Pictured are Scott Allen (right) and his kata partner Darren Takao (left)
Living by Seiryoku Zenyo and Jita Kyoei
Our December Wellness Champion is Kata competitor and Judo instructor, Scott Allen. Scott is a faculty member in the psychology department at the University of Lethbridge.
Scott described himself as getting “into the game late” as he has only been involved with Judo for the past 13 years. Scott was actually introduced to the philosophy and sport side of Judo when his son started taking classes at the dojo here at the U of L. Through accompanying his son to his classes and observing them, he found himself more and more interested in Judo. He thought that it “looked fun and was a great form of exercise”. He also noted that he really admired the philosophy of Judo.
Scott explained that there are different forms and ways of expression in Judo. There is the fighting side – Shiai, which he does not compete in, and the more choreographed form – Kata. Katas are meant to demonstrate the principles of judo. Scott explained that “you can also see those principles demonstrated in shiai, but you must have a much faster and more practiced eye.” Scott said when he competes in Kata, he does so with a partner. Through his positive attitude and commitment to both Kata performance and teaching, Scott has earned himself a second degree Black Belt.
Scott first started to get involved with teaching classes when the late sensei, Sensei Yoshio Senda, needed help running classes. Sensei Senda was the reason he got into instructing classes. He began teaching beginners classes and then worked his way into junior classes. Scott earned his NCCP level 2 coaching certification about 5 years ago. He has been running classes for about 7 years now and spends typically 3 – 4 nights a week at the dojo. Scott has also travelled throughout Western Canada to referee judo competitions. Scott said that if a bunch of kids from his club are going to compete in a certain competition, he will tag along to contribute as a referee for the duration of that competition.
Scott said that Sensei Yoshio Senda and his wife, Florence, have both been huge inspirations to him throughout the years. Sensei Senda’s philosophy was “you can better yourself by always showing respect for others, and to always give it your best in whatever you do.” Scott explained that Sensei Senda really believed in producing not only champions, but more importantly, good citizens. This attitude and viewpoint has been one of the main inspirations for Scott.
Scott explained that the two main principles of judo as established by Jigoro Kano who invented Judo in 1882 are: Seiryoku Zenyo and Jita Kyoei. He said that Mr. Senda’s translation of the Japanese was: “Maximum efficient use of mind and body (Seiryoku Zenyo), for the mutual welfare and benefit of all (Jita Kyoei)”. Scott added that “you can see that contributing to your community embodies [both of] those principles.”
It is safe to say that Scott lives by Sensei Senda’s philosophy, by striving to better himself and others through the art of Judo.