Monday, 15 February 2010

Back to Judo

I thought I’d start my blog with the title “Back to Judo” as Judo was the first Martial Art I ever did when I was about 6 or 7 years old.
In an act of vandalism unfortunately the hall where I practiced Judo was burnt down and was moved further from my house than my parents were willing to travel to so my first foray in to Judo only lasted a couple of months.

Wado Ryu Karate was my next venture when I was 10 years old and I managed to stick with this for about 3 years where I reached the grade of Purple belt or 4th Kyu. At the age of thirteen football and Table Tennis were much more important to me than Karate and also the A-Team was on TV on a Friday evening (the same time as my Karate class) and in 1985 there was no Sky+ and relying on your mum to hit the record button on the video was very hit and miss so I gave up on Karate (Crazy fool)

Then at age 19 I missed not doing Martial Arts so I looked around for something different and found Wing Chun Kung Fu.
Wing Chun was very different to Karate and a lot less physical but more technical. It also seemed to flow better and when I found out that Wing Chun was the system that Bruce Lee started with I was very happy with my new art.
Whilst learning Wing Chun I met some very interesting people, one of those people was a Junior Instructor called Marc who I found out was teaching his own style of Martial Arts from his Garage with a select few students. This new style incorporated high kicks, locks and throws and even some grappling. I’ve highlighted grappling because at around this time I had read an article in a Martial arts magazine about a tournament in America which pitted Martial Artists from different styles against each other in a cage with no rules and this was called the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
I managed to locate a video of this in HMV and watched with fascination as Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Black Belt defeated everyone by tripping them up and submitting them on the ground.
BJJ to me looked very similar to the Judo I did as a child so the fact that someone in my Wing Chun Club was teaching his own style which had grappling very much appealed to me.

So at the age of 24 I left Wing Chun and trained with Marc twice a week in a hall near Croydon. The style was just called Freestyle but it was very similar in concept to Jeet Kune Do (JKD).
It was whilst training with Marc that a brother of my friend Gerald approached me and asked me to teach him Martial Arts. So along with training twice a week I was now teaching twice a week privately for free (as he was a guinea pig for my teaching).
Marc decided to branch out and open another school in Cheam and wanted his students to turn up for support, so I decided to take my own Student (also called Mark but spelt differently, pay attention) Mark along to see what Marc thought of him. It was whilst at the Cheam club that I befriended Richie who would become my training partner for both freestyle and some seriously heavy Gym sessions.
Marc was very impressed with the work I had done with Mark and I think this eventually led to Marc taking me under his wing and giving my PVT lessons with a vision of me teaching in one of his clubs as part of my ongoing progression.

I did eventually start teaching for Marc in one of his clubs in Streatham but due to some serious injuries I had gotten from one to many drinking sessions (I managed to break my Ankle which kept me away from training for quite a while) when I returned I felt very rusty and then never quite felt worthy of teaching people so just after I turned 30 years old I decided to quit.

Soon after I quit I started to miss the buzz so I dabbled with BJJ but this was quite a drive (Battersea) so it was a short lived affair.

Then when I was 31 I decided to give Judo a try again and went to Westcroft Judo club and loved it, especially the ground work as I felt like I was Royce Gracie and would quite often try things I had seen in the UFC. Unfortunately after only a couple of months training I tore my Pec Major and Minor trying to avoid a throw. I have since realised that one needs to leave ones ego outside the dojo as trying too hard can result in injuries.

Anyway the injury kept me out of anything physical at all for almost a year so I gave Judo a wide berth but now at 37 years and 6 months I have decided to go back to Judo, this time at my local Dorking Judo Club.
I have so far had 2 lessons and will shortly start logging all the techniques I have learnt so far.
The instructors at the club all seem friendly and there certainly doesn’t seem to be any ego’s in the dojo.

Anyway that’s my Martial Arts history so far, hopefully this blog will continue until I reach Black Belt and beyond.


  1. Heh - choosing between 'The A-Team' and karate lessons would be a tough choice for any kid in the '80s. Best of luck with the blog!

  2. There was no choice, The A-Team wins every time.
    Keep up the good work on your blog BTW, I only found it when I started following Jadon’s but I’m glad I did.

  3. Hello from Hawaii. Nice blog, I just started Judo about a year ago at age 39 and find it painful, grueling effective and very satisfying. Had been learning Aikido for the year previous and the instructor moved away and the Judo dojo was a natural next move for me. Hardly broke a sweat and was never sore in Aikido but if a guy had 20-40 years to kill it is a deep and complex art. I felt I had a trick up my sleeve (O Goshi) in Judo within a week. Never had that feeling with Aikido. Anyway, nice blog thanks Sky

  4. Hi there,

    I was just surfing around and found your blog. Like you, I also decided to go back to judo at the age of 37 (back in January of 2012). From what I can tell, you're probably in better shape than I am, but it's still nice to see that someone else decided to get back on the judo mats at my age. Good luck!

    1. Hi Al, I hope you enjoy reading my blog and can hopefully relate to some of the things I am experiancing.