Blog Archives

Typically a longer post on a single topic or technique.

Celebrating 25 years – Part 3

It wasn’t just as competitors that Court Lane started to make a mark in the late 90s.

Club coach Roger Spreadbury was already qualified as an Area Referee, and went on to achieve his National C.

John MacEnri also achieved Area Referee qualification.

Brett Caswell and Chris Batchelor undertook the Junior Referee scheme, frequently refereeing at the Mountbatten Centre, which then hosted all of Hampshire’s judo tournaments. Brett achieved the highest level of junior referee award, and passed the practical exam for Area Referee whilst refereeing at Crystal Palace.

The Junior Referee scheme is certainly something we would like to see more players explore – not everyone is a competitor. There are also always opening for time keepers and record keepers to assist with competition.

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Celebrating 25 years – Part 2


Competition success wasn’t immediate for the club, although players were competing from day 1 – Simon Brown was a regular early competitor.

The first medal came from Brett Caswell, winning the 1997 Hampshire Closed Orange & Under tournament. This was also his first competition!

Brett followed this with a medal at the 1998 Southern Area Open, and qualification for the Southern Area squad at the end of the  same year.

His main club competition came from Chris Batchelor, who took his first medal in 1998. The two became regular training and competition partners. Chris’ younger brother Tim also followed on the mat, before following a successful hockey career.

Success rapidly followed for the girls, with Kate Borland claiming a podium place. Brett’s younger sister Tiffany later became a fierce competitor for the club, including competing at the Kent and London Internationals.

1997 World Champion Kate Howey MBE visited in 1999, in the run up to the World Championships held in Birmingham. On the back of attending the 1999 Kendal Summer Camp and some crafty initiative, Brett blagged himself a volunteer role at the World Championships, meeting judo greats such as Ryoko Tamura.

At the end of the year, Brett secured a top two placing on the Southern Area squad, which gave him entry to that year’s National Championships. A bronze medal here meant a place on the Great Britain cadet squad, with his first overseas competition (and a fifth place) coming soon after.

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Celebrating 25 years – Part 1

You may have heard us mention that this year marks 25 years of Court Lane Judo Club…

It’s a remarkable achievement, but it seems only yesterday that the Club opened at Court Lane Junior School.

The Club was founded by Roger Spreadbury, Jill Brown and Tony Brown, in April 1993. We all met in  Cosham Community Association Judo Club,  but decided that we wanted to run our own Cub, free from outside management.

Originally lessons were held in the Small Hall, with mats stored in a shed across the playground – it was great fun carrying them in the wind and rain.

We then moved to the Old Dining Room (now demolished), where we put away tables and chairs to lay mats, then put them all out again at the end of the session.

Sessions were then split between the Old Dining Room and the Main Hall, with an eventual move to the Main Hall when it was redeveloped with additional storage, and the Old Dining Room demolished.

In 1998 we were able to purchase new 2×1 metre mats to replace those we had started with, these mats are still going strong today. (We still have four of the original mats in storage…).

We worked closely with Roger’s other club, in Havant, and players were able to attend sessions led by guest coaches such as the great Roy Inman MBE and 1997 World Champion and four times Olympian, with two  Olympic medals, Kate Howey MBE.


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Vision for success

Brett Caswell throws for Ippon at 2007 GB World Cup

Clearing out my old diaries and other accumulated rubbish in my locker at work, and found this note from Brett Caswell… He has attributed this to American judoka Kevin Asano, who won a bronze at the 1987 World Championships and silver at the 1988 Olympics.

It seemed an appropriate message to share as we end one year, and look forward to our 25th anniversary next year.

Vision for success

v – Vision. First and foremost you need a dream!

I – inspiration. Let desire fuel your fire!

S – Strategy. Develop a plan of action!

I – Initiate. Don’t be afraid of taking risks!

O – Other people. Surround yourself with others who can help you win!

N – Never give up. You need to persevere through the hardships!

…Success will not happen without a focussed, on-purpose, plan of action!

Whether you make it to the Olympics or not is not the main thing in life. When you come right down to it, judo competition is really just a game. Whether you win or lose in competition, life will go on.

The real issue is much deeper. If you have a clear vision for the Olympics, what you do along the journey is more important than the outcome. The lessons you learn. the experiences you gain, and the character you build will determine who becomes a real champion in life. A TRUE CHAMPION IS NOT SO MUCH ONE WHO WEARS A GOLD MEDAL AROUND HI SNECK, BUT ONE WHO WEARS A GOLD MEDAL IN HIS HEART.


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Forget Mayweather v MacGregor, the real action is in Budapest

The media may be whipping itself into a frenzy over the farcical Mayweather v MacGregor fight – that threatens to drag boxing and MMA into even more ridicule – but judo fans are concentrating on the Central European country of Hungary and its capital city Budapest.

The 2017 World Championships kicks off on Monday 28 August, with the action being streamed live via the International Judo Federation website.

The timetable can be found on the Championships website. The action will commence with the lightest weights (-48kg women, -60kg men) and culminate with a team event Sunday 3 September.

British Judo has announced a 12 strong team for the event, including 6 Olympians. Great Britain has won several World Championship medals, although our last was far too long ago!


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Government publishes Duty of Care in sport recommendations

The Government has recently published Duty of Care in Sport, an independent review by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, DL.

She says in her Introduction,

The most important element in sport is the people involved, whether they are taking part, volunteering, coaching or paid employees. The success of sport, in terms of helping people achieve their potential, making the most of existing talent, and attracting new people to sport relies on putting people – their safety, wellbeing and welfare – at the centre of what sport does.

However, recent media reports and anecdotal evidence from across a range of sports has led to questions about whether welfare and safety really are being given the priority they deserve. At a time of success for British sport in terms of medals, championships and profile, this raises challenging questions about whether the current balance between welfare and winning is right and what we are prepared to accept as a nation.

Following the publication of the government’s sport strategy “Sporting Future”, published in late 2015, I was delighted to be asked by the Minister of Sport to look into issues surrounding the so-called “Duty of Care” that sports have towards their participants. “Sporting Future” aims to encourage more people to become active, to strengthen the sporting workforce and create a more sustainable and diverse sector. I believe that the issues grouped under the term “Duty of Care” are fundamental to achieving these aims.

The UK is much admired around the world for sporting success and the system that exists beneath it. In recent years there has been an increased focus on participation in sport and physical activity, and how as a nation we become fitter and healthier. There is significant investment in sport in the UK, through public funding or private sector sponsorship, and there is a reasonable expectation that there should be a return on the investment, not only in terms of sporting achievement, but social benefit and in some cases financial return. Winning medals is, of course, really important, but should not be at the expense of the Duty of Care towards athletes, coaches and others involved in the system.

However, it feels timely for the sport sector to consider Duty of Care in its fullest sense. The sector is arguably under more scrutiny than ever before, with allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse in football, and accusations of a culture of bullying in some sports. Questions are being asked about the price being paid for success. It is clear that the drive for success and desire to win should not be at the cost of the individuals involved. Allegations about the past need to be thoroughly investigated, but the focus must also remain on those in the current system to ensure that they are protected and free from harm, bullying, harassment and discrimination. Although there are processes and safeguards in place, the right culture is still required to ensure they work. Sport cannot think of itself as special or different and able to behave outside what are considered acceptable behaviour patterns.

The report makes several recommendations in key areas, covering

  1. Education
  2. Transition (entering top level sport, de-selection, appeals and leaving top level sport)
  3. Representation
  4. Equality, diversity & inclusion
  5. Safeguarding
  6. Mental welfare
  7. Safety, injury & medical issues

The full report is available to download.

With this being such a hot topic in sport recently, we are delighted that Karen Miller has stepped up to the Welfare Officer role on the club committee.

Karen has recently completed her Safeguarding and Time to Listen courses.

Karen is at the Club most Thursdays, and can be contacted via if anyone has any queries or issues, whether related to judo or not.


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New host city sought for 2022 Commonwealth Games

It was announced on 13 March that Durban would no longer host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

As reported by the BBC,

David Grevemberg, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said the city did not meet the criteria set by his organisation, and the search for a new host city had already begun.

It appears that the decision is due to financial constraints faced by the South African Government.

Last month, South Africa’s sports minister Fikile Mbalula indicated Durban may not be able to host the 2022 event because of financial constraints.

“We gave it our best shot but we can’t go beyond. If the country says we don’t have this money, we can’t,” he said.

It’s clear that the global economic downturn and austerity is continuing to bite deep, as both the Olympics and Commonwealth Games struggle for hosts.

A number of British cities – including Liverpool and Birmingham – have expressed an interest in hosting the 2022 Games. Recent reports indicate that a joint bid may be accepted.

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Olympics in crisis

Following on from our earlier posts on the dilemma facing the International Olympic Committee after the withdrawal of Hamburg, Rome and most recently Budapest from the 2024 bidding process, the BBC’s Dan Roan offers his own indepth analysis.


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And then there were two

In an earlier post, I wondered what the future would hold for the Olympics with the announcement that both Rome and Hamburg had withdrawn their bids for the 2024 Olympics, citing cost.

Now Budapest – host of this year’s Judo World Championships – has also withdrawn, once again citing cost, especially as they considered they had little chance of winning against the other remaining cities – Los Angeles and Paris.

Bidding for the Olympics can cost host cities several million pounds, let alone the infrastructure costs that follow a successful bid. Many would argue that the cost of Athens hosting the Just About Ready In Time 2004 Games contributed to Greece’s economic collapse.

The Commonwealth Games is also faced with a similar crisis. Only two cities bid for the 2018 Games, Gold Coast (Australia) beating a bid from Hambantota (Sri Lanka). The only city in the running to host 2022 is Durban, in South Africa, following the withdrawal of a bid from Edmonton (Canada). Edmonton is now concentrating on a bid for 2026. The Glasgow Games were reputed to have cost between £500m – £1bn to stage; a phenomenal cost in an age of global austerity.

There is no doubt that hosting such events brings regeneration and investment to host cities – Athens’ transport system, East End regeneration in London, Delhi’s subway system, long term tourist interest – but do these outweigh the costs of bidding and hosting? Have the costs simply become unsustainable, especially in the current economic climate? And lets not even talk about state sponsored cheating, and how the Sochi winter games and even London are now being tarnished.

Having attended the 2004 Games, soaked up the atmosphere, and seen humanity at it’s best, I hope these events have a future; but do have to ask, is a multisport event on a global scale now just too much for any one city to consider hosting?

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Fighting the drop

One of the challenges you face as you move out into the world of competitive judo, is the drop version of seoinage.

Whilst not allowed when fighting -12 rules, it is wide spread amongst older players and is a very effective technique.

We have been looking at techniques to

  1. Stop the seoinage, and
  2. Counter the seoinage.

The videos below summarise what we have covered.

Stopping seoinage

Countering the seoinage

These techniques take regular practice to embed, but can form an important part of your Judo repertoire.

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