International training weekend
What a fantastic weekend we had when 74 of our Dutch and French friends visited us and we were pleased so many club members came along to support the club and enjoy the opportunity to be taught by a number of really excellent coaches. Over the weekend we had over 100 judo players attend at various times including 61 French and Dutch judoka and 40 of our own club members.
The club provided a full programme for the weekend, with training on Saturday being led by Dr Andrew Moshanov and sessions on the Sunday being led by coaches from the French and Dutch clubs, which also included instruction by former Dutch Senior National Champion Jan van Buren.
On Saturday it was a huge privilege to have Dr Moshanov with us at Walderslade and he led two excellent sessions, impressing everyone with his attention to detail in breaking down techniques and concentrating on the direction and control required. Andrew even brought down some of his own students from his East London club and they really enjoyed the experience.
The clubs volunteers and coaches turned the schools new sports hall into a superb dojo for the weekend with 4 large contest areas covering over 340sq mtrs, and it was just as well due to the numbers taking part. The flags and banners, some of which were obtained with funding we received recently from The Variety Club of Great Britain made the hall look great and our European partners appreciated the displaying of their national flags over the weekend. We were also able to use some of the other new equipment obtained with our grant of over £4,200 from Kent Community Foundation for the first time. We used the new camera and camcorder to get some great photos and recordings of the event for our newsletter and notice board and the new club PC enabled us to connect up to the schools TV system and show judo DVD’s during the meal breaks in the canteen, adding to the overall judo experience.
A special mention has to be given to Ann, Heidi, Gill and Frances who worked really hard before and during the event to provide meals and drinks for around 80 people all weekend. At times it almost seemed that as soon as one meal had been cleared away they were preparing for the next and the Saturday night frenzied chip distribution was something that had to be seen to be believed.
Once everyone else had left on the Sunday it was up to those remaining coaches and volunteers to take up the mats, stow them away and tidy up the sports hall and canteen. For that we would like to say a huge thank you to all those who were still carrying mats, moving equipment, cleaning up and wiping down until late on Sunday afternoon. Without the help of these volunteers we could not put on events like this. We also had a couple of special VIP guests at the event. These were former Southern Area Chairman and his wife Brian and Clare Cox who, together, ran a very successful judo club on the Isle of Sheppey until they retired a number of years ago and were both very active in organising judo in Kent. In fact it was Brian and Clare who started the Kent International off as an event all those years ago.
At the end of the weekend various presentations were made, with Eddie giving representatives from each of the three visiting clubs a Walderslade club mug as a small reminder of their visit and also a signed copy of the book “Judo from a Russian Perspective” which was written by our special guest instructor Andrew Moshanov.
Walderslade gains first junior British Championship medal
Three club members entered the British Championships for 10/11 Year Olds in October, our first venture into a junior event of this standard. The quality of judo at the event in Essex was very high and Jarad, Molly and Charley fought really hard and we were very proud of them all, especially Charley who gained a bronze medal.
After some very tough initial fights Charley found herself in the last four and fighting for a place in the final. It was an all action fight but in the end the other girl got the better of her and Charley secured a bronze medal and her first at a British Championship event, a really excellent achievement.
Club Coaches gain UKCC Level II Coaching Award
Over the summer Steve Morris and Eddie Orgee took their Level II United Kingdom Coaching Certificate (UKCC) in judo and both passed with flying colours. The course was very intense and involved a couple of weekend sessions with top BJA Examiners assessing their teaching ability and having to produce a portfolio of lesson plans, which also had to be delivered at the club and commented on by other club members and volunteers. They also had to complete questionnaires on topics such as refereeing rules, child protection and first aid. The final part of the assessment was an intensive one day event at High Wycombe Judo Centre where they had to deliver a 20 minute lesson in front of the Examiners, using the other coaches on the course at the students!
Club receives further funding boost
On top of the excellent news we had two months ago about the club receiving £400 from the Variety Club of Great Britain, we were even more thrilled recently when we learned our application for funding from the Kent Community Foundation had also been successful. We had applied for a grant for just over £4,200 and we were delighted to hear that we had been granted the whole amount. We intend to use some of the money to buy new crash mats and throwing mats to make the sessions more fun and safer. We also asked for the money to improve the clubs IT and with it we will be obtaining our own laptop, digital camera, video camera and projector.
It was with a great deal of help from Kent Youth, a group we have been affiliated to for many years, that we were able to apply for the grant and we are very grateful to Eve Johnson and the team for all of their help in this. The equipment will enable us to produce better newsletters and publications as well as keep all of our club records together and in one place. The amount of paperwork needed to run a successful club like Walderslade grows all of the time and having our own laptop will help us manage the club better and more efficiently. The digital camcorder will enable us to analyse performances and techniques and help students understand how to improve their judo and will be an invaluable tool for those interested in competitions.
Walderslade becomes top Medway club at Kent Closed
Walderslade emerged as the top Medway club at the Kent Closed on 5th April and overall we were 4th in the county, only just behind the very strong clubs of Tonbridge, Dartford and Bushido. Indeed it was only down to the adult medal haul of those clubs that took some of them ahead of us in the medal table.
With the final tally for the club at 3 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze medals along with all of the club’s 9 junior members who took part qualifying for the BJA Kent Squad due to their finishing in the top 4 in their group, it was a great day for us.
Having been building up to this event for the last few months and with 12 club members entered, we were quietly confident that there would be some good results by the end of the day and the club’s members really pulled out all the stops to make this the club’s best results at this event.
First medals of the day came from Jarad Kemm and Owen Hughes who both competed in the Boys U30kg category. Jarad stormed through the opposition with ippon wins on every opponent, including clubmate Owen Hughes, who went on the take the Bronze. Owen did exceptionally well as he only turned 8 at the start of the year and came close to actually taking the silver medal despite his young age.
Regan Bourner, in a large U38kg group, did very well against some older and more experienced fighters. Two experienced young judoka from Tonbridge Judo Club fought it out for first and second place but Regan secured the first place bronze with a huge O Soto Gari for ippon against an orange belt. This was an excellent result for the young Walderslade fighter.
Kieran Maxwell was up next in the boys U42kg. After a slow start where he didn’t seem to be able to get past his first opponents stiff arm defence, Kieran settled into his fights and a couple of swift ippons through nicely timed counter throws left him with a silver medal in a tough group.
Liam Banbury showed further signs of constant improvement in the U46kg group as he moved steadily through to take a well deserved silver. His final fight was his toughest as the contest lead swayed back and forwards and then went into Golden Score. It was in this sudden death phase of the contest that Liam pulled off a brilliant O Uchi Gari for ippon to take the silver medal.
The U66kg group saw 15 year old Wayne Russell, in his last Kent Closed as a junior, having to take silver instead of gold after what seemed to be a suspect decision by the referee. Wayne attacked and threw with an O Uchi Mata and then rolled over his opponent. However the referee judged that his attack had been countered mid-movement and awarded the score to the Dartford lad leaving Wayne with the runner up place instead of top position.
Alan Maxwell had the hardest of the day’s pools as despite making his U73kg weight category, due to a lack of entries the organisers moved him into the O73kg event where there was no upper weight limit. However, Alan rose to the challenge and defeated two of his heavier opponents after some tough fights to reach the final. Here Alan hung on in and nearly turned the tables on his heavier and more experienced opponent who won by just a Yuko, and in the end came away with a hard earned silver medal.
Walderslade only entered two girls for the event, twin sisters, Molly and Charley Harvey. Both competed in the U28kg event and once again both met head to head. Both girls fought very hard with Molly clinching the gold after a superb counter for ippon on a good young player from Tonbridge with just seconds on the clock and then beating Charley on Judges Decision following a very tough contest, leaving Charley to take the bronze.
Three senior members entered the tournament with club coaches Eddie Orgee taking gold in the U66kg group and Steve Stacy taking silver in the U90kg group, after electing to go up a weight category. Steve secured his silver with a superb Seoi Otoshi for ippon in his last contest.
Recently promoted Brown Belt, Rob Kemm, was the clubs only participant not to make the medals on the day. However, Rob fought hard in a large Men’s U73kg group where he had to fight two Black Belts and some internationally experienced fighters. It was an excellent result for the club and we are hoping that a number of them will be able to fight in the Kent Squad that competes at the Inter-Counties in May.
Class Master Championships Tunbridge Wells
Two club members took part in the Class Master event organised by Bushido Judo Club in Tunbridge Wells in March. Liam Banbury fought really well and earned himself his first Gold medal of the year, winning one contest by Yuko and the next by two waza-ari’s. Meanwhile, Owen Hughes who only turned 8 a few months ago showed great determination and effort gaining himself a silver medal in his group.
International trip to Lille
In March, sixteen club members, coaches and parents travelled to Lille for our first international training weekend of the year. We arrived without incident, well apart from almost losing Karen Harvey before we even left the port of Calais. Other than that, it was an easy journey down to Lille. The morning session was enjoyable and then we all walked along to the local supermarket where we were due to have our meals in the cafeteria. This all turned out to be ok except that a number of our group forgot that the French love their meat rare !!!
With lunch over it was back to the hall for more judo and then a small football tournament was organised by the Dutch. A final judo session in the afternoon saw the juniors being split into separate groups with the younger ones playing balance and agility games and the older ones some technique and strength and agility based activities.
Then it was off to the hotel to freshen up and straight back to the cafeteria for dinner. After dinner we went to a local ice skating rink where all the juniors and some of the adults spent a number of hours whizzing around on the ice, thankfully without incident.
Sunday morning saw the last session of the weekend with some of the juniors now starting to show signs of fatigue. It had been a long weekend with a lot of judo but everyone did what they could and at the end of the sessions we still had a full complement of judoka on the mat. With the final session over it was time to head back to Calais for the ferry home.