The Right State of Mind

Regina “Reggie” Gosselin has always marched to the beat of her own drum. “I have always been one of the people that are outside of the box,” shares Reggie. Which is why she doesn’t think she’s doing anything extraordinary at the age of 76. But many would disagree. Reggie holds a black belt in judo and has been a volunteer assistant instructor for the Florida School of Judo for a number of years.


Twice a week, she helps teach Campo Family YMCA members of all ages the sport. “It’s a state of mind. We learn to help each other,” says Reggie. Passionate volunteers, like Reggie, make it possible for judo lessons to be offered for free to all Y members at the Campo and South Tampa Ys. “Many other places would charge $75 to $125 a month for judo,” testifies Reggie. “It opens up a financial advantage for many people. We volunteer in order for judo to continue.”


Reggie’s journey with marital arts started back when her 11-year-old son encountered a neighborhood bully. “We would take him to karate to learn how to defend himself and I was like, ‘why should I just sit here and watch,’” recalls Reggie. A decade later, she morphed over to judo and is now in the Women’s Masters Advanced Judo group, working to recruit more females. “A couple of parents say they’re getting their girls involved so they can protect themselves. We have whole families learning together.”


Reggie says the best part is seeing someone overcome self-doubt. “It’s encouraging when someone who doesn’t have so much faith in themselves. When they see they can do it, it’s an ego booster,” shares Reggie. “If I can do it at my age, you can do it!” She warns though, judo is not for everyone. “They have to be comfortable making contact,” she explains.


As for Reggie, she’s not stopping anytime soon. “You want to reach perfection. You never reach it but you keep training,” says Reggie. “Yeah, I have my aches but I’ll keep doing this until they roll me out in a wheelchair.”


Judo is an unarmed style of martial arts that builds strength, endurance, confidence and moral character. The Florida School of Judo offers its program for free to all Y members at the Campo and South Tampa Ys.

Pictured above: As a member of the Florida School of Judo, Regina “Reggie” Gosselin volunteers as an assistant instructor for the Campo Y’s free co-ed lessons.

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