• Nick Zacharias

Three generations of Judokas


PHOTO COURTESY DOJO PERROT SHIMA

Sensei Richard Proulx (back row, third from right) stands proudly surrounded by three generations of his family that have all embraced the martial art of Judo.

Richard Proulx and his family are a rarity indeed in the province of Quebec, with three generations all actively dedicated to the sport of Judo. What started as an interest in some physical activity has blossomed into a way of life.

“I decided to try out Judo when my two eldest kids were involved in it and I saw how passionate they were,” says Proulx about his beginnings in the world of Judo about three decades ago. “I loved it and progressed more and more. As I improved and achieved higher levels, they told me that if I saw it through and got my black belt it would change my life – and I guess it really has.”

Proulx founded Dojo Perrot Shima in L'Île-Perrot in 1997 to create a space to train and pass on knowledge in the martial art, not just for his own family of course but for the community at large. Over the following two-plus decades they’ve seen countless hundreds of Judokas of all ages and levels pass through their doors, seen many achieve their own black belts and spread out into the region, trained officers and detectives of the Sûreté du Québec in self defense, and trained students in sport-études programs in three different schools.

As for the family, they now have 14 members all practicing Judo (15 if you count 6-month-old Scarlett) ranging from white belt to sandan (or third level) black belt, and one member who is now on the Canadian National Judo Team. Unlike regular belt progression, achieving a black belt level requires appearing before a provincial or national Judo committee to demonstrate knowledge in the art.

PHOTO COURTESY DOJO PERROT SHIMA

Young Scarlett Proulx is all smiles in her baby-sized Judo gi; we’ll assume the black belt is an honorary one for now.

“We now have six black belts among us, and members of our family have had the honour of appearing before the committee 10 times for first, second or third-level black belts” says Proulx.

Aside from training and racking up coloured belts, family and of course many other club members spend a great deal of time travelling and competing in tournaments.

“Our first big one of the season is coming up in New Brunswick around Thanksgiving, and from there they go on at the rate of about a tournament every other weekend through to the spring. We have family members who’ve competed at the provincial and national levels, and even one Canadian champion in our midst.”

There’s no doubt that keeping up with it all has been an enormous commitment, but to Proulx it’s all worthwhile when he sees so many people, both within his family and beyond, who’ve had the joy of training with them. “It brings a smile to my face to see the next generation adopting such a wonderful martial art!”

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