Thunder Bay
Judo Dojo

Subtitle

Patricia Vieira / Chief Instructor / Yondan (4th degree black belt)

Pat has been involved with the Thunder Bay Judo Dojo for over 22 years. She has a third degree black belt (sandan), an NCCP certified level 2 coach, and hold a Provincial A referee status. She recently retired after being employed with the City of Thunder Bay at City Homes for the Aged for 25 years. She started judo with her sons and remained at the club after her sons left and is a proud grandmother. She is currently the chief instructor of our dojo.

Sven Petzschler / Yondan (4th degree black belt)

Sven started judo in 1974 under sensei Merv King. With Mel Durand he formed the Ear Falls Samurai Judo club. Since that time he has competed in many regional and provincial tournaments. He is an NCCP level 1 certified judo coach and a Provincial A referee. He is active in the administration at the club level and served as the Northwest region’s board representative and regional director for 6 years. In his many years with the Thunder Bay Judo Dojo, and previously the Budokan Judo Club of Thunder Bay, he was coach to many competitors who have been Provincial Champions and competitors at the national and international level. Sven is married and has two daughters who were active in judo for many years.

Eric Boutin / Yondan (4th degree black belt)

Eric Boutin has been involved in Judo for over 30 years but has also studied karate (Yamanaka Kempo), aikido, aiki-jitsu and kendo but his passion is definitely with judo. He has his third degree black belt (sandan) and is an NCCP certified level 1 coach and a Provincial A referee in judo. He has been a member of the Thunder Bay Judo Dojo since 1994 when he moved from Red Lake to Thunder Bay. Married and the proud father of one son who was born the same year as he received his black belt. He is a professional mechanical engineer doing project management for a Thunder Bay consulting firm.

Steve Kruppa / nidan (2nd degree black belt)

Steve often acts as our club coach where we can benefit from his experience in competition in judo and other sports.

Mario Biron / shodan (1st degree black belt)

Mario started Judo in Dryden ON in 1983.  Since that time, he has had the opportunity to instruct and became a competitor for 12 years competing at a Provincial, National and as well International levels. Through his years of competition, he has achieved Provincial, National and International achievements awards. He also has been a gold medallist at the Canadian Junior National which gave him the opportunity to train with the National team and as being a member of the Ontario Judo team for 4 years. In his achievements, he has had the opportunity to be a nominee for the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame for Judo.  In 1991 he received his Shodan (1st degree black belt). For 4 years he was an instructor for the Vermillion Bay Judo club and is also a referee at the Provincial C level.  He has also attended various Judo clinics that were facilitated by former Canadian Olympians. Through the years he has been an integral part of the Thunder Bay Judo Dojo, and states that he has always had a high respect for this club. Though he no longer competes, he enjoys being a part of this club by instructing and fundraising. Now he watches his daughter Zoe that has been involved with the Thunder Bay Judo Dojo for the last three years and mentions that "seeing the great instructors and the family oriented environment makes me proud to be part of this club".

Todd Lafleur / Nidan (2nd degree black belt)

Todd is one of our recent black belts and has been running the summer program successfully. He has many years of competition experience up to the national level. He is an NCCP level 1 coach, and serves as the head coach for developing our competitive athletes.

Brian Hicks / shodan (1st degree black belt)

Brian also earned his first degree black belt recently. His father, currently a third degree black belt holder, encouraged Brian to try out the sport at the age of 6 while living in Tokyo, Japan. Since then, Brian has been actively training in many other clubs and has been privileged to be taught by some of Canada's and Japan's best judokas. Such clubs include Colchester Yawara Judo Club (Truro, Nova Scotia), Dubai Judo Kai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), Takahashi Dojo (Ottawa, Ontario), Sakamoto Judo Dojo (Thunder Bay, Ontario), and Kodokan Judo Institute (Tokyo, Japan). Brian has competed in dozens of tournaments and continues to participate in as many tournaments as he can during his busy school life at Lakehead University. He enjoys refereeing and coaching, but particularly takes pride in helping teach the younger judokas of the club.

Kevin Kennedy / Dearly missed, passed Chief Instructor / yondan (4th degree black belt)

Kevin Kennedy is dearly missed by all those at the club as he passed away in June 2011. During his stay with us he provided valuable guidance to the club members and to the club board. In his memory we have established an annual bursary that is awarded to a post-secondary student who also practices judo.


Introduced to Judo while attending Hammarskjold High School, Kevin was recruited to Lakehead University where he competed on the wrestling and judo teams. He won the GPAC Judo Championships and became the assistant coach under Ron Lappage. Teammates of the day included Canadian champion Mitch Kawasaki and Ron Hampson. He continued training at the Lakehead University Judo Club until it merged with the Budokan Dojo and ultimately evolved into the Thunder Bay Judo Dojo. He was the Chief Instructor of our dojo. He had credited his lessons and capacity learned as a judoka and its continued training in helping him in his career as a professional firefighter. He had retired at the rank of Captain after 30 years of service. In 2003 the City of Thunder Bay awarded him its Achievement Award for Distinguished Service to the Citizens of Thunder Bay. Kevin was the President of the Thunder Bay Martial Arts Council. He successfully had Thunder Bay designated the "Martial Arts Capital of Canada", which is recognized internationally.