a feat which is easier said than done. Matches can also be won by holding an opponent down on the mat for 25 seconds, chocking them to submission or using an arm bar technique.

Chokes and arm locks are not allowed at the early stages of judo study.

Moisey feels that his favorite technique is the “hane-goshi” throw. When performed well, this springing hip throw forcefully propels the throwers opponent over and around onto the mat.

The club is now on a holiday break and will resume practices in January.

An experienced judo player demonstrates the balance hat goes with a one legged throwing technique. Tom Best photo
Instructor Joe McCarthy (right) shows the proper technique for the springing hip throw. Tom Best photo