IRVING — Take a bow and take your opponent to the mat! Yeah, the USA Judo Junior Olympics Championship hit Irving this weekend.
“I was really nervous because this is only the second nationals that I’ve been to and I saw all the competitors and they looked really good out there so I just wanted to do my best and we all did really good,” said Toni Pepia, a competitor from Staten Island.
The tourney brought together youth fighters of all ages and from a wide variety of countries.
“We’ve had a really, really good experience here.” said a member of the team from Trinidad and Tobago, “It’s very organized here. We’d like to come back.”
While the sport is a fight, it’s not about punches and kick, but about making gravity your ally.
“A perfect throw, like maximum efficiency, minimum effort, when you throw and it just feels so good getting that full point.” said Toni, “I love that. That’s what I strive for every time.”
And in the end, it’s about the bonds that training and fighting together create.