Western Tales: The Roughrider Judo Club

Roughrider Judo Club's History The Martial Arts has a long tradition the world over of the great quest for instruction. From ancient Celtic heroes like Cu Chulainn, manuals typified by George Silver's Paradoxes of Defense, the shugyosa tradition exemplified by Miyamoto Musashi, and even popularly recognized in Hollywood characters like The Princess' Brides' Inigo Montoya. So it is not surprising at all that, starting in 1994, Jeff Ficek and Nick Lambert would travel one hundred miles one way, each week, from their residence in Dickinson to study judo in Bismarck under Sensei Ken Nysether. Nearly 10 years later, Sensei Nysether received a call from Randy Raasch, in the town of Hettinger, ND, about 180 miles from Bismarck. Randy was trying to get a judo class started in Hettinger, and wondered if Ken would drive down once a week to teach. That was a bit far for Ken, who was already donating many of his evenings teaching in Bismarck, but he knew of two judoka in Dickinson, unafraid of travel, who were ready to begin teaching on their own, in his estimation. In the end, Roughrider Judo opened it's doors in Dickinson--with Randy and some companions traveling 80 miles to attend class--on November 1st of 2003. Nick had procured space in the Dickinson Public High School wrestling room. Ever since, a portion of the class fee from each student is gifted to the DHS Wrestling Team in appreciation. Following the tradition of Sensei Borgen and the not-for-profit Gentle Ways, Inc., Roughrider Judo is a non-profit organization, and all the instructors are volunteers. Travel soon took its toll on many of Randy's companions, but not on Randy. Joined by Jeff's younger brother, Josh Ficek, the two received some intense one-on-one instruction many evenings. Both attended the 2004 Kangeiko in Fargo. Slowly, the club grew. Sensei Nysether came out a few times to give insight and instruction with some others from the Bismarck Dojo. Then, Nick had the idea of starting a short-term, summer junior's program. It was set up to run the month of June, and had a turnout of around fifteen students. Also in June of 2004, Sensei Vern Borgen of Fargo, accompanied by other Yudansha from the Fargo and Bismarck branches of Gentle Ways, along with some students at the Bismarck dojo, all came out to Dickinson for an in-house seminar. Senseis Borgen and Nysether surprised Jeff and Nick by awarding their Shodan, which they had tested for at Kangeiko. By November of 2004, Roughrider Judo was hosting a major aikido seminar with Sensei John Messores (6th Dan) of the Jihonjuku: Aikido Academy of Warrior Spirit. This was made possible thru Jeff's lasting friendship with Sensei Guy Hagen, a longtime student of Sensei Messores. The seminar lasted two days, and people traveled over 300 miles to attend it. By now, the club had grown to around 15 members, and on January 15th , 2005, hosted a small, in-house clinic on kata by National Kata Champion Jana Seaborn, of the Minnesota State University at Moorehead (MSUM) Gentle Ways Dojo. At the 20th Anniversary of Gentle Ways, Inc., celebrated at Kangeiko, that February 5th, there were seven Dickinson students attending. The summer brought the continuation and expansion of the "Introduction to Judo Junior's" program, again held in June. In August a cross-training seminar in Iaido with Sensei Karl Peterson of Minneapolis was held. Shortly after that, the dojo experienced its first big step backwards in membership, as several students left all at once to pursue various careers, school, or other goals. It was also about this time that "Gentle Ways Judo, Dickinson" formerly adapted the name "Roughrider Judo Club, a member of Gentle Ways, Inc.". In early February of 2006, Guy Hagen set up this website for Roughrider Judo, and five students went to Kangeiko. Bismarck Gentle Ways' open house and shiai drew seven students from Roughrider Judo to their first tournament experience on March 25th. During March and April, we participated in Mini-lessons at Jefferson Elementary and also at Hope Christian Academy in Dickinson. Erich, James and Josh were able to assist in instruction. June saw a huge expansion in the Introduction To Judo Junior's class, with 25 students completing the course. It also drew new students into the Adult class. October 7th, Bismarck hosted their second shiai. They intend to make an Early October shiai an annual event in their Dojo. Students competing from Dickinson included Erich, Jory (1st in his division), Nick G, Troy, Dan, Leah, Seth, and Jay. Two students from our Junior's Class that June also competed for fun against one another, Tom and Storm. This shiai was much larger than the Spring invitational, with five small weight groups and a lot of fun, spirited matches. Dec. 9th, 2006, Dickinson hosted their first annual invitational shiai. Erich, Jory, Big Dave, Big Nick, Seth, Tom, Travis, Steven and Victor all competed. Roughrider Judo managed 3 weight divisions, and an "open" division for those who just couldn't get enough fun! Special thanks to all the Local members not competing, who kept score and time. As a bonus, we got a special visit from Randy Raasch, on leave from Afghanistan! Three competitiors from Bismarck participated. In January and February, we presented demonstrations at Jefferson Elementary again. Erich, Big Dave, Jory, Leah and Seth and Tim all helped a great deal. About half the class were new kids, and half were ones back from last year, eager for more. Kangeiko 2007--the Year of the Boar, was on Feb. 10th this year. Josh, Erich, Jory, Big Dave and Big Nick, Dan, Joel, Leah and Seth all attended with Sensei's Lambert and Ficek. There was wonderful instruction this year from Sensei Jones and Sensei Scott, as well as Sensei Cruff, Sensei Borgen and a return performance by Aikido instructor Sensei Mark Larson. As a Special Bonus, Sensei Przybilla introduced DVD's of Past Kangeikos, available for purchase. On April 14, Sensei Tim Cruff, 5th Dan Goshin Budo Jujitsu, 4th Dan Hakkoryu Karate Jitsu, 4th Dan Shitoryu Karate, and 4th Dan USJA Judo, Instructor at the Gentle Ways Minnesota State University at Moorehead Classes, presented an afternoon clinic in Dickinson. Most of the Roughrider Judo club were able to attend, as well as Sensei Steve Zerr and Jeff Mormon from Bismarck. Sensei Cruff covered a wide range of topics in a short time that left everyone a bit worn out and sore, but thrilled. Hakkoryu Karate Jitsu is a very old and powerful karate system that contains Jujitsu techniques. Originally it may have been a jujitsu system that specialized in atemi. Sensei Cruff is the founder of the Gentle Ways HKJ group in Bismarck. In late April, 2007 Roughrider Judo donated time to the local RASP (Regional After School Program) at Roosevelt, Heart River, And Lincoln elementaries in Dickinson. David, Leah and Seth helped demonstrate and teach at the schools. We also held an "Introduction to Judo for Women" demonstration and class at Dickinson State University in April. David, Leah, Seth, Steven, Erich, and Joel participated. June saw the completion of another year of the Junior's Introduction to Judo class. Over 20 people signed up, many of them veterans of the previous years. On August 5, there was a Vital Point Seminar Featuring Professor Rick Clark, founder of AoDenko Kai and the AoDenko Jutsu method of fighting, hosted by Gentle Ways Judo St Cloud State University. Sensei Sam Rudd and Sensei Jeff Przybilla Hosted the clinic, and Erich and Big Nick traveled with Senseis' Ficek and Lambert on a 1,000 mile round-trip experience. Jory met everyone there for half the seminar. Bismarck Gentle Way's gained a valuable asset with the arrival of Vahram Stepanyan in Sept. 2007. He was a several-times over National champion in Armenia in two weight divisions of Judo and Sambo. Upon immigrating, he worked out with some great people in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Northglenn Judo Club. In mid Sept., Sensei's Lambert and Ficek and Erich, Jory, "Pineapple" David, Big David, Big Nick G, Travis and "New" Nick L. all headed down for a fun workout to give the Bismarck member's breathing space. All we can say is, the longer Vahram stays around Gentle Ways, the better for us! By lucky fortune, on Oct., 6th, 2007 the Bismarck Gentle Ways Pre-Pheasant Opener Shiai fell on a weekend that Sensei's Barry, Kevin, and Warren Agena of the Northglenn Judo Club at Colorado Springs were stopping in Bismarck to visit Vahram. The Small Shiai quickly became a very educational Seminar with 9 participants from the Fargo Dojo's, and Sensei Lambert, Tim, Nick G, Nick L, Travis, Dan and Seth and Sensei Ficek all attending from Roughrider Judo. We all hope to see these folks again in North Dakota or in Colorado! Jan 12, 2008 was the Second Annual "Frozen Tundra Tournament" hosted in Dickinson by Roughrider Judo. Six participants came from the Fargo Gentle Ways Dojo's, and two from Bismarck Gentle Ways. In several rounds of extremely good shiai contests, the Travelers took the top 3 places in both weight Divisions, With David Scott and Vharam Stepanyan first in their divisions. Vharam also placed first in the "King of the Mat" Open Division. Sensei Lambert and Ficek competed along with Erich, Nick G., Seth, Steven and Nick L., and Ben. Jory, Travis and Dan were unable to compete but ran score and cheered from the sides. And in January and February, Roughrider Judo volunteered with Jefferson Elementery's mini-lesson program, with the aid of Tim, Seth, Big Nick G., and Erich. We were pleased to find that we had a return student--precisely because a judo fall had helped him in the past year on an icy patch, saving his skull! He and some others hope to be in the June Intro to Judo class for Juniors. February 9th 2008 marked the 13th Kangeiko, or the second "Year of the Rat Winter Training Festival" that Gentle Ways hosts annually in Fargo. MSUM Judo hosted the event, With Sensei Cruff and Daueber instructing, along with Aikido Sensei Mark Larson and Sensei Vahram Stepanyan filling in for Alan Duppler. Despite the bad weather, everyone who made it had a great time. Big Nick G, Erich, Jory, Dan and Seth all attended with Sensei's Lambert and Ficek. Sensei Cruff announced his formal retirement from regular Judo instruction due to health reasons, but will continue to teach as often as he can. Sensei Joe Killion will be teaching at MSUM with Sensei Daueber in his stead. After a few months of training with Bismarck Gentle Ways, Sensei Borgen prevailed upon Sensei Vahram Stepanyan to teach a one day Clinic on competitive Judo and European grip fighting at the Aka Gawa Dojo on April 19th. Sensei's Lambert and Ficek attended with Jory, who fell ill and was only able to watch from the sidelines. The trip, he said, was still more than worth it. The 40th annual Northglenn Judo Club's Invitational Tournament was Held on April 26th, 2008 in Colorado. Gentle Ways only mustered four people to attend the event, With Sensei Borgen from the Red River Dojo; Sensei's Nysether and Zerr from the Bismarck Gentle Ways Dojo; and Sensei Ficek from Roughrider Judo making the trek. Sensei Borgen logged 900 road miles for the occasion, one way. We were able to work out with the wonderful judoka at Northglenn at their regular class Thursday, prior to the Shiai. The hospitality was tremendous, and the spirit of Judo was very bright in the Mile-High Area! This is a top-notch Tournament with Olympic Competitors and was professionally and smoothly run by Sensei Agena and the entire Northglenn lineup. Well over 200 people competed, including Sensei Zerr and Ficek in the Master's Division. Additionally, The entire Gentle Way's contingent was treated to a Referee Seminar conducted by Noboru Saito, Olympic Referee and former chairperson of USA Judo's Referee Commission. June has brought our 5th year of the Introduction to Judo for Junior's Program. A room-scheduling conflict for the first day was made far easier with the aid of Members Ben, Anton, Jory, Sage (back for a short visit), and New student Jeremiah. Thanks to their efforts, we are off to a smooth start with over 20 students from age 5 thru age 40- plus! On June 21st, Sensei Sam Rudd and Sensei Jeff Przybilla of St Cloud Gentle Ways Drove out to illustrate Judo and ju-jit-su techniques in the Prairie Dog Clinic, Hosted by Roughrider Judo. Gentle Ways members from Bismarck attended, as well as a strong showing of Roughrider Judoka. After a full day of fun Judo, the next day was spent plinking at a popular area Varmint and touring the Badlands. As the conclusion for our Introduction to Judo for Junior's class this year, we incorporated the Randori portion of the Junior's test into a Shiai-style event, called "The Teddy-Bear Tournament", in honor of Teddy Roosevelt, President and Judoka. This was held at the end of our normal class, on July 1st. The littlest Juniors did a "sumo" style competition/application of judo techniques, while the older Juniors did regular randori. In Youth lightweight, the Winners were James in First, followed by Fox and then Eve, Griffen and Molly tying for third. Youth welterweight was won by Matthew, followed by Phillip and Corey. Youth Heavyweight was won by Dylan with Declan in second. Youth Novice was won by Riley followed by Presley and Kirsta, and youth Advanced was won by Dave followed by Courtney and Anna. Adult members of Roughrider Judo helped run the tournament, and provided a brief demonstration of full-blown Shiai to parents and Juniors afterwards. This was the best year we've had to date for the majority of Juniors working hard, and learning judo, and passing their test for Belts. 19 Students advanced this year! On Sept 20th, Steve, Nick G., and Jory road-tripped to Billings to compete in the Montana Invitational. Jory placed first in his division, with the others representing Roughrider Judo honorably at this fun tournament. There are a lot of excited people planing on attending it next year already. Four Members of Dickinson's Roughrider Judo Club traveled to a Shiai, or tournament, for Judo in St Paul, Minnesota on Nov. 1st. Sensei Lambert placed Third in the Masters division, and Ben Christensen placed First in his Novice Division. The Land O' Lakes Tournament, sponsored by Midway Judo Club, was held at Hamline University and drew International competitors. Several Nationally ranked and Olympic team judoka (students of Judo) competed at the event. Local Roughrider Judo Students Josh Hecker and Nick Larson fared well in their divisions, but did not place. Sensei Ficek coached from the sidelines. Bismarck Gentle Ways, The Red River Dojo, MSUM Gentle Ways, and St Cloud Gentle ways all brought competitors. The Third annual Frozen Tundra Tournament was held by Roughrider Judo on Jan. 10, 2009. Despite an ice storm, Gentle Ways Dojo's; Red River, MSUM and Bismarck all sent members to participate. Roughrider Judo had Jory on the injured list scorekeeping, with Sensei Lambert, Sensei Ficek, Nick G., Seth, Steven P., Ben, Ophir and Josh H. competing. Three Divisons (light & heavy weight and open) produced 1st place wins for Sensei Nysether, and Ross in both heavy and open. 2nd place was taken by Josh H, Clint and Nick L., with 3rd held by Nick L, and Ben in both heavy and open. We again participated in Jefferson Elementary's Mini-Lesson Program starting Jan 6th, with Sensei Lambert demonstrating with help from Steven, Seth and Tim. This all set on the eve of departure for this year's Kangeiko! We returned on the 18th for the second day, With Seth and Sensei Lambert again leading instruction, joined by Sensei Ficek. We had help from former Junior's class student K. Renner on the mat! And Kangeiko, 2009 was hosted this year by Roughrider Judo. The 14th Annual Kangeiko was the second "Year of the Bull", and was on Feb. 7th. The instructional format was changed slightly this year by Roughrider to shorter segments featuring the Head's of Gentle Ways' Dojo's. Sensei's Borgen, Rudd and Przybilla each instructed for an hour each, while Sensei's Daueber, Killion, Scott, Jones, Nysether and Zerr taught for 50 minutes in pairs. Sensei Lambert and Ficek conducted warm-ups and some fun cool-down games at the end. As usual, the Roughrider Students who attended saw some wonderful martial arts education. Afterword, Erich, Jory, Ben, Steven, Josh and Ophir all helped at the Social at the El Zagel Shrine in Fargo. Our 5th year of the Introduction to Judo for Junior's class started in May with 31 registered participants. We have a few Junior Orange belts to mix things up a bit this year, and also saw the transfer of longtime Junior Students Courtney and Zach to the Adult class. Ben Christenson and Jory Shypkowski have lent invaluable time and energy to this years' class, with help as well by Erich, Zimmy, Jay Jahner, Anton, Steven, Josh Hecker, and Zach. New for this year, students could get colorful club t-shirts showing off the Judo they are studying to friends and relatives! June 12,13 and 14th Gentle Ways presented a three day mini-camp at the Red River Dojo with Sensei "coach" Charlie Robinson. One of the greats of Judo, his instruction was appreciated by Sensei Lambert and Ficek as well as Jory and Nick G, who attended all three days. Jory and Nick G tested for USJA assistant Instructor certification and await them in the mail. Sensei Charlie Robinson is an 8th degree judo black belt and well known for his total commitment to the judo community. For over 25 years, he has sponsored Camp Bushido West, a judo training camp in the foothills of California that draws participants and instructors internationally. He has trained in Boxing, jujitsu, wrestling and Judo extensively. Enlisted in the USAF during WWII, he started training judo and (after being stationed in Marysville) would often drive 2 hours round trip to train with George Harris in S.F. During his 20 years in the USAF, he became an instructor and taught at the Beale Judo Club and the Marysville Buddhist Church. Over the next 25 years, he taught judo and self defense at Yuba Community College as well as weaponless self-defense, baton training, cuffing, and search procedures for law enforcement. In 1985 he became a coach one of the first certified examiners for the USJA. He was quickly name the chairperson of the Examiner Committee and only recently sort-of) retired in 2006. O Curmudgeon, as his students have titled him, has given us a wealth of information and knowledge which we hope to pursue with him again at a future Camp Bushido. At 85, he is still going strong, propelled by his love of judo and the respect of the judo community. our Introduction to Judo for Juniors class of 2009 ended Thursday, July 2 with the now traditional Teddy Bear Tournament, a Shiai-style portion of the final test for our Juniors program. We had 5 brackets of competition: Youth Lite-weight was dominated by Third Place Sidney, Second Place Cullen, and First Place Jasik Youth Welter-weight winners were Third Place Fox, Second Place Eve, and First Place Drake Youth Heavy-weight had Third Place Corey, Second Place Griffen, and First Place Noah. The Young Roughriders Division saw Third Place to Gage, Second Place to Matthew, and First Place to Kirsta. The Experienced Roughriders ranked Third Place Josh, Second Place Tyler, and First Place Riley. Congratulations to all! Helping to run the tournament and gain tournament management experience were volunteers from the Adult class. Many of them the usual suspects who had devoted time all month long to the class foremost Ben, and Jory, With Jay, Steven and Erich and Josh. On Friday, Sept 18th, Sensei's Lambert and Ficek and Niikyu Tim Little trekked to Billings Mt., for the annual Montana Invitational Tournament. Saturday, Tim Placed 3rd in his Division, with Sensei Lambert placing First in his. The sensei's were tested and evaluated by Sensei Dean Markovics IJF-B Referee for Local Referee Certification. Sensei David Allen of the Martial Arts Academy of Billings hosted a great Clinic and a fantastic Tournament. We hope interest in this event becomes a regular feature in the history of Roughrider Judo and the various Gentle ways dojos! No one was able to make the Land 'o Lakes shiai this year, but on November 22, Roughrider Judo hosted the (Still) Wild Turkey Seminar with instruction from Sensei Erik Jones and David Scott of the Gentle Ways Aka Gawa Dojo in Fargo. Sempai Steve Reinhold provided uke skills as Sensei Scott had a bad shoulder injury just the week before. The Sunday clinic was a dive into matwork on an intense level. Sensei Steve Zerr of Bismarck Gentle Ways attended, with Roughrider members Erich, Nick G., Ben, Steven P., Sarah, Cody and Indi. Anyone who missed this treat on the mat will have to learn the hard way during Randori! The Dickinson Press was on hand for the Fourth Annual Frozen Tundra Tournament on Saturday, January 9th, 2010. Sensei Lambert ran most of the show as Sensei Ficek was busy with some personal matters. 14 people participated as competitors, with Sensei Joe Killion and Ross coming from MSUM Gentle Ways and Senseis Nysether and Zerr bringing Eric to his first match from Bismarck Gentle Ways. Roughrider Judo fielded the balance, with Erich present for the open competition, and Nick G., Steven P., Ben, Seth, Anton, Cody and Mark joining Sensie Lambert competing in that and the lightweight and heavyweight divisions. Sensei Ficek was able to help Referee Lightweight and Heavyweight along with Sensie Lambert and the other Yudansha. Sarah, Indi and Steve H. ran the time, and score tables. A great time was had by everyone at Sensei Lambert's, where his wife Mary had plenty of good food for all on hand. Good company and re-hashings were shared all around. Lightweight:
  • 3rd Nick Lambert--Roughrider
  • 2nd Steve Zerr--Bismarck Gentle
  • 1st Joe Killion--MSUM
  • 3rd Ben Christenson--Roughrider
  • 2nd Eric Miler--Bismarck Gentle
  • 1st Ross Gottfried--MSUM
  • 3rd Ben Christenson--Roughrider
  • 2nd Ken Nysether--Bismarck Gentle
  • 1st Ross Gottfried--MSUM
Feb. 6th 2010 saw blizzard conditions for the start of Kangeiko 2010, the Second Year of the Tiger. But most of our students still braved the roads to attend the great training and Sensie Borgen's Semi-retirement event. Tim, Jory, Nick G., Steve P and Ben and Jesse all trained with Sensei's Ficek and Lambert. Sensei Borgen, presented tips in the morning followed by Sensei Scott and Jones with some Matwork items. The afternoon session was Sensei's Nysether and Zerr of Bismarck going over Vahram's judo techniques, followed by Sensei Dauber using Sensei Killion to demonstrate the principle of Ju in the Ju No Kata. Many of Sensei Borgen's students--current and past, chipped in to gift him with a full samurai suit of armor, presented by Sensei's Rudd and Pryzbilla. The Party followed at the El Zagel Shrine with a live band and pizza! Jefferson Elementary again invited us to provide instruction for their Mini-Lesson Program on Feb 19th and 26th. Tim Little helped Senseis Lambert and Ficek show the kids how Judo is done. Sensei Jana (Seaborn) Daueber organized a Gentle Ways Clinic with Sensei Frances Glaze on May 15th, 2010. This all-day clinic centered upon Nage No Kata and Katame No Kata from an Internationally recognized competitor and judge with years of experience. Her third clinic in Fargo, Sensei Glaze did not disappoint with an excellent teaching style and comprehensive coverage of intricate material. Sensei Ficek and Nigk G. attended the event and had fun at the socials afterwords. The USJF covered a portion of the cost with a generous grant and Gentle Ways, as usual, made the whole clinic possible. June saw the return of the Roughrider Judo Introduction to Judo for Juniors class with our largest ever--47 students! Many returning students were in attendance for the month-long event. Ben and Erich helped considerably with the large number of students, and Steve, Tim, Jesse, and Veronica and even Jory helped some! Jory had to return to Dickinson from Bismarck to participate! The Teddy Bear Shiai on July 1st was a huge success . Brand New Adult student Steve H. helped on scoreboard along with others listed above. August saw Shiai return to Fargo at long last. MSUM Gentle Ways hosted the Gentle Ways Invitational on the 14th, and Roughrider Judo organized a referee clinic with Dean Markovics, IJF-B Referee to coincide with the event. Sensei David Allen of Billings and Jason also graciously helped the event to be a success. Many Gentle Ways Sensei tested for their local Referee certification. Roughrider Judo had Sensei Nick Lambert, Nick G, Ben, Nick L, and Jesse all competing, With Sensei Lambert and Sensei Ficek Refereeing as well. Ben took third in heavyweight. Nick Lambert took 3rd in middleweight, and Nick Larson landed third in Open. The Martial Arts Academy of Billings hosted it's fall open again this year, on Oct 9th. Sensei Allen was again joined by Sensei Dean Markovics, now an IJF-A Referee to host this small but engaging shiai. While many of Roughrider Judo's students intended to go, only Nick Larson made the trek, placing 3rd for his efforts! Sensei Nick placed 1st, and also took home the SportsmanShip Award! Sensei Ficek Spent the morning refereeing the competitive matches. We also met some new friends from both the Montana and the Williston, ND Judo family. We hope to stay in touch with them in the future. Our annual Frozen Tundra Tournament was held Jan 15th, 2011 at the DHS wrestling room. The weather the day of the event was tolerable, but the days surrounding it were terrible, so it really lived up to it's name this year. This was the first sanctioned and open tournament we've done, but travel inhibited attendance. Still, there were 15 competitors in attendance, including Brave Soul Ross Gottfried from MSUM Gentle Ways in Moorehead, and Sensei's Nysether and Zerr from Bismarck. Roughrider Judo saw the return of Founding Member Randy Raassch, who put on his gi and put aside his aikido moves to try some judo! Cody Weflen was also in town after nearly a year's absence, and joined in on practices and the competition. Regular members included Erich, Big Nick G., Ben, Steven P., Dave H., Steve H., James, Jay and Nigel. We placed a "featherweight" and "heavyweight" division and ran an "Open". "featherweight" 3rd Nigel Sims 2nd Steve Hoerner 1st Nick Lambert Heavyweight 3rd Ben Christensen 2nd Erich Bartz 1st Ross Gotfried Open 3rd Ken Nysether 2nd Ben Christensen 1st Ross Gotfried February 5, 2011 brought Kangeiko, hosted by Bismarck Gentle Ways Judo. Sensei Lambert, Ficek and Ben Christenson journeyed thru the usual bad weather to the event. Training started with "5,000 forms of O Soto Gari" by Sensei Borgen and continued with ne waza from senseis Joe Killion and Ross Gotfried of MSUM. After lunch and the annual meeting of the Gentle Ways Board, Sensei Lambert presented a living freezeframe referee clinic, and Senseis Jones and Scott followed with more ne waza. The social was at the holiday Inn and was teeming with children! Welcome to Sensei Dane Ankeny, with the newest Gentle Ways addition! Minnewaska Gentle Ways Judo is now a part of Gentle Ways and open in the Alexandria, MN region. February also brought the return of Jefferson Elementary Mini-lessons on the 11th and 17th. Sensei Lambert and Sensei Ficek again volunteered time to present Judo to the kids. April 16, 2011 was the 43rd annual Northglenn Judo Tournament in Colorado. Work prevented Ben from competing at the last minute, but Sensei's Ficek and Lambert carpooled with Sensei Ross Gottfried of the MSUM Gentle Ways Dojo to the event. Sensei Lambert competed in Senior advanced and Masters, while Sensei Gotfried competed in only Seniors. Sensei Ficek was thrust into refereeing Seniors, including the Elite division, And then he and Sensei Lambert refereed the juniors divisions. Both were promoted to Regional Referees. Sensei Nysether and Sensei Zerr of Bismarck Gentle Ways came to Dickinson May 14th for an all-day seminar. Ben, Tall Nick, Rachel and newcomer Travis made the full clinic. Big Nick and Veronica attended the afternoon. Tom, a Student at Bismarck with a varied martial arts background, was Uke and provided insights on various aspects he's encountered in other martial arts. The gathering grew at Sensei Lambert's afterword, with camaraderie and burgers all around. Many Thanks to the Bismarck Sensei for some great instruction! June 2nd was the first day of 2011's Introduction to Judo for Juniors month-long class. We had 44 participants this year,including three parents. Our Advanced students (now that we finally have junior orange belts) met on Monday nights as well as attending the traditional Tuesday and Thursday nite classes for the white belts thru 3rd degree yellow belts. Next year we hope to have even more Orange belts on the mat! Special thanks to Adult Class Students who volunteered their time to help this year, including Erich, Ben, Steven P.,Big Nick G.,Tall Nick L.,Rachel, Nigel, Brian O., and Brian M. Class ended June 30th in the Teddy Bear Tournament with two divisions of competition divided by age groupings. This year, we moved our competition to the Gym for more space and visibility. Each division had Three weight categories of competition with the following results: Younger Division: Bears 1st Josie Messer 2nd Lacey Heim 3rd Emily Hirschfeld Lions 1st Tyson Praus 2nd Devon Murray 3rd Logan Lambert Tigers 1st Cullen Murphy 2nd Houston Crimmins 3rd Warrick Morel Older Division: Falcons 1st Emily Keller 2nd Tiffany Legler 3rd Steena Larsen Hawks 1st MaKaya Heim 2nd Isaac Ellerkamp 3rd Bailey Decker Eagles 1st Matthew Meschke 2nd Kirsta Renner 3rd Declan Murphy Special Thanks to Wrestling Coach Bruce Hepner and the DHS Wrestlers for helping set up the mats for the tournament. The Second Annual Gentle Ways Invitational Tournament was held at the Red River Dojo on Aug 27th this year. It featured a morning ne waza clinic with Sensei Dean Markovics, who then was head referee for the shiai. Sensei's Ficek and Lambert reffed, And Sensei Lambert competed, placing third in his division. Big Nick G., Mike and Nigel attended the clinic. Dakota and Ryan were in both the clinic and the Shiai, with Ryan placing first in his division as a white belt! Nigel intended to compete, but an injury sidelined him prior to competition. With luck, Sensei Markovics will be out again in the future, as he relocated to Pittsburgh from Butte in the middle of this tournament! Francis Glaze returned to Fargo again this fall for a Kata-and-kids class clinic. Sensei's Ficek and Lambert made the trek as it is always worth it. This also co-incided with Sensei Borgens' farewell to his Japanese Garden party as he finalized his move to the Black Hills. Jan 7, 2012 saw the Frozen Tundra tournament in Dickinson getting local Press coverage with Ulsbold throwing Dakota as the main picture. Ross G. and Jeff Glander traveled out to compete from Fargo, Sensei Zerr from Bismarck reffed, and Matt and Brian from Williston's club competed and reffed as well. The Frozen Tundra Tournament drew a crowd of spectators and 12 competitors this year. Lightweight division: 3rd Ulsbold Enkhbold Roughrdier Judo 2nd Ryan Fink Roughrider Judo 1st Jeff Glander MSUM/Red River Dojo Heavyweight division: 3rd Shad Knopik Roughrider Judo 2nd Ben Christensen Roughrider Judo 1st Ross Goddfread MSUM/Red River Dojo Open Division: 3rd Tie Nick Guerrero/Nick Lambert Roughrider Judo 2nd Ben Christensen Roughrider Judo 1st Ross Gottfread MSUM/Red River Dojo The Year of the Dragon (2012) brought St Cloud Gentle Ways hosting Kangeiko with guest Sensei's Professor Rick Clark of Founder of Ao Denkou Jitsu, Brent Balfanz, 7th Dan Ao Denkou Jitsu and TKD, and Mark Larson 5th Dan Iwama Aikido. Host Sensei's Sam Rudd and Jeff Przybilla presented a judo self-defense kata. That much talent produced a day of fun that will last people a lifetime--but they will want more tomorrow! Sensei's Lambert and Ficek attended with Ben, Steven P., Nick G., Nick L., Nigel, Bryan O., Rachel, Ryan, Shad, and Paul. Even Jory made an appearance from Bismarck. Jefferson Elementary had mini-lessons again this year, With Sensei's Nick and Jeff demonstrating for 14 students. Sensei's Nick and Jeff were unable to make it to Northglenn this year, and Ryan Fink injured himself days before he was to leave. Maybe next year! Our Introduction to Judo for Juniors in 2012 saw 54 kids signed up, with 52 completing the course, most passing into their next belt! Erich, Ben, Big Nick, Steven P, Tall Nick, Rachel, Ryan, Shad, and Merrill all helped regularly. Visiting Black Belt Sensei Billy also lent a hand. Past judoka Josh Hecker and Shad's son, Mike also helped at the Teddy Bear Tournament on June 28th, along with several parents of our students. "Cool Kids" Bears Division
  • 3rd Place Gracie
  • 2nd Place Anika
  • 1st Place Campbell
Lions Division
  • 3rd Place Alexander
  • 2nd Place Lacey
  • 1st Place Isabelle
Tiger Division
  • 3rd Place Noah
  • 2nd Place Payton
  • 1st Place Houston
"Smart Kids" Eagles Division
  • 3rd Place Jack
  • 2nd Place Warrick
  • 1st Place Cullen
Falcons Division
  • 3rd Place Dallen
  • 2nd Place Wyatt
  • 1st Place Griffen
Hawks Division
  • 3rd Place Gabrielle
  • 2nd Place Bailey D.
  • 1st Place Cole
Ravens Division
  • 3rd Place Presley
  • 2nd Place Kirsta
  • 1st Place Matthew
The Independence Day Clinic on the 7th of July* featured Sensei Vern Borgen, 6th Dan and founder of Gentle Ways. This detailed clinic concentrated on little tweaks making techniques effortless, and especially focused on kazushi. Sensei's Nysether, Zerr and Mormon drove down from Bismarck for the event. Erich made it for half the clinic, but Big Nick, Ben, Steven P., Shad and Merrill were there for the whole affair. The day ended with some small burgers at Sensei Lambert's along with good company and a ton of other good food. (*The Solomon Islands celebrated their independence form Great Britain on the 7th of July) July 21st opened to the Big Sky State Games in Montana. These games were opened to ND participants this year in Judo. Sensei Dave Allen was the co-ordiantor for the tournament in Billings. Shad Knopik made the trek with Sensei's Lambert and Ficek, and placed 2nd in his division. The Sensei's reffed at the event. (special note. congratulations to Sensei Allen on his elevation to class C ref this Spring!) The 3rd annual Gentle Ways Invitational was on Aug 25 in 2012. The morning opened with a clinic of reffing from Sensei's Lambert and Ficek, and more information on competing from Head Sensei Vern Borgen. Ben, Ryan, Rachel, Shad and Paul all competed as well as attended the clinic. Guest Sensei Billy Gilbert attended the clinic and helped run tables and ref. A great time was had after starting at Sensei Dave Scott's house. Despite the light being left on by Rachel, everyone survived the event! This small tournament had three weight divisions, and an “open” or all challengers division. Over 20 people competed. Light weight:
  1. Paul Knopik—Roughrider Judo Club Dickinson
  2. Jacob Hermes—Red River Dojo Fargo
  3. Gio Leyes—Red River Dojo Fargo
Middle weight
  1. Erik Jones—Red River Dojo Fargo
  2. Nick Lambert—Roughrider Judo Club Dickinson
  3. Dane Ankeny—Lake Minnewaska Gentle Ways Judo Club, MN.
Heavy weight
  1. Ross Godfried—Moorehead State Gentle Ways judo Club, MN
  2. Shad Knopik—Roughrider Judo Club, Dickinson
  3. Ben Christensen—Roughrider Judo Club
  1. Erik Jones—Red River dojo, Fargo
  2. Dane Ankeny—Lake Minnewaska Gentle Ways Judo, MN
  3. Eric Halverson—Moorehead State Gentle Ways Judo Club, MN
The Frozen Tundra Tournament took place on Jan 12, 2013 following a huge blizzard that never was.  Despite the tricky driving, Ross Gottfried brought to judoka from Fargo, and Three of the Bismarck Gentle Ways Dojo made the event.  12 Competitors competed in all.  Sensei Billy and Nysether helped Ref, while Sensei Andy competed. Lightweight: 1  Ryan Fink--Roughrider Judo 2  Steve Zerr--Bismarck GW 3 Dave Klier--MSUM   Heavyweight: 1  Andy Powell--guesting at Roughrider Judo 2  Ross Gottfried--MSUM 3  Shad Knopik--Roughrider judo   Open: 1  Andy Powell--guesting at Roughrider Judo 2  Ross Gottfried--MSUM 3  Ryan Fink--Roughrider Judo   Additionally, Rachel, Sensei Nick, Paul, Tall Nick competed, while Sensei Ficek reffed.  Sidelined Judoka "Three Shido" Steve and Big Nick helped run score and time.   February 9th of 2013 brought Gentle Ways, Inc.s' annual Kangeiko, hosted by Red River Gentle Ways in Fargo.  The great day of training and the evening social at the Gastropub was capped by a ferocious blizzard, that some squeaked out before and saw some stuck in Fargo for an extra day.  It also co-incided with the sad passing of Sensei Fukuda.  Sensei Lambert and Ficek attended with Ben, Tall Nick and Merrill. Sensei's Lambert and Ficek were accompanied by Ryan at both sessions of Jefferson Elementary's mini-lessons this year.  And Heart River Elementary chose to start mini-lessons this year, and asked us to be one of the presenters.  Merrill was able to stop and help at the one-day event. April the 27th brought the Martial Arts Academy of Billings Invitational tournament--moved this year from the Fall to it's "new" Spring digs.  Sensei Ficek refereed, and Ryan competed, placing first over stiff competition--including his first visually impaired competitor, Mr Deese.  The tournament featured few adult competitors this year, but quite a lot of juniors.   In May, Roughrider Judo expanded it's "Introduction to Judo for Juniors" program by having the orange belts attend the first half of the adult classes on Mondays, prior to the juniors program starting in June on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Twelve of our 13 eligible advanced belts attended the May classes.  The full program in June expanded to 62 juniors this year, with 61 completing the course.  Our Teddy Bear Tournament on July 2nd saw an expansion of divisions for size, but also the addition of an "advanced' competition for the upper belts, run as a "Last Man Standing" event. Hawks division 3rd place   Hunter 2nd place   Kirsta 1st place   Gabrielle Falcons Division 3rd place  Cody 2nd Place Phillip 1st place Jayden Eagles Division 3rd place Nate 2nd Place  Cullen 1st Place  Warrick Yaks Division 3rd place Izzy 2nd Place Anika 1st place  Houston Tigers Division 3rd place Benett 2nd place  Bryce 1st place Raeghyn Lions Division 3rd place Dylan 2nd place  Charlie 1st place  Navaeh Bears Division 3rd place  Andrew 2nd place  Adalan 1st place  Chasity Advanced "Last Man Standing" division Undefeated:    Matthew   July 20th The Montana State Games ("Big Sky State Games") was hosted again by the Martial Arts Academy of Billings under Sensei Dave Allen.   This year it was in the new Huntley Project High School in Worden.  That was Sensei Lambert's High Scho0l (however, his burnt down in 2009, so it didn't feel like a homecoming to Sensei Lambert!).  Ryan Competed while Sensei Ficek and Lambert Refereed, placing 2nd in his division.  Wyatt and Austin Emond, Layton Lambert and Josie Messer also competed, each placing in their division against juniors with much more experience!  Congratulations to each of them!   Ryan Fink competed at the Red River Open on Aug 24, placing 2nd in his division.  An injury put Ben on the sidelines watching, while Sensei Ficek gave a brief seminar and reffed the event.   Skookum came to Billings, Mt on Nov 9th.  This multi-event competition features diverse venues like Fencing, Judo and Cross-fit and weightlifting.  Sensei Dave Allen hosted the Judo tournament portion, and Ryan Fink checked out the competition, placing 1st in the event beating a black belt that had him by 40 pounds!  Junior Judo students Ryder and Josie competed to help fill out the roster, even without having done judo since July, with Ryder placing 2nd and Jodie winning the Heart Award.  Watch for this event to return next year! November also happens to be the 10th Birthday of Roughrider Judo club!  Check out some of the faces that have passed through (or stayed!) over the years at a party at Sensei Lambert's. The Frozen Tundra lived up to it's name, bringing A hyped winter storm and -10 below temps to a 50mph wind day for the 4th day of January in the new 2014. Still, Bismarck Gentle Ways brought 4 competitors and spectators to the event, and Willistons' small dojo supplied two competitors.  Roughrider Judo competitors included Sensei Nick, Sensei Andy Powell, Ben, Ryan, Rachel, Matthew, Daniel and Aaron.   There were 15 total competitors, While Pineapple Dave, Steven Pollstad, and Tim my-gi-is-wet Little manned the score tables, Making everything run smoothly.  Sensei Ficek Reffed.   Lightweight Division: Ryan Fink Steve Zerr  BGW Nick Lambert  First Place   Heavyweight Division: Greg Iwaasa  BGW Ben Christenson Andy Powell  First Place   Open: Brad Watterud  BGW Greg Iwaasa  BGW Andy Powell First Place Also the sad Farewell to Bryan Otremba at the after-party.  He is moving to Wyoming and his presence and conversation will be missed.   Ryan was out with an injury, but Ben, Tim, Tall Nick, Rachel, Daniel and Aaron and Brandon all ventured to Kangeiko with Sensei's Lambert and Ficek Feb 1st.  Lake Minnewaska Gentle Ways hosted the second Year of the Horse, with Sensei's Scott and Jones; Sensei Borgen, Sensei Ankeny and Sensei Mark Larsen instructing throughout the day.  Space Aliens provided some off-the-mat visiting and beverage. Jefferson Elementary had mini-lessons in March this year, with both Erich and Dan helping Sensei Ficek and Sensei Lambert some judo.  Also in March, Sensei Lambert and Sensei Andy decided to do more of a physical judo workout session to prepare for Nationals in Reno, Nevada.  So, the occasional Sunday evening workout session started up, for one to two hourse when the wrestling room is open. The Martial Arts Academy of Billings held its annual tournament on April 26th, renamed in honor of Karlo Fujiwara.   Sensei Ficek went to referee, while Erich Bartz and rokkyu Aaron Robertson competed.  Erich placed, and Aaron tied for 3rd in his division. On May 2nd, while Sensei Nick and Andy started competition at judo Nationals in Reno, Tall Nick, Steven, Ryan and Rachel helped Sensei Ficek present mini-lessons at Heart River Elementary.   Sensei Nick found no one in his weight/age division at Nationals on May 3rd and 4th, but put in two exhibition matches against a couple fellows from the brackets above and below him.  Sensei Andy Powell competed in his weight in Seniors, Open and Masters, placing 2nd in Masters.  Congratulations! May 27th was the date for our gi sizing, followed by the Roughrider Judo Mudansha Meeting..  Steven, Ryan, Erich and Ben helped size gis, and were joined by Rachel and Tim at the meeting.  A seasonal second night of judo as a workout only was discussed amongst other items.   May 29th was the return of the Introduction to Judo for Juniors, with 63 juniors signed up.  Ben, Ryan, Steven, and Tall Nick were on hand to help.  Matthew helped on the next night.   Shad joined in with his family after vacation, and Rachel pitched in too.  Our Advanced program expanded again, to include the month of July as well as May for Upper Belts.   June 7th, Roughrider Judo hosted Sensei Adam Blackburn of Salt Lake City's All Stars Judo for an all day clinic.  It was opened to all juniors for the morning, and adults and advanced juniors for the afternoon.  A Wonderful seminar with many focused techniques were  presented.  Erich, Ben, Ryan, Rachel, Matthew, and Aaron all attended the seminar, along with people from Miles City, Mt; Red River Dojo; Bismarck Gentle Ways; and Special guest of honor Founding Sensei Vern Borgen.  Roughrider Judo Juniors Charlie, Lane, Parker,Anika, Morghan, and Hugo attended the morning, while Advanced Phillip, James, Eve and Blaze attended all day.   Tim and Steven made it to the after-social at Sensei Lambert's house, as well as Merrill. July 1st was the Teddy Bear Tournament, the end to the novice juniors class. Our littlest judoka do "sumo" for the tournament, and had three weight divisions: Bears (lightweight): Third place: Cash Second place: Chloe First place: Devin Lions (middleweight): Third place: Aiden R. Second place: Parker First place: Bryce Tigers (heavyweight): Third place: Kael Second place: Hugo First place: Bennett Our older Juniors do modified Tournament rules, and due to testing, the upper belts are handicapped, working DOWN to the level of the lower belts they fight. Eagles(lightweight): Third place; Thomas Second place: Anika First place: Cullen Falcons (middleweight): Third place: Caleb Second place: Eve First place; Lane Hawks (heavyweight): Third place: Declan Second place: Bailey First place: Gabby Our Advanced Juniors compete with modified tournament rules, but go full out with all techniques at their disposal: Marmot (lightweight) Division: Third place: Eve Second place; James First place; Cullen Yaks (heavyweight) Divsion: Third place; Kirsta Second place: Declan First place; Presley Our Teddy Bear Tournament had 57 competitors on three mats. Everyone did great! Special thanks to Rent All of Dickinson for donating the use of a big screen monitor for score, to Merrill for Medic services and Japanese names, and to our students Erich, Ben, Steven, Ryan, Rachel, Pineapple Dave, Shad, Merrill, Brandon, Brandon's wife Heather, and Nestor for all the help, as well as Ruth and Mary for their tireless efforts! July 19 was the date of the Big Sky Games in Huntly, Montana.  Ryan competed, winning first in a full bracket were he was the smallest!  Sensei Martin Bergman was there to conduct a Referee and Coach seminar, where Sensei Ficek learned a lot and certified to the next level of coach. August 30th was the "Black Ops" clinic. Sensei Nick designed and "planned" a surprise judo clinic in Sensei Vern Borgen's yard in South Dakota. In attendance were Sensei's Jeff F., Ken Nysether, Steve Zerr, Jeff Mormon, and teh last minute surprise of Sean Decker! Sensei Borgen was duly surprised and pleased with this chance to do judo! Red River judo moved it's annual Shiai from August to Sept 20th, but we still had a large number of competitors from Roughrider able to attend. Ben, Andy, Tanner, Boley, Lan, Nestor and Emery made the trip. The Tournament had three senior male divisions, a full women's division with five competitors, and a juniors division with around 12 entries. Roughrider Judo swept the heavyweight Division, with Andy placing First, Boley Second and Ben Third. Nestor placed Third in the Middleweight Division. Tanner took Second in Lightweight. Sensei Nick competed and Reffed along with Sensei Ficek.   November 22nd saw the return of competitive Judo to Bismarck's Gentle Ways with a Junior's-only tournament.   Sensei's Zerr and Iwaasu put together a nice event with Everret manning the sore tables solo!  Red River Dojo. Bismarck Gentle Ways and Roughrider Judo competed, with Jayden taking first in his division. Sensei Ficek reffed.   January 10th of 2015 brought another Frozen Tundra Tournament in Dickinson.  Opened to Junior Competitors for the first time, the tournament had 24 Judoka in both Senior and Junior divisions. As a special Treat, Gentle Ways Judo Founder Sensei Vern Borgen drove up from South Dakota to Officiate.  Bismarck Gentle Ways, Williston Judo Academy, and Sydney Tendo all joined Roughrider judo to compete. Juniors Ultra-lightweight 2nd place Gabe (Bismarck Gentle Ways) 1st place Kojen (Bismarck Gentle Ways) Juniors Lightweight 3rd place Sully (Bismarck Gentle Ways) 2nd Place Louis (Bismarck Gentle Ways) 1st place Gabrielle (Bismarck Gentle Ways) Juniors Welterweight* 3rd place Joseph (Bismarck Gentle Ways) 2nd place Casey (Sydney Tendo) 1st place Tanner(Roughrider Judo) Juniors Heavyweight* 3rd place Shawn(Sydney Tendo) 2nd place draw Nik L. and Matt (Roughrider Judo) Seniors Lightweight 3rd place Ryan(Roughrider Judo) 2nd place Tanner(Roughrider Judo) 1st place Greg (Bismarck Gentle Ways) Senior Heavyweight 3rd place Sensei Nick(Roughrider Judo) 2nd place Lan(Roughrider Judo) 1st place Andy (Roughrider Judo) Open 3rd place Ryan (Roughrider Judo) 2nd place Lan (Roughrider Judo) 1st place Andy (Roughrider Judo) Women's 1st place Brandi (Bismarck Gentle Ways) *These divisions had senior rank competing down to junior level to provide opponents. Special Thanks to Steven P, Matt and Pineapple Dave for helping Set up and clean up.  To Nik Larsen for Filming.  Nik, Ryan, David, Matt, Tanner, Aaron, Lan and Jayden and Logan all competed along with Andy and Sensei Nick.  Sensei Ficek Reffed.    As always, an extra special thanks to Ruth and Mary for the party setup and damage control.   February 7th of 2015 brought a special Kangeiko.  Roughrider judo hosted Gentle Ways' 20th!  David Garig provided artwork for the Shirts and also custom-made special Gentle Ways logo ceramic Mugs himself, for The Guest instructor and Sensei Borgen to commemorate the event.  Sensei Guy Hagen, of Aikido Chuseikan of Tampa Bay (Florida) was the special Guest instructor for the day, along with his Ukes Barry Engh and Meredith Abel.  Sensei Hagen is one of Sensei Ficek's Oldest Friends, and Start Judo With him under Sensei Vern Borgen back in 1987.  He gave his first seminar for Bismarck Gentle Ways 10 years ago, and then that same year participated in a two-day Seminar at Roughrider judo as Uke For his Sensei, John Messores.  So, his return was a special treat in several regards.  He brought training in multiple attackers to the fore, with and without weapons.  Nearly 50 people were training on the mat, including students from every Gentle Ways Dojo and Sensei Mark Larson's Aiki Shuren Aikido School.  Ben, Steven P., Nick Larson, Ryan, David, Tanner, Brandon and Jesse All attended and helped in making Kangeiko a wonderful day.  The meal that evening was at the Fargo Billiards and Gastropub and fed nearly 80 people. The following Wednesday, Feb. 11, Sensei Hagen presented a mini-clinic for Roughrider Judo.  In addition to Senseis Ficek and Hagen, Emery, Erich, Ben, Steven, Tall Nik, Ryan, Brandon, Tanner, Storm, Merrill (and family!), Josh anf Jesse all attended.  Even Rachel stopped by and "worked out for two" for a bit!   Jefferson Elementary hand their mini-lessons start again this year on Feb 20th.  Sensei Ficek was accompanied by Tall Nik, Ryan and Merrill in the first round of lessons!  Round two was the following Friday, and again Tall Nik and Ryan were on hand to help Sensei Ficek and Sensei Lambert.  A round of illness reduced the second class by over half, so all the participants had a lot of coaching!  Anika was on hand both classes from our Juniors program, and helped Sensei Ficek demonstrate the first day of lessons.   Tall Nik, Emory, Tanner, Aaron, Lan and Jayden all competed at the Karlo Fujiwara Memorial Taekwondo & Judo Tournament  Saturday, April 18th.  Erich came along to video and Sensei Ficek reffed. It was a large tournament for the area, and every Roughrider judo competitor placed! Emory--1st place Tall Nick --3rd place
Lan--1st place Jayden--2nd place Tanner--1st place Aaron--3rd place   on May 11th, Sensei Steve Zerr along with Maryse and AJ from Bismarck Gentle Ways took the time to attend class at Roughrider Judo.  Sensei Zerr conducted an examination of Ben Christiansen and Erich Bartz in the Nage No Kata, and judged their abilities acceptable for advancement.  After completing his randori portion of test later that evening, Ben was promoted to Shodan.  Erich will continues testing toward his, but this marks the first Shodan from Roughrider Judo Club since it's inception. May28th saw the start of the Introduction to Judo for Juniors class, with 55 students this year.  Ben, Steven, Ryan, David all helped at the gi sizing and attended the Mudansha meeting afterword.  During the month long class, those, plus Lan and Merrill helped out many days.  Erich made it to one class to assist.  Presley participated in the class when she could.  The Advanced (orange and above) members of the Juniors class will continue for July and August on Mondays if they choose. July 2nd saw the Teddy Bear tournament and the end of the Intro to Judo for Juniors for 2015! Advanced Juniors orange belt and above (including new ones!) may continue Monday nights, 7:00-8:300 for July and August! Anyone 12 or older who earned a belt may also join the adult class, which goes year-round. A special thanks to our adult students who coached and cleaned up! Ben, Steven, Ryan, David, Merrill, Presley, Jayden, and Lan. Also, Thanks to Bismarck Gentle Ways Judo for the extra competitors!
  Teddy Bear tournament results: Little Group 1 Lightweight Bears Third Place Tolga Second Place Kaden First Place Wyatt
Middleweight Lions Third Place Chloe Second Place Brynlee First Place Jace Heavyweight Tigers Third Place Cash Second Place Andrew First Place Ryder Big Group 2 Lightweight Eagles Third Place Bowen Second Place Bryce First Place Louis * Middleweight Falcons Third Place Anika Second Place Raghyn First Place Madi Heavyweight Hawks Third Place Jayden Second Place Declan Third Place Matthew Advanced Lightweight Marmots Third Place Blaze Second Place Sully * First Place Louis * Heavyweight Yaks Third Place Declan Second Place Jayden First Place Matthew *From Bismarck Gentle Ways Dojo   July 18th was the date of congratulations to Ryan on his first place win at Montana's Big Sky Games! Ryder also competed in a stiff category. Further Congrats to Sensei Nick for passing his Regional Ref exam under Sensei Martin Bregman!  Sensei Ficek also completed the regional exam. In July, Ryan Fink took on the responsibility of a workout session for Roughrider judo on Sunday Nites, open to orange belts and above.  We will gauge the attendance of this pilot nite for interest through the summer and see if it thrives.
August 29th Sensei Vern Borgen presented a short clinic on Uchi Ashi Sasae and Koshiki no Kata.  This was in conjunction with the celebratory party for Ben's Shodan acquired in May, and Anticipating Erich's work to achieving his.   Attending the clinic were Sensei Zerr with amryse and gabby and Louis from Bismarck Gentle Ways, Plus Sensei's Jeff and Nick, Andy, Ben, Erich, Steven P, Ryan, Matt, Tanner, And Juniors Eve, Blaze, Josie and Ryder. For two weeks in September, Roughrider judo lost use of the wrestling room due to CPR classes.  The first monday nite was held in Sensei Ficek's backyard, where we worked on training techniques for one-the-road and dojo-less judoka. Then, on September  26th, Red River held it's annual tournament.  While smaller than last year, the competition for both juniors and adults was good.  Dickinson sent Ryder, Ryan, Tanner and Andy, with Sensei Ficek Hosting a ref clinic and reffing.  Ryder and Tanner placed 3rd in their divisions (though Tanner fell asleep during his match).  Andy placed first in his, plus the open.  A good time was held afterwords at Sensei Jone's. November 21st saw the return of the Capitol City Open with their second consecutive tournament.  This was held at Dorothy Moses Elementary School in Bismarck which was a nice roomy venue.  The tournament went international, with the inclusion of competitors from Canada and Billings, Mt.  Red River sent Samantha out to compete in the Women's division, and Roughrider judo had a light showing with Sensei Ficek Reffing and Ryan and Ryder competing.  Ryder scored 2nd in his division, and Ryan took 2nd in his division and third in the open. 2016 opened with the usual Frozen Tundra Tournament.  Jan 9th was the date for Josh Jahner, Ryan, Pineapple Dave, Sensei Nick and Ryder to all compete.  Bismarck Gentle Ways' Maryse was a great help running scoreboard, along with Roughrider Judo's own "Three Shido" Steve, Chon and Erich.  Sensei Ficek was primary Referee.  Fargo provided no competition, but Bismarck Gentle Ways brought down a strong showing of Juniors and adults to the Shiai, and Williston sent a novice named Chris.  So we had 18 competitors this year.  After two divisions of adults and juniors, each division tried a "Last Man Standing" Open.  Once you won, you stayed out until defeated. Lightweight Juniors: Third Place:  Ryder from Roughrider Judo Second Place:  Gabriel from Bismarck Gentle Ways First Place:  Kojun from Bismarck Gentle Ways   Middleweight Juniors: Third Place:  Taylor from Bismarck Gentle Ways Second Place:  Sully from Bismarck Gentle Ways First Place:  Louis from Bismarck Gentle Ways   Last Man Standing Juniors: Third Place:  Ryder from Roughrider Judo Second Place:  Louis from Bismarck Gentle Ways First Place:  Sully from Bismarck Gentle Ways   Novice Senior: Third Place:  Erica from Bismarck Gentle Ways Second Place:  Josh  from Roughrider Judo First Place:  Chris from Williston Judo.   Advanced Senior: Third Place:  Ryan from Roughrider Judo Second Place:  Sensei Nick from Roughrider Judo First Place:  Sensei Greg from Bismarck Gentle Ways   Last Man Standing Senior: Third Place:  Sensei Nick from Roughrider Judo Second Place:  Everett from Bismarck Gentle Ways First Place:  Ryan from Roughrider Judo   Best Sportsmanship award went to a deserving young man from Bismarck Gentle Ways named Trey for the best display in a great tournament!   Saturday, February 13, Bismarck Gentle Ways hosted The year of the Monkey Kangeiko.  Sensei Adam Blackburn of Salt Lake City Judo presented at this all-day event.  Sensei's Ficek, Lambert, Andy and Ben all attended, along with Tall Nick, Ryan and Ryder, Tanner, Jesse and Ivan.  Tall Nick got to sit in on the Gentle Ways annual meeting, and a great time was had by everyone afterwords at the Fargo billiards and Gastro Pub.  This was a special year, as Fargo lost one of it's finest that week, and Gentle Ways members stepped up to donate over $200 to the slain Officer Moszer's family.   On two Fridays in February, the 19th and 26th, Roughrider Judo again demonstrated and taught at Jefferson Mini Lessons.  Sensei's Lambert and Ficek were joined by Ryan on both days, and by Chon on the first day and Pineapple Dave on the second.  23 kids showed great enthusiasm, and Baily was there from our Juniors Class to help coach as well! On a beautiful Thursday on March 24th, Sensei Ben and Pineapple Dave accompanied Sensei Ficek to Mott High School for a two-session, 4-hour mini-class.  We had more spectators than the 30+ students we instructed, especially after the first few demonstration throws on the third floor classroom we were in.   The Booming sound was carried throughout the school, and we were the hit as word traveled, identifying the cause of the noise! Sensei Ficek was out with an injury, so Novice Josh traveled to Billings alone to represent Roughrider judo and place 4th in his division on April 2nd. Professor Rick Clark of the Ao Denkou School sojourned to Western North Dakota on May 21st for the wonderfully  intense Painful Professor Seminar.  A day of pressure points and other fun nastiness lit up everyone's life, followed by fellowship at Sensei Ficek's that evening.  Sensei Brent Balfonz of Ao Denkou Monticello, and Sensei's Sam and Jeff And Mac and John of Gentle Ways St. Cloud brought 11 people from Minnesota, as well as the Bismarck dojo and Sensei Borgen, to join Roughrider's own Sensei Lambert, Senseis Andy and Ben, Erich, Steven, Ryan, Ryder, Pineapple Dave, Tanner, Jesse Ivan, Josh and Dave.  Pineapple Dave presented Prof. Clark with a handsome custom mug as a commemorative of his time with us. The 31st of May kicked of with gi sizing for the Introduction to Judo for Juniors class, with Sensei's Lambert, Ficek, Andy and Ben helping, assisted by Erich, Tall Nick, Ryan, Steven, Pineapple Dave, and Ryder.  We had 59 kids signed up this year.  As usual, Beginners classes are Tues-Thursdays for June, with Advanced Juniors attending one of those, plus Monday nights.  Later, all those Mudansha held their annual meeting, which covered so much ground it will require a second meeting soon.   June 30th was the date for the Teddy Bear Tournament.  Nearly all 55 kids competed from the Introduction to Judo for Juniors class, along with guests from the Bismarck Gentle Ways Dojo.  In addition to Sensei's Nick and Jeff, Sensei Ben helped every single class along with Steven and Ryan.  Pineapple Dave made nearly every class, and Erich made one.   That same crew was present at the tournament, with Ryan donating the use of a big screen tv for main scoreboard from Rent All.  Ruth took pictures, and Mary and Trisha did the hard work of gi returns and t-shirt sales. Bears division, group 1 Third Place:  Joseph Second Place:  Tolga First Place:  Marek   Lions Division, group 1 Third Place:  Chloe Second Place:  Ryder First Place:  Cash   Tigers Division, group 1 Third Place:  Brenna Jo Second Place:  Andrew First Place:  Devin   Eagles Division, group 2 Third Place:  Deniz Second Place:  Hannah First Place:  Holly   Falcons Division, group 2 Third Place:  Luke Second Place:  Owen First Place:  Bryce   Hawks Division, group 2 Third Place:  James Second Place:  Dallen First Place:  Kirsta   Marmot Division,  Advanced Third Place:  Bryce Second Place:  Taylor from Bismarck Gentle Ways First Place:  Louis from Bismarck Gentle Ways   Yaks Division, Advanced Third Place:  James Second Place:  Kirsta First Place:  Erika from Bismarck Gentle Ways   With a special thanks to Farley Sorkness (Deegan's Grandfather) for providing us with a microphone for this year's event! Montana's Big Sky Games has evolved into a truly Regional tournament, with competitors from Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah, and Idaho  July 16th the competition was fierce for Ryan, Ryder, Madison and Andy as Sensei Ficek refereed matches.  Sensei Allen and The Martial Arts Academy ran a great tournament again, and Ryan and Andy placed First, with Madison claiming Second in her division! The Black Hills Expeditionary Clinic of 2016 was held at Vern Borgens residence for Black belts.  Sensei's Ficek, Lambert, Andy, Ben, and Erich attended along with Senseis from St Cloud and Bismarck.  The day was a terrific instructional event. The Bismarck Open was this December, with Sensei Ficek Reffing, and Sensei Lambert, Erich, Colin and Tanner competing in the Senior Division, along with Marek in the Junior division.   A great time was had at this growing event!
The Frozen Tundra had a small but varied group of competitors yesterday, with Dickinson, Bismarck, Fargo and St Cloud represented!
The Results:
Youth Lightweight
3rd Marek (Roughrider)
2nd Jiro (Bismarck Gentle Ways)
1st Madison (Roughrider)
Youth Heavyweight
2nd Ryder (Roughrider)
1st Kojun (Bismarck Gentle Ways)
Senior Lightweight:
3rd Tory (St Cloud Gentle Ways)
2nd Ivan (Roughrider)
1st Mac (St Cloud Gentle Ways)
Senior Heavyweight:
3rd Everett (Bismarck Gentle Ways)
2nd Ross (Red River Dojo)
1st Andy (Roughrider)
Youth Open:
3rd Madison (Roughrider)
2nd Ryder (Roughrider)
1st Kojun (Bismarck Gentle Ways)
Senior Open:
3rd Everett (Bismarck Gentle Ways)
2nd Ross (Red River Dojo)
1st Andy (Roughrider)
Thanks to everyone for attending and making the day great and the competition greater! And Special Thanks to the Lambert Family for cooking up the great food for after!
February 4th saw nice travel weather to Fargo and the Red River Dojo for Kangeiko.  Sensei Borgen was able to instruct with Sensei Dane Ankeny of Lake Minnewaska Gentle Ways Judo despite some health issues.  Sensei Ficek updated everyone on the drastic new rules for competition as the day wound down.  Turnout was light at this years event overall and from Roughrider Judo, With Sensei's Ficek, and Lambert attending, along with Ryan, Ryder, and Colin.  However, the day of training was great, with a lot of one-on-one instruction and plenty of old faces to greet.  The meal at the Gastropub was fun as usual.  All of Gentle Ways kicked in, an d, in honor of Sensei Sam Rudd teaching judo for 40 years, awarded him a pair of handmade, clay-forged Katana and Wakizashi.   They also purchased a Tanto for each of the "three amigos", Sensei Rudd, Sensei Borgen, and Sensei Pryziblla.
February 10th and 24th marked the yearly return of Jefferson Elementary Mini-lessons.  Roughrider judo was there again with Sensei Lambert and Ficek, accompanied by Ryan both classes, and Dana at the first session.  @4 kids signed up between the two sessions.
The Mudansha Meeting was held early this year on May 22.
April 29th, Ryan and Colin traveled to Salt Lake City to compete in Judo nationals. while neither placed, it was a great time with a lot of good matches! June 1st was the kick off for the Introduction to Junior's class for 2017.  In addition to Ben, Erich, Steven, Pineapple Dave, Ryan, Colin, Ivan and Leslie helping instruct 47 kids, we had a surprise this season.  Erich had gotten a friend of his to sign their child up for class, and they happened to be in management at Clear Creek Plumbing.   They approached us about a donation/advertisement offer on behalf of Clear Creek.  In the end, they paid for the $15 entry fee for each child, and donated the remainder of the $1,500 check to the Club! We thank Clear Creek Plumbing for their sponsorship, and Erich for starting that ball rolling!
Teddy Bear Tournament results from June 29th: All Competitors from Roughrider Judo unless otherwise noted. Sumo: Bears: Third Place: Morgan Second Place: Alex T. First Place Jiro (Bismarck Gentle Ways)
Lions: Third Place: Gil Second Place: Josiah First Place: Keeton Tigers: Third Place: Logan H. Second Place: Camren First Place: Julio Group 2 Standing Techniques Only: Eagles: Third Place; Nick (Bismarck GW) Second Place: Alex M. First Place: Ryder Falcons: Third Place: Logan J. Second Place: Aiden First Place: Carter Hawks: Third Place: Adam Second Place: Dallen First Place; James Advanced Group--Full Judo Marmots: Third Place: Bryce Second Place: Ryder First Place: Chase (Bismarck GW) Yaks: Third Place; Dallen Second Place: Solly (Bismarck GW) First Place: James
July 15 returned the Big Sky Games of Billings Montana to the Huntley Project High School in Worden (it's a montana thing), under Sensei Dave Allen of the Martial Arts Academy, with National Referee Mike MaGraff of Helena and Senior Class A Referee Dr. Martin Bregmann of Oklahoma officiating.  This tournament was smaller for the second year running, but Roughrider had a strong showing with Sensei Ficek Reffing, and Ryan, Pineapple and Colin competing in Senior, and Ryder, Madison and Marek in juniors.
There was a single adult division, with Colin taking 1st, Ryan 2nd.  Ryder took third in his division, and Madison beat Marek for 3rd in theirs.
August 26th was the date for the Prometheus Primer at Roughrider judo in Dickinson. Sensei Borgen, ailing with Lung Cancer, gave a great clinic on the Gokyo ne Waza based on the precepts of Steve Cunningham. Also, Ryan completed his Shodan test with the Nage No Kata presented under the Yudansha of Gentle Ways, And Steven and Pineapple David each completed their test for ikkyu and nikyu respectively. Sensei Zerr and Tom from Bismarck attended, along with the surprise sideline appearance of Sensei Nysether. Red River dojo also sent a contingent of 4 with Sensei's Scott, Jones, Clint, Jeremy and Vinnie all partaking. Roughrider Judo had a good turnout with Ben, Erich from the sidelines, Ryan, Steven, Pineapple, Colin, Ivan, Ryder, James, Eve (the Unbreakable), and Leslie all joining Sensei's Ficek and Lambert. Andy missed as he was in Japan. There were three to St Cloud Gentle Way's Judo's presentation of 4 time Olympian and twice Bronze Medal winner Jimmy Pedro's clinic on Sept 16th. A Sparse turnout from Fargo and the cities made this an intense workout with lots of attention from the Coach to Stevens, Malloy, Rousey and Harrison. We will be incorporating training ideas for years to come from this single event. Sensei Pryzbilla and St Cloud did a great job making this happen. Sensei's Ryan, Lambert and Ficek all enjoyed our time there immensely. Sensei Borgen dropped in for a night of instruction during our regular classtime on Nov 20th. While it was a small class it was great one-on-one. The Frozen Tundra Tournament for 2018 was Saturday, Jan 13th. It lived up to it's name with a morning temp of -20 below zero without the wind chill. An undaunted few made the tournament. Sensei Ficek and Sensei Lambert reffed or competed. Sensei Christenson reffed and ran score table. Sensei's Powell and Fink competed and ran score or reffed. Tall Nick, Ivan, Ryder, Marek, Madison and Logan all competed. Bismarck's Sensei Zerr came to reff and run score, and Bismarck brought several juniors to compete. Williston sent Derek down to compete. Mary did a great job of food up at the Motel 6 conference room. Juniors Lightweight 3rd place Luke from Bismarck Gentle Ways 2nd place Hayden from Bismarck Gentle Ways 1st place Madison from Roughrider Judo Junior heavyweight 3rd place Nick and Kojun from Bismarck Gentle Ways (tie) 2nd place Ryder from Roughrider Judo 1st place Logan from Roughrider judo Senior Lightweight 2nd place Ivan from Roughrider Judo 1st place Ryan from Roughrider Judo Senior heavyweight 3rd place Nick L. from Roughrider judo 2nd place Nik K. from Roughrider Judo 1st place Andy from Roughrider Judo Open 3rd place Ivan from Roughrider Judo 2nd place Ryan from Roughrider Judo 1st place Andy from Roughrider Judo On January 26th, Sensei's Ficek, Lambert and Fink demonstrated judo at Jefferson Elementary Mini-Lessons with the aid of student and junior orange Belt Bailey. The year of the Dog saw St Cloud Gentle Ways hosting Kangeiko at the Red River Dojo. The T-shirt design this year was hand-painted by world famous calligrapher Tokusei Takahashi, as a special favor to Sensei Pryzabilla from Sensei Mark Larson. February 3rd was a small group in the middle of a blizzard, but great instruction from Torrence on a review of pedro's clinic, and Sensie przybillar going thru 13 forms of Harai. Guest Sensei Brent of Monteciello Ao Denku revisited pain for everyone. Sensei Ficek, Lambert, Christensen and Sempai Tall Nick were in attendance from Roughrider.