Athlete of the week: Ron Muirhead

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Ron Muirhead is an 81-year-old Sensei of the Huntsville Judo Club who has been training in Judo since 1959. He received a six-degree black belt in 2006 which is worn as a red and white belt to represent a Masters rank.

Muirhead has promoted Judo for more than 35 years in every city he has lived in. He opened the Huntsville Judo Club in 1995 and now his son Chris Muirhead runs it, but Ron continues to train with his fellow Sensei and new young and adult members.

Before moving to Huntsville, he and his son would commute more than 250 km twice a week to teach and train Judo members in Huntsville.

Muirhead’s expertise has supported local Sensei Jeff Allen. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach him over the last five years and to be able to witness his growth has been exceptional,” said Muirhead.

Jeff Allen reflected on his experience learning from Muirhead: “Ron Muirhead has been at Huntsville Judo Club ever since I started. He has always been there to pass his knowledge along and to also give you guidance when he sees that you’re not working in the right direction. He coached me in 2015 at the national Judo championships when I won my gold medal and in Cancun, Mexico when I fought at the World Judo Championships in 2018. He’s always been a great coach and it’s always a pleasure to have him in my corner rooting for me in my competitions.”

Both Ron Muirhead and his wife Anne Costeloe have their black belts in Judo and ran a Judo Club together in Gooderham. Their son Chris has followed in their footsteps as a Judo competitor ranked as a black belt athlete and is now a well-respected Sensei of the Huntsville Judo Club.

Over the years, Muirhead has travelled and trained in Japan as well as competed in so many tournaments that it was hard to list them all but his most memorable ones have been:

  • Late 1960s to early 1970s – Ontario Judo Team Member
  • 1971 Canadian Nationals – placed fourth
  • Am-Can Master Champion – five-time gold medalist
  • CNE Master Championships – two-time silver medalist
  • APE Masters’ Tournament – gold medalist
  • 2005 World Masters’ Tournament – bronze medalist

As a long-time coach, Muirhead has had the opportunity to produce three National Champions, numerous provincial Junior and Senior Champions, and black belt Judo athletes. He continues to share his knowledge and expertise with his Judo students at the Huntsville Judo Club.

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