The punching pastor: Whitehorse church leader also a Muay Thai instructor

Whitehorse’s Jimmy Jo has two flocks: one in church pews and another in a dojo. Jo, 44, is a pastor at Grace Community Church and a Muay Thai martial arts instructor at N60 Combative Arts, both in downtown Whitehorse.

Whitehorse’s Jimmy Jo has two flocks: one in church pews and another in a dojo.

Jo, 44, is a pastor at Grace Community Church and a Muay Thai martial arts instructor at N60 Combative Arts, both in downtown Whitehorse.

“Muay Thai is something I picked up several years ago, I just started practicing, and for me it’s primarily my choice of exercise,” said Jo. “It’s a way of staying in shape. I really enjoy the competitive aspect of it. So for me there isn’t really a dichotomy in terms of my calling as a pastor.”

Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand focused on stand-up striking with fists, elbows, knees and shins. Jo took it up about seven years ago while living in Vancouver, before traveling to Thailand for vacation. He has since returned to Thailand four more times to train in and study the sport, most recently in November.

“I had a lot of vacation stored up and didn’t know what to do with it and I discovered an article where people would go to Thailand to train, so in preparation for that I started to train at a school in Vancouver and just sort of fell in love with it,” said Jo.

Jo moved to Whitehorse for the pastorship at Grace Community, an Evangelical Free church, in April 2015. His congregation is aware — most of them anyway — of the other hat he wears at the gym, but it hasn’t raised eyebrows, he said.

“It doesn’t really come up. I think everybody knows because we obviously try to get to know each other as well as possible,” said Jo.

“I had been pastoring full time and part time for a number of years,” he added of his decision to move to the Yukon. “The last church I was at I was working part time and full time at a nonprofit organization with people with developmental disabilities. But I felt the call to return to full-time ministry and had always been interested in living up north. That’s something I had looked at on and off over the years and the opportunity came together with Grace Community Church.”

Jo runs Muay Thai classes Tuesday and Thursday evening at N60 Combative Arts. A typical class will start with a 10-minute warm-up, followed by conditioning work, some pad work, and then technique exercises.

“It’s a good workout. I think it’s accessible for everybody. We have a very wide range of people who attend. We have people who have been doing some form of martial arts for a little while, some people who are brand new,” said Jo.

“We have a wide range of ages. We have an even mix of male and female — actually possibly more women than men. But we have a really good community of people there.”

N60 — an abbreviation of North of 60 — opened last May, and has already been represented in Muay Thai on the national stage. Member Greg Sanderson competed at the National Muay Thai Championship this past November in Toronto, taking silver in the B division’s 81-kilogram weight class.

Jo, who worked with Sanderson, hasn’t himself competed, but it doesn’t sound like he’s ruled out the possibility.

“I started Muay Thai with just the intension of wanting to exercise and I was already older at that point: I was 36,” said Jo. “I was past the age that you want to be competing. It’s something I have some interest, but it’s not a priority.”

In addition to Muay Thai, N60 offers instruction in kickboxing, judo, mixed martial arts, and more.

The gym has lately been putting more emphasis on children’s and women’s self-defence instruction using COBRA (Combat Objective Battle Ready Applications) self-defence, a system based on real-world scenarios.

“The focus has kind of shifted from the competitive fight gym to more the kids programs, teaching kids’ self-defence, helping the kids get their martial art skills, work through their grading,” said owner Graeme Campbell.

For more information contact Campbell at (867) 689-5307 or visit www.n60combativearts.ca.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

Most Read