5 Diné training for Junior Olympics in judo

GALLUP

Five Navajo students from Garcia’s Judo Club will travel to the Junior Olympic National and International Championships in Spokane, Washington, next month.

In the years, months, weeks and days of training to the point of readiness to attend the tournament from June 16 through June 18, the students have learned more than what they will apply on the mat, according to their teacher, their sensei.

“They’re in a special world of self-motivators,” Miguel Garcia, 64, said.

The sensei said the students motivate themselves by learning to absorb the traditions, techniques and even some Japanese as they train.
At the dojo – the training center on Coal Avenue – Garcia said students learn how to learn and teach as they help each other with techniques.

Students said they learn to be accountable and responsible in the dojo as well, which they can apply in life and in their studies at school.

Kobe Bennett, 17, said he applies the discipline he practices at the club in his studies at Gallup Central High School and in his life.
“You have to learn to live the art to be good at it,” Bennett said.

Bennett will travel to the Junior Olympics alongside Daniel Wagner, 6; Shyanne Skeet, 7; Jocina Long, 10; and Kyle Hollowhorn, 10.

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Categories: Sports

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Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at Chrisp@navajotimes.com.