Reopen Plans and Rash Guards!

Hello RRJ Family and Friends,First and foremost, we hope everyone is continuing to do well and stay safe in these trying times. The staff of Red River Judo has been discussing the current state of things and looking long term at what steps we should take to reopen. Our staff has decided on a phased approach to holding children and adult classes again.

Our initial approach will have a target start date of June 2nd with the following guidelines. Some of these guidelines are not new, but will be more strongly enforced.

  • Limited class sizes, Classes will be no more than 10 people.
  • Class participants will work with a single partner through class, ideally a family member or roommate if possible.
  • Partners will be given a designated part of the mat.
  • Mats will be disinfected after every class.
  • No Randori and limited Newaza.
  • Any student with signs of illness or being “a little under the weather” will be asked to leave class immediately.
  • Class participants entering the mat must wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer before they begin training.
  • Class participants are encouraged to shower before and after class
  • Class participants are encouraged to wear a clean Gi and Rash Guard for each class, which you should be doing anyway, but still.

If there is interest in training, but not in a class setting, we are now offering private training sessions for an additional fee. Please let us know if there are any concerns or questions about training again.

Also! If you ordered a Fuji Rashguard, they are in! We will have them at the gym on June 2nd, so even if you don’t want to train, please feel free to stop by and pick them up.

Warm Regards,
– The Red River Judo Staff

Sensei Vern Borgen, 1948 – 2020

On Wednesday May 13th the Red River Judo family received word that our Founder, Sensei Vern Borgen had passed away after his long battle with lung cancer. We, like many of his students and family, were stunned at this loss. Sensei Vern had been battling this terrible sickness for many years and had beaten the odds, along with Doctor’s prognoses, for some time. Even with the knowledge of Sensei Vern’s situation, and the limited time he had remaining, it did not make his passing any easier.

Red River Judo is just a small part of Sensei Vern’s Legacy in the sport and art of Judo, but as the current staff, we have spent the last few days discussing how best to honor him. Both Dave and Steven wrote several drafts of messages we could post, and none really felt right.

Steven read through Sensei Vern’s obituary several times and Dave thought back to conversations he had not only with Vern, but with Vern’s students and colleagues. What we found was that yes, Sensei Vern founded our gym, Red River Judo. Yes, he founded Gentle Ways, a non-profit organization with the goal of spreading the art of Judo. And even more than that, Sensei Vern helped to lay the foundation for Judo in the Midwest. All these things are true beyond doubt. However, what we found was more important then all of that was the man.

Everyone we talk too about Sensei Vern shares for a moment about his accomplishments and his legacy, but they transition to talking about the man. The stories he has, how kind he was, how even in illness Sensei Vern was still a teacher, always willing to share techniques and provide guidance to those who needed it.

No post or letter will truly encapsulate the man more then his own obituary, but what we can say is that he will be missed. His memory will live on through his students and the students of his students. The experiences he shared and the everything he did for those who came before him will be honored. We thank Sensei Vern and the entire Borgen family for their contributions to our lives and to the art of Judo. Rest well Sensei, and domo arigato gozaimashita