March 2008

Walderslade Championships

Competition time at Walderslade Judo ClubOur annual championship is probably the biggest event we organise each year, and what a day it was. As normally happens in the build up to the day, I start to worry about how many judoka are likely to turn up to the training session, how many will enter the championships and whether any clubs will enter a team in the team championship. It's the same every year, and every year there is a great turnout. This year was no exception.

 It really all started on Friday night, with the hall needing to be completely cleared even before the mats for the Friday sessions could begin to be laid. It was all hands to the pumps, moving tables, chairs gym equipment and setting up in the canteen. Lots of parents and club members became involved, which was great and meant that everything that had to be done on Friday night was achieved with no disruption to the normal classes. The banners went up and the hall started to look great once again.

Just before 10:00 on Saturday, judoka started to arrive for the training session. Then they kept on arriving!

When everyone had assembled on the mat and we looked around, I realised that I had made a good decision to once again invite a guest instructor to take the class. Lining up on the mat the with the other 7 Dan grades present we were faced with 102 judoka, the largest group ever assembled on our mat at any one time!

So, with a general welcome given and some formal introductions completed I was relieved to be able to say to our guest instructor "Over to you Dave".

 Our special guest instructor this year was Dave Dunsford, 3rd Dan, from Bexley Judokwai, and what an exceptional job he did. With such a wide range of grades and ages present and with so many having turned up for the session it was important to ensure the safety of those on the mat. Dave had the judoka laughing and enthused during the warm-up and then working hard covering methods of breaking down a partners attack and countering them.

The morning finished with the traditional Dan Grade line-up but for the first time this had to be cut short as we were running out of time and steam!

The individual championships began about 30 minutes behind schedule, but once under way started to move ahead at a good pace. Two groups at a time were called to both mats and medal presentations were made on the stage by Mr Dunsford.

A total of 112 juniors contested the event, split into 29 groups. It was very pleasing to see that 36 club members had taken part, all of whom did really well, winning 9 gold, 8 silver and 19 bronze medals between them.

The evening's team event did as usual produce excitement, drama, cheers and even a few tears.

Five clubs entered the championships, Akzo, Bexley, Parkwood, Walderslade and Wrenwa.

Previous winners Parkwood were seeded into the pool of 2 and lots were drawn to see who would join them. Bexley was picked leaving Akzo, Walderslade and Wrenwa to compete in the pool of 3 for positions in the final four.

After some exciting contests Akzo were eliminated and the remaining four teams moved to the semi finals.

The second semi final saw Wrenwa facing Bexley for a place in the final and what an exciting and drama filled contest this was. Big throws and high emotions saw the lead move one way then the other. The final score was an unexpected result with 5 wins each and only ippons having been scored. This meant both teams had equal wins and equal points.

Lots were drawn by the team captains to choose a weight that would fight off to decide the winners. The Girls U36 kilo group was selected but at the end of a long hard day the Wrenwa fighter decided she did not want to re-contest the bout and the round was awarded to Bexley, who now went into the final against Parkwood.

Our third and fourth place play-off was against Wrenwa who had already beaten us in the opening pool. It was unlikely that Walderslade would have been able to turn the tables on such a strong Wrenwa team and so to save any risk to our younger and least experienced judoka we forfeited a number of contests and so settled for the 4th bronze medal place.

The final was, as usual, a noisy and exciting affair.

Parkwood were declared the winners with 6 wins to 4 and retained the Millennium Shield for the second year running.

And so the championship ended for another year. It was another great success for the club and I have received a great deal of very positive feedback already.

A great deal of hard work goes into organising and hosting an event which starts at 10:00am and finishes after 9:00pm and I want to say a big thank you to all of our club members, volunteers, parents and coaches and all those from other clubs who put in so much effort in order to make the day the huge success it was.

Our junior members who took part in the championships and fought for the club must also be praised. There were some excellent contests and some exceptional judo being performed.

This event is really our annual test on how club members are comparing against those from other clubs and it is clear from the results that they are all doing really well.

Those who represented the club in the team event did especially well with some having only limited competition experience.

We ask a lot from our juniors at this event. Some of them are there for the training at 10:00 in the morning and take part in the individual championships as well as the team event and it is a long and tiring day.

Hence, we are all very proud of the efforts they put in. We knew that this year we had a strong boys side to the team but were lacking in experience on the girls side. Three of our 5 girls had been doing judo for less than a year and so we were very pleased with the efforts that those three girls in particular put in. We are excited about the future and think that we now once again have the makings of a strong team which hopefully will improve as our judoka gain more experience. We also have a number of youngsters who will in time be strong enough and heavy enough to compete in the team event and we think there are good times ahead but we may need to wait until some of our younger judoka have grown a few more years and gained a few more kilos.

The most important thing for us is that their technique is good and they are applying basic principals correctly.

The Walderslade Team for 2008 was:

  • U26 Jarad Kemm
  • U36 Liam Banbury
  • U46 Adam Bale
  • U56 Alex Helm
  • U66 Wayne Russell
  • U26 Caitlin Penny
  • U36 Charley Harvey
  • U46 Isabella Austen
  • U56 Catherine Smith-Dance
  • U66 Anna Parsons

BJA Kent Closed

One of the year's biggest disappointments so far was the change in date of the BJA Kent Closed to the middle of the April end of term holidays which then meant a number of club members were unable to attend. That being said, six club members did manage to get to the event and four came away with medals. In the Red Belt category both Molly and Charley Harvey took part and demonstrated some excellent judo, both coming away with Gold medals and further points on the club Championship Points Table.

For Charley in particular this was her third Gold medal within almost as many weeks, having won Gold at the Walderslade Championships, BJC (MAC) Under Yellow Belt event and now the Kent Closed.

In the junior categories we had two members taking part. Alex Helm and Wayne Russell. For Wayne this event is has been jinxed. In 2007 he injured his back and was taken to hospital for treatment and 2008 was to prove to be no different. Having won his first contest with relative ease Wayne went into the second round more confident than in previous years. However, he was thrown awkwardly and again had to be taken to the local hospital as a precautionary measure. Fortunately he was ok and has now made a full recovery. We are all hoping that 2009 with be 3rd time lucky for Wayne at the Kent Closed and he will survive the whole event unhurt.

Alex Helm was next up in the U60kgs event. Although not his best performance, Alex gave it his all and came away with a Bronze and qualification for the Kent Squad. This makes Alex the first Walderslade junior to become qualified for any official BJA squad and we are all very proud of this achievement.

The senior entry for this event was disappointing low. However, both of our senior members who entered fought hard and both gained silver medal places after some tough contests. Steve Stacy gained his silver in the Mens U90kgs category and Louise Parsons gained hers in the Ladies Open category. Well done to all those who took part.

January 2008
Club trip to Lille, France

Early in the morning on Saturday 26th January, 7 senior club members boarded a minibus in Walderslade and headed down to Dover for our first trip of 2008. An amazing sunrise greeted us as we approached Dover with the sky literally ablaze of red for as far as we could see. The 08:00 Seafrance crossing was very quiet and the Channel was as smooth as a duckpond which made for a really good start to the trip.

We arrived on French soil and headed down towards Lille where we were to meet with Michael Claeyssen at 12:00. A small language and technological problem with Terry’s GPS system meant that we were expertly guided to a quiet street in the suburbs of what we thought was Lille, but which in fact turned out to be a small town just outside of it!

A quick call to our French hosts quickly sorted out the problem and they arrived fairly quickly to lead us back to the dojo where we everyone was introduced to their host families and were taken off for lunch.

Crash and Garry probably had the best experience of the day being treated as they were to a full three course meal courtesy of Michel Dubois, one of the clubs Coaches and his wife. Fed and watered we all met back at Judo Club Monsois for the first of our weekend’s judo sessions.

These first two lessons were to be junior sessions, but they lasted for three hours in total meaning that by the time the main event, (the evening senior randori session) arrived we were well and truly warmed up.

All of the clubs seniors worked hard with the children and the youngsters enjoyed the experience immensely.

The senior session that followed at 7:00pm lasted for an hour and a half, at the end of which I think everyone in the group was ready for a rest and dinner. There were a good number of seniors on the mat and condensation was dripping from the windows and mirrors in the dojo and a number of us (and some of the French) were showing the physical signs of having been through a very good session !!

The French contingent included a female 5th Dan a female 3rd Dan and a male 3rd Dan who last year competed in the French 1st Division. Needless to say it was a tough evening.

fter time for a quick shower we were off to a fish and chicken restaurant for our evening meal. The food was excellent and the company relaxed which made for an excellent finish to the day.

Most of us collapsed into bed at about 1am but we did hear that Terry, Steve and their host Michel (there are three Michel’s in Judo Club Monsois !) eventually fell into bed at around 3am.

The morning seemed to come all too early and I certainly could have done with a few hours more sleep especially after the early start of Saturday. We all met at the home of Michel for breakfast and were once again treated to some excellent hospitality as our hosts could not seem to do enough for us.

Then at 09:15 it was off to the dojo again for another two hour’s judo with the clubs juniors. This was an easier session and gave us time to stretch off a few of the aches from the previous evenings exertions.

During the sessions Michael took the opportunity to throw Crash in at the deep end, giving him his first international coaching opportunity !! Steve stepped up to the mark and did really well to get his instructions across without any preparation time as he taught Mune Gatame and Seoi Otoshi to the young judoka.

The club’s President presented each of us with a small gift of a club tee shirt, pen and key-ring which we all gratefully accepted.

Following a small aperitif after the sessions we headed off to a local Moroccan restaurant in Lille for cuscus. A number of Judo Club Monsoi’s seniors accompanied us to the restaurant which made for a nice afternoon.

We set off on our return journey but managed to miss our ferry by 30 minutes leaving us to catch the 6:30pm. Although this would not have delayed our return by much this ferry had the added complication that a passenger seemed to have collapsed on board whilst everyone was still loading and medics had to be called on board to treat him. We understood later that he was ok but the ferry had then been delayed by about an hour. Hence, it was around 9pm when we arrived back in Walderslade, tired and ready for good rest. Our next trip across the Channel is scheduled to be the International Men’s Team Tournament in May, so there will be lots of preparation needed for that one.

Whilst a number of us were living it up in France, Richard Lynn headed off on his own to the monthly Budokwai Grading in London. After three tough fights, the last of which saw Richard winning by a waza-ari and then a hold down for 15 seconds, he was really unfortunate to get arm-locked into submission following an attempted attack which left both players on the ground. However, the Examiners considered he had done enough to warrant his promotion to 1st Kyu.

Richards’s promotion leaves the club in the exciting position of having five 1st kyu’s (Richard, Ranj, Steve, Barry and Matt) all now collecting points towards their 1st Dan Black Belts.

Congratulations to Richard.

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