Corrigal resurrecting local judo club

Don Corrigal is rebranding martial arts studio to the Rocky Mountain Japanese Martial Arts Association.

Don Corrigal is branching into Judo and rebranding his martial arts studio as the Rockey Mountain Japanese Martial Arts Association.

Don Corrigal is branching into Judo and rebranding his martial arts studio as the Rockey Mountain Japanese Martial Arts Association.

After close to 50 years training in Kyokushin karate, it’s safe to say that Don Corrigal knows a thing or two about martial arts.

The owner and long-time instructor of Rocky Mountain Kyokushin Karate first began training in the discipline in 1968 and has competed — and refereed — on the world stage at tournaments in Japan.

Now, he’s taking on a new venture, although it’s not too unfamiliar.

In addition to his karate training, Corrigal has been working in the discipline of Judo for the last dozen years, and is now at a point where he is offering classes and restarting a dormant Judo club in Cranbrook.

“Over the last year, I’ve been working with Richard Pullman and the senior instructor for the region, which is Fred Geitz from Fernie to try and reinvigorate the club here. Richard started the club here in about 1980 and it’s been inactive for probably the last three or four years,” said Corrigal.

“I started training about 12 years ago with Richard and have built myself up and am now in a position where I want to reinvigorate the club and get it open again and make it part of my karate operation.”

With the addition of training in judo, Corrigal will be rebranding his dojo as the Rocky Mountain Nippon Budo Kai, which translated from Japanese, is the Rocky Mountain Japanese Martial Arts Association.

He currently runs his karate classes out of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall on Mondays and Thursdays, but will also be instructing and training in judo out of the St. Mary’s Catholic Independent School gymnasium on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Getting involved in training with judo was a way to round out his existing skills developed through karate, Corrigal said.

“Essentially, they have a very similar philosophical focus,” Corrigal said. “How they achieve that is different. Obviously, karate is more striking, more stand-up, that kind of thing. Judo is more grappling.

“The two are different in that way, however, one of the reasons why I got into Judo is because it complements very nicely with what I do with my other stuff and I personally wanted to round out my fighting skills and there were a few things missing that I could get from judo.”

Historically, Kyokushin was founded in the 1960s by Masutatsu Oyama carries a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline and hard training with a full contact style focusing on technique, forms and sparring.

Judo, on the other hand, a discipline developed in the late 1800s, differs slightly as students strive to throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize, pin or submit with a joint lock or choke hold.

Judo is currently on the roster of Olympic sports, while Karate has been approved for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“There’s a lot of people in town that use to train with the [judo] club and I’m hoping to draw them back out,” Corrigal said.

Registration is set for early September with classes beginning soon afterwards.

“The ultimate plan for the whole thing is to get established enough on both sides that the association can get a permanent training facility set up here, as a regional centre for this.”

Corrigal is also working with the College of the Rockies on a research project on non-traditional sports for teams outside basketball, hockey, soccer, volleyball, baseball. Researchers will be looking at how to engage Grades 7 through [Grade] 9 in sports other than the main ones.

For more information on the karate and judo programs offered through the Rocky Mountain Budo Kai, contact Corrigal at 250-919-4295 or email at:


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