History of Judo in Canada

Dec 3, 2016

canadian judo

It was around 1924 that Judo was introduced on the Canadian West Coast under the impetus of and through the enthusiasm of a young Japanese Judoka, Takagaki, who was at the time a fourth Dan. He and a few fellow immigrant Japanese founded the first Canadian Dojo, for both socio-cultural and sport purposes. After a few years, Mr. Takagaki returned to Japan where he later obtained his 9th Dan.

Among the pioneers of that era, we must mention Mr. Sasaki, who became the director of the Dojo. On the occasion of a visit to Vancouver, Master Kano gave to the first Canadian Dojo the name of Kidokan.

Around the 40’s, many Japanese and Canadians of Japanese origin were relocated to the east of the Rockies and at the end the War, many of them preferred to remain in their new communities, and developed the sport of Judo. That was the beginning of the Raymond and Lethbridge Dojos in Alberta, as well as the Hatashita Judo Club in Toronto and the Montreal Seidokan.

Early in the 1950’s, many European black belt Judoka settled in the East, especially in Quebec. Not all of them were teaching Kodokan Judo but they contributed largely to its practice on a wider scale. They established the first Canadian Judo Federation (C.J.F.) which became affiliated with the International Judo Federation, also a new established organization.

At the time of the first World Championships of 1956, in Tokyo, there were two representatives from the Canadian Judo Federation. During that same year, the Canadian Kodokan Black Belt Association (CKBBA) was formed, regrouping members from several Provinces, with Mr. Sasaki as its first President (October 25, 1956).

In 1958, at the second World Championships, Canada was represented by Mr. Umetsu, the second president the CKBBA, who was both a delegate to the Congress of the IJF, and a competitor. That same year, recognition was granted to the CKBBA (Judo Canada) by the International Judo Federation.

To the present day, Judo Canada is the only official organization governing Judo in Canada. Mr. Hatashita was elected third President of the Association in 1961, and held this office until 1978. There is presently a Judo Association in each Canadian province and territory.


About the Contributor

Thomas (Tom) Davies has been an active karate-ka in the Koei Kan Karate-Do system since he started his training in 1978 under Sensei Ed Kaloudis.  Since moving to Southern California in 1984, Tom has been training under Sensei Jack Sabat of Santa Barbara, California. Tom was the chief sensei of the Long Beach Koei Kan dojo for over 11 years and currently holds the rank of Go-Dan.

Read more about Thomas (Tom) Davies »