Family affair as three generations compete at Judo nationals

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Judo BC – Photo Courtesy of the Grant Family

July 22, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – For Mark Grant, competing in judo has always felt like being part of a large family – but that family feeling was even stronger at the judo nationals.

In what Mark believes to be a first at the nationals, three generations of the same family competed together at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Joining the 62-year-old Langford resident at the 2013 Canadian Judo Championship were his son Jeremy Grant, 42, and grandson Max Grant, 12, from Victoria.
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From left to right: Mark, Max and Jeremy Grant – Photo courtesy of the Grant family
Mark said: “It was a privilege for me to be part of something that my son and grandson were a part of and not to seem out of place to do it.”
While many of his peers are now involved in the more administrative side of the sport, Mark teaches at Kokushikai and Victoria judo clubs, the latter also being the training base of Jeremy and Max.
Mark, who lists his greatest competitive judo achievements as winning the World Masters open weight, US masters and the Canadian Masters, returned to competition for the first time in a decade to compete with his family.
The fourth degree black belt was pleased to see his grandson taking on older competitors in the Under 15 age group, saying “I was glad to see he worked hard and kept going no matter how tough it was.”
And of his son’s bronze medal winning performance, he said: “He’s done really well against people that were more experienced than him”.
Jeremy, a second degree black belt, said he only got serious about judo in his early thirties.
“That’s when I clocked onto the benefits of judo as a family sport – we could all do it,” said Jeremy. “It seemed natural to me to wrestle around with my dad. This gives you that in sport as well. I like the physicality of it, but the co-operative physicality. It’s not about inflicting hurt, it’s about control.”
Jeremy said the experience of fighting alongside his father and son was “very special for us”, but he also said it made it more difficult to concentrate on his own performance when he could see them fighting on another mat.
But Max, a green belt, found it useful watching his father and grandfather performing at the event earlier this month.
“It was a cool experience,” he said. “I was learning from what they were doing and I used the same strategies that they were using on the mats in my fights.”
Through competition Max is also joining a broader family, as his grandfather pointed out: “Judo is like an extended family. I had people come up and talk to me that I haven’t seen in 30 years.”