Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Is Competitive Judo Dying

Over the last 12 months the amount of Competitive Judoka has dropped dramatically, the snow ball effect is this there are less and less Judo competitions, those that are run have a poor turnout or cancelled at the last moment due to lack of support. It was hoped that when the Governing body for Judo the British Judo Association opened its doors to all Judo organisations, the competitions standards would increase as would competition numbers would rise. I am sorry to say this has not happened quite the opposite has occurred, with some Judo Associations abandoning organising competition all together. Our own Young Judo Club has decided to give its own Annual “Garden of England Competition “ a rest because last year saw a large drop in entries and the club made a substantial loss something the committee would not tolerate.

Her some of the ideas being banded about

1) Recession: people not having money and most of the public being depressed because the way the country is run
2) Kids only interested in computer games and TV
3) Parents reluctant to give up a weekend for their kids
4) Non Competitive attitude in Schools
5) Kids to soft and undisciplined
6) Introduction of the United Kingdom Coaching Certificate, which has led to lots of old time coaches retiring rather then go through rather expensive hoops to carry on teaching something they have don for 30 years
7) Introduction of the Club Mark scheme with all its unnecessary bureaucracy
8) Non competitive Grading system for all ages.

I am not sure whether any the above applies, what I do know is the Young judo Club memberships remains static, which in this day and age is good, but our youngster do not want to compete.


This competition is a prime example of what I been saying , the BJA has the most Judo Clubs in Kent yet only 40 boys , 20 men, 15 girls and 5 women entered some weights had no entries some had only two. It was reported you could see a marked decline in the standard of Judo, of course you will the youngsters who want to compete are not getting the competitions or quality matches for them to be able to improve.

The Young Judo Club / Sittingbourne Judo Society had three entries and the reason for the small turnout nobody new about the competition until the Tuesday before the event approx another 10 players Senior and Junior could not make the event due to prior arrangements especially as was the start of the School Holiday’s. The three juniors who did enter all won Medals:

Silver Ashley Jordan had 5 in his weight and fought extremely well only just missing out on the Gold. Ashley at 15 years of age is very light for his age so it was pleasing to see him move up to the u34k class at 16 years of age the minimum weight in Judo for an adult is 60k. Hopefully he puts on weight before then even if his Judo career is curtailed for a few years he is lucky enough to belong to a club that participates and practises other Grappling forms, Sombo and Kurash both jacket wrestling sports lowest weight is 48k. Ashley has already proved himself in both of these events by winning National Gold medals hopefully he will keep up the Judo no matter what the difficulty.

Ben Franks won Gold u46k by a count back of points he had 3 fights and two wins as did another lad but Ben had more points. Ben can be a good fighter but he has a bad habit of throwing tantrums when he loses this has got to stop. There is nothing wrong with being unhappy about losing NO real champions likes losing, but you have to take defeat gracefully and learn from the defeat so make defeat a positive rather then a negative.

Jamie Marzetti o73k had 4 in his weight and steam rolled his way through to a convincing Gold with no losses, at 15 years of age he is a big strong boy and his training in the Adult class since he was 14 years has made him Tough Hard Fit and technically sound

Next big event is the British Sombo Open Swallows Leisure Centre Sittingbourne April 19th

More information on BJA/IBF judo go to www.sittingbourne.org sombogb@blueyonder.co.uk 01795 437124


For several years now Sombo Grandmaster Martin Clarke has been asked by leading MMA experts to get involved in MMA Submission Wrestling because of his knee injury he was very reluctant to but now after a very successful Knee replacement and with Hip replacement surgery just round the corner (Isn’t Judo and Sombo good for you?)Things look brighter. Martin’s son 36 year old John Clarke has semi retired from competitive Grappling just entering Masters events has more time to help his father in the Coaching aspects of the sport.

Mixed Martial Arts gathered interest with the ultimate fighting on the TV this where competitors Grappler and Strike in a Cage, to be successful you need to be an expert in many styles of Martial Arts something that can take a life time to develop in one style let alone many. So Cage fighters started to develop there own style taking bits which they can use from a many Martial Arts, some say this is bastardising the whole concept of the Martial Arts , other say it is a natural Hybrid. The simple fact is that Cage Fighting has become a phenomenal spectator sport and I emphasise the word spectator. The simple fact you can beat each up with punches and kicks etc is not going to lend itself to the normal member of the public having a go, yet the Hybrid qualities did strike a cord with the public and then came MMA Submission Wrestling. Submission Wrestling is normally done with just T Shirt and Shorts and the idea is to get your opponent to submit from Choke, Strangle, Arm Lock, Leg Lock, this encouraged those who did not want the Kicking or Punching with all subsequent dangers and did not like the high throws of Judo and Sombo.

What convinced Martin was when he had GB’s most famous Judo Player down for a course Neil Adams 8th Dan, Neil told Martin that 50% of his courses were with MMA people, he said with Martin experience in all forms of Jacket Wresting and Free Style Wrestling he was the ideal candidate to teach MMA. Martin will not be a complete novice as some 30 years ago he thought of the same concept of putting all the Martial Arts together and called it Shiai Jitsu (competitive art) he tried running several competitions found the style crude and dangerous and dispensed with it, saying it would never be a success HOW WRONG HE WAS

The new MMA Submission Wrestling Class will start after Easter on a Thursday night 7.30pm – 9pm Submission Wrestling 9pm Submission Wrestling with Gi and Sport CombatSombo. The session will cost £6 with a joining fee of £30 this includes insurance cover, to try to encourage Sombo and Judo players to have a go we will have a special offer train on Tuesday at the Judo/Sombo class and get the Thursday free. Where will you able to train for £3 a session under a World Champion judo Player and World Silver medallist Jiu Jitsu and Sambo (Martin Clarke) no where.

Contact Martin Clarke Sambo GrandMaster Judo 8th Dan at www.sittingbourne.org or sombogb@blueyonder.co.uk