Judo Federation sending athletes to compete internationally

vlcsnap-2013-02-25-19h13m59s214The Central American Games kickoff in March and one of the disciplines participating is the little-known sport of judo. It is a martial art that has been around for many years, but Belize’s local Judo Federation has just begun to send athletes to compete internationally. A group is scheduled to participate and today we spoke to instructor Wellington Chee who tells us more.

Wellington Chee – Judo Instructor:
We have selected some athletes to participate. At this moment we are going to send three representative to participate in the Judo events. The students that are presently going to Costa Rica there are basically quite inexperience because Judo Association of Belize a very new federation and we still are going through the stages of formation to trying to promote. One of the problem is that we don’t get any kind of funding from anyone, so we have to do a lot of fundraising on our own. Its quite costly for anyone who wants to go and participate in any events, regional and global events. We get a lot of invitations because the Judo Association of Belize is a member of the International Federation that controls Judo world wide. The problem is without funding we cannot participate. This is a major event for these students that are going. Its an exposure, experience for them to gain and see what level of Judo is being qualified out there in the Central American public. The intention is not to go with the idea to win but to try their best and also to experience what Judo is about beyond Belize.

Chee said that this would be a learning experience for the group.

Wellington Chee – Judo Instructor:
That’s the whole idea in promoting this Tournament that is in Costa Rica.  My students did a demonstration yesterday [Saturday] on Albert Street, where they had the Arts Festival.  So we’re trying to promote it.  Probably it’s seen as a very timid sport, but not according to my students.  They say it’s quite demanding.  It’s even more demanding that Karate.
It has been in the Olympic Games since 1964, so it’s a very major Olympic event.  It’s a big event in other countries, but for some reason in Belize it’s not picking up.

But what exactly is judo? Instructor Chee explains and demonstrates:

Wellington Chee – Judo Instructor:
In Judo there are two types of techniques.  One is a standing technique, and one is done on the mat. On the standing techniques you have a hip technique, hand technique, and foot technique.  On the mat you have three types of techniques. One is choke holds against the windpipe, against the vein.  You also have one that you do arm-locks, which would be against the elbow, and also there’s a pinning  where you pin your opponent down on his back. It’s by type. In [this] technique, once you throw a person with force, good technique, and with speed, you automatically win a point.  You win a point, you are winning a match.  It can happen in a minute.  It can happen in seconds.  It can happen in five minutes. Five minutes is the length of a match.  

The Judo national team leaves Belize on the 2nd of March

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