I started the year as a green belt but was eager to grade for my blue. The club saw the return of Duncan, a 2nd dan, who had trained and taught Judo extensively in Japan. Duncan has been a very welcome addition to the coaching staff at Dorking Judo Club and his son has been a very welcome addition to the cadets and has great promise and some lovely Judo.
The only competition I entered this year was the Surrey Open Blue Belt and below ( I got a silver last year) but unfortunately due to the lack on entrants it was cancelled for the seniors.
I managed to get some training in at the following other clubs throughout the year:
• Witley – Run by the excellent Pete Swettenham, who also visited and took several of the classes at Dorking.
• Yoshin Ryu – My number two club really. I have only attended their Randori session on a Thursday night but can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants some hard randori and also an excellent work out at the same time. All the coaches here are very friendly and have some excellent Judo and this is reflected by the high standards of the students. On a good night there are a dozen or so dan grades on the mat and another dozen kyu grades.
• Nova Forca – My number one and only BJJ club. After an absence of a couple of years I managed to get a summers worth of training in with Ricardo and his excellent team in Epsom, Surrey. I don’t think there was a single night when there weren’t at least forty guys present. I’m always made to feel very welcome by Ricardo and will of course be back again sometime next year. Who knows, one day I might actually have the time to commit properly to BJJ.
In March I attended an excellent seminar held by Aneta Szcepanska, a former Olympic Silver Medallist from Poland. This was held at Yoshin Ryu where we had upwards of forty people present.
I missed Brian Jacks visit to Yoshin Ryu in June because the arrival of Edward, my son, was imminent. He duly arrived on the 1st July.
Black Eagle very kindly sent me their new Judo gi to review. Subsequently I was also asked to review some products from a new company called Martial Herbs who, according to their website, are the premier British sport supplement company providing unique formulas designed especially with the martial artist in mind. I was sent approximately 1 months’ supply of their strength and recovery supplements but due to lots of different injuries, some more serious than others I haven’t been able to finish this review as yet.
A car crash saw me miss some weeks in November with whiplash and although I returned to Judo and completed half of my brown belt syllabus I missed the last class of the year and the chance to get my brown belt due to the injury I have now, a Superficial Thrombosis, which is basically a burst vein in my lower leg. This has resulted in a very large swelling, where the blood collected and massive bruising down my leg and in to my foot. Three visits to my GP and one to A&E confirmed that all I can do is take pain killers and wait for my body to heal itself, which could take anywhere between 3-6 weeks.
Andrew received his yellow belt on the last session of the year and he has shown some steady improvement in his game and his overall fitness. Some of his pins are particularly crushing and I’m sure that if he continues to train regularly he could make newaza his forte.
At the beginning of the year my main training partners were Oli and Meho but unfortunately both have since left the club for various reasons. Ivan, another regular, who has an incredible fighting spirit, saw injury ruin his year as an operation to fix a damaged cruciate ligament put paid to any training whatsoever. Big Stuart has been another casualty and has been absent the whole year, again due to a knee injury. Also Black belt Stewart has retired from Judo due to work commitments. This has meant that my main training partner for most of this year has been Jadon, a fellow blue belt, although his main club is Guildford Police Judo club. As I’ve stated before, Jadon is the reason that this blog started as I found myself reading his excellent blog in BJJ several years ago now. Jadon stopped blogging but continued to train BJJ at Andy Roberts’s club in Farnborough and was a high ranked blue belt in BJJ before some personal issues got in the way of him training there and subsequently saw him return to Judo, something that he had trained in before as a child.
Having someone like Jadon to train with has helped keep me motivated this year and has filled the gap left by Oli. With his BJJ training Jadon obviously has some very good skills on the ground and can normally submit me at will. A victory for me is being able to survive a three minute roll without tapping, something I have occasionally been able to achieve. On our feet Jadon makes up for his lack of size by using his speed. We have had some excellent randori sessions this year and usually we both manage to throw each other with good technique. Jadon has also written some excellent blog posts for me this year which was particularly welcome when I was too busy with work commitments to keep my blog updated.
Looking forward to next year I hope to get my brown belt early so that I can concentrate on making a start towards getting my black belt. Hopefully I’ll be accompanied by Jadon, who should be getting his brown belt soon as well.