• James Parry

Parrywinkle Dec. 3, 2015

Tell you, dear readers. Some stuff you just can't make up. Like the recent cretinous decision on the part of the University of Ottawa to suspend a yoga class because of fears of 'cultural appropriation.' Which, according to Wikipedia, is a “sociological concept which views the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture as a largely negative phenomenon.”

Give me a bleedin' break! This in a multi-cultural country founded and populated by people of different cultures and which prides itself on its tolerance and diversity. And on the eve of welcoming some 25,000 Syrian refugees over the next few months. Who, presumably, and in time, will come to appropriate Canadian customs and a lifestyle completely foreign to what they have known in the past.

And this from an established institute of higher learning in the nation's capital dispensing degrees to the next generation of … Well, you get my drift. Bloody nonsense, eh?


WAY OF PEACE - Which brings me to the martial art that is Karate. Created in Japan centuries ago and which literally means 'Empty Hand'. And which, gadzooks, is being taught right here in Hudson, to youngsters and their parents and in a church hall, no less by Tora Karate. To be more precise, Wado. Which is a combination of Japanese Jiu-jitsu and Okinawan karate and the essence of which is to “yield to superior power, and kill them on the way by.” And which, translated, means 'Way of Peace'.

‘How do I know this?’ you might ask. Because this past week I dropped by St. James' Church Hall to meet up with Dorval resident and sensei Jeff Waters – sensei meaning teacher – and his students who every Friday evening get together for an hour to 'appropriate' another culture in peace and harmony.

Fascinated to learn from Jeff, who has been studying and teaching karate since 1981, is a semi-professional musician who has played at the Hudson Music Festival, and is a gliding instructor at the Gatineau Gliding Club, that although the first class here was in October in 2010, it is only in the past year or so that it has really grown beyond all expectations. So how did it all come about?

Says Jeff, a 5th Dan black belt in Wado, incidentally, and who took over the Tora Karate Club in Pointe Claire 15 years ago, “On the recommendation of a co-worker at Future Electronics and who was a student and black belt at Tora, Hudsonites Andy and Anna Bowers made the trip faithfully with their children, Alexa and Ayla, during the spring of 2010. It was at this time that a fellow gliding instructor who lives in Hudson, Greg Baumeister, suggested that Hudson would be a great place to introduce this particular style of karate.”


TEACHING CORE VALUES - Obviously in full agreement is Sophie Anderson-Maheo who together with her husband, David Anderson, and their two youngsters, Ewen aged almost five and seven year-old Maïwenn, is there every week. Says Sophie, “As any parent of young children will tell you, they are not the most patient creatures. They want to do things like all the big kids, but they get frustrated when they don't master a skill right away. We try to teach them that we all have to work to be good at something, but I'm sure from their perspective it's easy for us to say.”

Adds Sophie, “So when our friends Andy and Anna told us about family karate classes, it seemed like a great way to put our words where our mouth is! We want Maïwenn and Ewen to see that mommy and daddy too need to learn, and listen and practice if we want to get better at it. I honestly can't wait for the time that Sensei Jeff will ask them to demonstrate for us the proper way to do something we, the adults, are struggling with. And of course it teaches kids the core values of respect for themselves, respect for their peers, respect for others, and respect for their things. It's just a great way to kick off the weekend!”

Explains Andy Bowers, “When we joined Tora in Pointe Claire over six years ago, we were looking for an activity that offered more than just exercise – the girls were already swimming and playing soccer – and one that we could enjoy as a family. When the club expanded into Hudson, it gave us the opportunity to invite and encourage friends to attend. Sensei Jeff has helped our whole family to develop both physically and emotionally. It has been extremely rewarding to see our daughters, who are now 10 and 11, develop from young children into leaders and role models in the club. And we would happily recommend the club to anyone who is looking for an activity that will help their children develop into responsible, confident young adults.”

Who knows? Some of them may even go on to study at the University of Ottawa. Where they could surely teach the administration there about the benefits of 'cutural appropriation’!

Tora Karate offers classes at St. James' Anglican Church, 642 Main Road, Hudson, on Friday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more info, call Jeff Waters at (514) 695-9858 or Jeff@torakarate.com After all, according to Jeff and his enthusiastic students, it is The Way of Peace!


A GREY AREA - Meanwhile, still on the topic of physical and mental activity (and cultural appropriation) and with a link to Ottawa, what about that Grey Cup on Sunday between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Edmonton Eskimos in Winnpeg, eh? Didn't watch it to be perfectly honest. As I am not a big sports fan and the Montreal Canadiens – er, sorry, Alouettes - didn't make it.

But I certainly did enjoy a pre-game libation with my friend and neighbour, 90-year-young, Peter Stephenson, who showed me a marvellous photo of himself and a group of close friends watching the game on TV in Como back in 1961. (See pic below).

“Who won?” I asked him. “Haven't a clue,” he replied.

“Who was playing?” I asked. “I have no idea.”

“How was the party?” I asked. “Must have been great as I don't remember a darned thing about it!”

Ah, Peter. You are indeed a tonic and an inspiration to us all!

And just for the record, it was, in fact, the 49th Grey Cup and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Hamilton Tiger Cats 21 to 14 at CNE Stadium in Toronto before 32,651 fans in what is still considered to one of the greatest Grey Cup games of all time. The score was tied 14-14 at the end of regulation time. And the only score in overtime came when Winnipeg quarterback, Ken Ploen, called his own number and tiptoed down the sideline for the touchdown.

How do I know? Because I checked on Google. Ah, the marvels of modern technology!

To see all the photos, check out our Facebook page at



ON THE RUN - As for me, this past weekend, I certainly wasn't tiptoeing around town in a dash to take in the Christmas Bazaar hosted by the St. James' Church Women in the morning, the Hudson Christmas Craft Fair at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre in the afternoon, and A Walk to Bethlehem at the Hudson Community Baptist Church in the evening. All superbly attended, full of the Christmas spirit being enjoyed by locals and out-of-towners alike, and a joy to behold. For photos check out our Facebook page.

And that's a wrap!

Email: creation@videotron.ca

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