Blog Archives

Typically a longer post on a single topic or technique.

Learning from success and failure

I am a huge advocate of learning from experience. I have previously advocated the use of training diaries; the ease with which video footage can now be shot at competitions for post competition analysis is fantastic.

Learning from when things didn’t go right is great – what can I do to prevent that happening again, why didn’t my technique work… is it gripping, my entry, my stance etc.

It is easy to overlook the importance of learning from success also – and perhaps I am guilty of this. Exactly the same considerations as above apply – how can I make that happen again, why did my technique work – is it my gripping, my entry, my stance etc.

Never be afraid to go back and review, to reflect on your performance, both success and failure have much to teach us.

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The well dressed judoka

The grading assessment requires the candidate to identify the parts that make up a judo uniform.

The basic answer is

  • Jacket
  • Trousers
  • Belt (obi)
  • Zori (judo slippers – flip flops, sliders or similar)
  • Females should wear a t-shirt under the jacket (round neck, plain white only for competition)

However, there are other considerations that need to be taken into account.

Long hair needs to be tied up, with a non-metallic option – elastic type bands or scrunchies are popular.

Nails should be kept short, and a high standard of personal hygiene is expected.

Judo uniforms should be kept clean and in good condition.

Hard and metallic objects are not allowed on the mat, so make sure no mobile ‘phones or media players are lurking in your jacket. All jewellery, piercings etc., should be removed. Underwired bras fall into the category of hard objects, all female players should be considering wearing a sports bra. They offer considerably more support and reduce the risk of soft tissue damage.

Players are advised not to wear all in one, leotard type undergarments. These can restrict access to the body in the event of a serious injury.

Traditionally, male players wore nothing under their gi. Most players these days are going to wear undergarments, trunk type shorts are probably best.

Many players are now opting to wear compression tops and leggings – these are believed to offer extra support to working muscles and reduce fatigue and injury risk. These are not permissible in competition.

Consideration should be given as to what to wear to and from training. Ideally players would change into their kit at the dojo, however due to lack of changing facilities this is not always possible. Players should take care not to get their kit dirty en route to or from the dojo. We would recommend that players have a hoody, fleece etc. to wear home especially in the winter months, to avoid too rapid cooling of the body.

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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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