Campbell River judo athlete moving to Alberta to pursue her dream

Yesterday 15-year-old Jordann Warner left for Lethbridge to further herself in her chosen sport: judo.

After spending a month in bed in November of 2016 with costochondritis pleurisy, Warner decided to go all in with judo.

“I love the adrenalin of it,” she said. “At tournaments you have to get in the zone. It makes me feel really nervous but it feels so good after, knowing you have accomplished something so big.”

After a friend moved to Lethbridge to train with a highly recognized judo club there, Warner went to a training camp and talk to the coaches and decided that it was the best place for her as well.

Warner trains every day, either with Judo Campbell River or with Team BC in Vancouver.

Last week she came home with a bronze medal for her age and weight class, U18-63, from the Elite 8 Nationals in Montreal marking her as the third best in the country.

She has been invited to go to a training camp and tournament in London, Eng., at the end of March and she is on the selection list for the 2019 Canada Summer Games.

“I know for sure I would like to go to worlds and hopefully Olympics some day, that is a pretty big goal,” she said. “(I’m) just kind of working at going to more international tournaments right now and placing in those and working my way from there.”

At the moment Warner has her blue belt and is working towards brown. After that is black.

“(Judo is) nothing like karate which is what most people think,” she explained. “There is not kicking or punching or anything like that.”

Instead the athletes spar using throws, arm bars, chokes and hold downs.

A match is a maximum of four minutes, with points awarded for each successful move and penalties given as well.

If an contestant is given an ippon the match is done and they automatically win.

According to the International Federation of Judo an ippon is given when the contestant throws their opponent on their back with speed, force and skillful control. A waza-ari, or half of an ippon, is given when this criteria is not fully met. Pinning an opponent for 10 seconds is a waza-ari and pinning an opponent for 20 seconds is an ippon.

Warner has been in judo since she was seven. She said she was losing interest before getting sick but now that she knows what she wants she isn’t looking back.

On Thursday morning her and her teammates drove down to Victoria to travel to Saskatchewan for a tournament.

From there she is taking the bus home with the Lethbridge team, living with a family in Lethbridge and starting at a new school.

“I’m pretty nervous but I know that they can make me better and that’s what I want,” she said.