Our History

Paul Knoll
Founder of Ishi Yama judo Club 


Sensei Paul Knoll was born on March 5, 1936 in Toronto, Ontario. Sensei Knoll was a late bloomer in judo. He started judo when he was around 24 years old under Sensei Eiki Kawano. Sensei Knoll was awarded his black belt in 1974, but even as a yellow belt, he was involved in assisting his Sensei teach judo. Sensei Knoll and his family (two daughters and one son) left Toronto in 1975 and moved to Calgary to pursue a career as a pipe designer. Unfortunately, the only judo club in Calgary did not teach females at the time, so Sensei Knoll decided to start his own judo club in order to allow his daughters to continue with their judo lessons. The Ishi Yama Judo Club started at the YMCA with the help of Frank Wilson. After moving several times, the club is now located at Acadia Recreation Complex where we are today.


In the club’s infancy, Sensei Knoll had a clear vision for the Ishi Yama Judo Club and helped develop the following mission statement: “To teach judo utilizing the principles of Professor Jigoro Kano to young and old alike.


To help aspiring athletes reach an Olympic or world class level of proficiency.”

With Sensei Knoll’s dedication, inspiration and the help of many people including Sensei Jess Arai, two of his students have achieved Olympic and world class level in judo (Keith and Colin Morgan). Sensei Knoll helped many of his students reach various levels and black belt grades. He is proud of all of his students. In his judo career, Sensei Knoll organized, refereed, and fought in many tournaments. He competed until well into his 50’s. Some of his judo achievements include:


  • 6th Degree Black Belt – Kodokan
  • IJF “C” Referee (1993)
  • Level 3 Certified Coach (1998)


He retired from teaching judo in 2005.