From Nunavut to Argentina: Training without Borders for Judo Canada

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The folks at Judo Canada never dreamed that by promoting the federation’s self-defence training program, they would create a link between Nunavut and Argentina.

It all started when Nadine Christiane Petnkeuntchatchoua, a kindergarten teacher from Northern Canada, responded to an appeal from the national federation. “Judo Canada asked if any women were interested in taking part in a program that would teach them to train girls in their communities,” she explained.

Petnkeuntchatchoua’s remote location and the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic could have hindered her participation in the program, but this was not the case. The Iqaluit resident simply used the Zoom platform to connect with the other participants and with their instructor, former international judoka and 2013 world champion Daniela Krukower, who lives in … Argentina.

The program contained a theoretical component, of course. It also included specific individual exercises performed with a dummy, as well as a general fitness component. Petnkeuntchatchoua, who gave birth during the lockdown, particularly appreciated the latter. “It got me moving again.”

Marie-Hélène Chisholm, high-performance manager and head of the women’s self-defence instructor training program at Judo Canada, had this to say about Petnkeuntchatchoua: “Nadine is a gem! To have someone who is interested in pursuing her own professional development with Judo Canada, who wishes to serve her community, who is passionate and who has leadership qualities … she’s just the type of person the program needs, and these are exactly the values we want to promote. What more could we ask for, especially in a remote region?”

The next step will be to bring together the twenty participants from across the country to complete the final segments of the program in person. The course is designed for all women, not only those with sports backgrounds.

Petnkeuntchatchoua firmly believes in the importance of the program. “This type of training can only be beneficial. It will be great because I live in a community where many women are victims of violence of all types.”

She particularly enjoyed interacting with the other participants. “It’s a great learning community, with a lot of shared experiences. Some of the women have experienced violence, others haven’t. I like that the course is open to everyone, without requiring a martial arts background, and that it’s focused on prevention and well-being. Also, it was a great lockdown project. We never gave up!”

Once she has completed the course, Petnkeuntchatchoua plans to share her newfound knowledge with female high school students throughout her region. “The course will be good for their self-esteem. It’s focused on prevention. It’s not about attacking, it’s about defence.”

In addition to teaching the basics of self-defence, Petnkeuntchatchoua plans to include elements of judo, a sport she practices. “I’ve been doing it since I was very young. It’s good for building self-esteem. Young girls need that,” stated the 1st Dan Black Belt.

“Judo has given me so much. I teach it as an extracurricular activity. It’s natural for me to give back. I come from a small community, where the higher-ranked judokas took care of the younger ones. I grew up with that type of leadership. There’s a shortage of coaches, so we have to pass the torch to our young people!”

Petnkeuntchatchoua is thrilled to know that her 17-year-old daughter plans to follow in her footsteps.

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