Edmonton International Judo Championship held at the West Edmonton Mall

This weekend, hundreds of judo competitors descended on the West Edmonton Mall to compete in Canada’s biggest tournament.

The three-day Edmonton International Judo Championships wrapped up Sunday, with approximately 940 competitors of all ages from across Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan.

The annual event was last held in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tournament director Mark Hicks told CTV News Edmonton that some of the best local and international talent took part in the event.

“It’s high level judo here,” Hicks said. “There are people here who may end up going to the Olympics or have been to the Olympics. We had a guy who competed here yesterday who was a three-time Olympian.”

Hicks explained judo as a sport that involves throwing someone off balance, either through chokeholds, throws, or joint locks.

“Most of the things you see are people trying to throw them off balance and throw them away,” he said.

“When they fight, if you make a mistake, if you put your foot in the wrong place, you’re on your back looking at the ceiling,” he added. “It really is a strategic combat art.”

The tournament is organized by the seven judo clubs in the greater Edmonton area.

“It’s a great sport because you’re physically fit,” Hicks added. It’s super good for your confidence, and I think it’s just good self-defense. If someone attacks you and you throw them, and they look at the roof, they start to think maybe it’s a bad idea.”

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