British Judo’s Return to Judo plan has been signed off by the appropriate agencies, meaning that Phase 1 of a return to judo could commence as of 25th July.
As previously noted, this is in the school holidays so we were cautiously looking at a return on 8th September.
We have since received the following message from the school,
I am writing to advise you that we are not currently inviting any after school or evening lettings to use our premises in September. The Headteacher and Academy Trust have not taken this decision lightly but with so many of our children coming back in September we need time to ensure all our processes and procedures are in place and working before we allow additional groups to use our spaces.
I completely understand that this is very disappointing news for you. However, we will be constantly reviewing the guidance and aim to open our spaces after October half term.
On the positive side, hopefully this means that by the time we go back we will be a phase or two further down the Return to Judo plan – please take time to read this and see what the requirements will be for you as a player or parent. These requirements should be enforced by any other club you may visit in the meantime.
Outdoor training sessions will continue, using Drayton Park and Hilsea Lines. Latest guidance indicates that group sizes for organised activities can now be up to 30 (including coaches, players, spectators) but must remain contact free and appropriately spaced.
We still have no clear idea as to when we can resume indoor training.
The Government has given the go ahead for indoor training from 25 July, however despite repeated attempts to solicit a response from the school, we do not know if we can recommence any type of indoor activity when school reopens on Thursday 3 September.
We are provisionally working towards a possible return on Tuesday 8 September, however this is as always dependent on
Approval from school
Classes being financially viable with any social distancing requirements that remain
We will keep on endeavouring to get a response from the school. Please check back over the summer for latest updates.
In the meantime, outdoor sessions will continue to be held. Thank you to those who have attended, and parents who have joined in!
There are a lot of you who we haven’t seen – please do contact us if you wish to join in a session to make sure we comply with coach/player group size restrictions.
In the meantime, have a good, safe and healthy summer, and we hope to see you in September.
The country’s elite athletes were able to commence outdoor training as a group.
The government announced that indoor sports facilities could reopen from 25 July.
The BJA issued the following statement:
We welcome the Government’s announcement today concerning the opening of indoor sporting facilities.
This is a very important step on the journey to returning to the sport we love. We await the full, detailed guidelines from the Government that will enable us to update our existing plans. Once we have this we will communicate with clubs and members to start the process of a safe return to judo. Please note this announcement does not mark a return to full-contact judo, but will allow clubs to re-open and start that process. Once our guidelines are finalised, clubs will need to complete and return the Club Declaration Form to British Judo before opening for indoor sessions. For all documentation regarding a return to judo, head over to our Covid-19 Information Microsite by clicking here.
As 25 July falls in the school holidays, any return to indoor sessions for us will not be until September at the earliest.
Any return then will be dependent on
The school giving permission for external groups to use the hall
Class sizes with any social distancing requirements being financially viable in view of hall hire costs.
In the meantime, outdoor training sessions will continue every Tuesday and Thursday evening, weather permitting.
As you may be aware, British Judo hosted a webinar over the weekend in conjunction with the launch of their guidance as to what a Safe Return to Judo could look like.
We are processing this document to see what it means for us, one take away point already is that on return to the dojo all players must have a current licence/membership. This should be a given anyway, but players will be asked to confirm and this will be checked. Players will be asked to confirm they are Covid free on return to the dojo.
As already mentioned, any initial return to the dojo is almost certainly going to be non-contact, with contact only allowed between members of the same household.
At present, we do not have a date from Government as to when our sport/martial art can recommence.
If and when this is announced, any return will be further dependent on the school giving us permission to return AND class sizes being financially viable with any social distancing requirements that remain in place. Distancing requirements for indoor sports are likely to be higher than they are for more mundane activities such as shopping, due to impracticalities of wearing a mask when training, and more powerful exhalation of air during exercise.
We are cautiously working towards a return in September, but this is definitely not a fixed date.
In the mean time, outdoor training sessions will continue as previously advertised. When the use of outdoor gyms is sanctioned again, we will consider a change of venue, but until then all details remain the same.
To mitigate the impacts of us on reduced class sizes, please support us via Portsmouth Lottery and Easyfundraising!
One of the things that sets Judo apart from just being another type of wrestling is the moral code that lies at the heart of practice.
It is not something that is perhaps consciously taught; but it is part of the BJA grading syllabus for both junior and senior grades.
Its origins lie in both the Bushido code of the Samurai and in Japanese absorption of Western ideas of what makes a “gentleman” as Japan came out of isolation in the 1800s.
The International Judo Federation recently published a series of videos examining what the Judo values of Courage, Respect, Modesty, Sincerity, Friendship, Honour, Self-control and Politeness means in 2020 – they can be viewed here.
Bring outdoor sports clothing and water, an exercise mat is also useful.
Our next session will be Thursday.
We are expecting guidelines soon from the BJA as to what a return to mat based training could look like – but we will be dependent on the school allowing hall hire to recommence. Recent news from Croatia after Novak Djokovic hosted a tennis tournament, with several players testing positive afterwards, also flags up the value of a cautious return to sport.
In the meantime, don’t forget you can help us to boost club funds so that we can come back stronger by playing the Portsmouth Lottery or using the Easyfundraising website or app when shopping online – we have recently benefitted from purchases at Amazon, Uber Eats, Dunelm and Ordnance Survey, to name just a few. Signing up now could win us £500!
The Government this morning announced a drop in the coronavirus alert level from 4 to 3. This is likely to result in some further easing of restrictions over the next few weeks.
We understand that British Judo is close to publishing its own guidelines for Phase One of a return to training. We suspect that this is likely to follow a Judo Fit type model – randori and shiai will remain impossible under social distancing guidelines.
We are cautiously optimistic that in theory at list, we may be able to make some start of return in September. However, this must be economically viable for us if there are restrictions on class sizes due to distancing requirements, and is dependent on the school allowing external groups to use its facilities.
We have been asked the above question a couple of times.
Our thoughts below:
At the moment, all we can do is quote the BJA’s statement (British Judo Association, 2020) published on 13th May:
Following the Government’s latest updates on the current situation, whilst it is clear that certain elements of the lockdown are being relaxed, British Judo still finds itself in an unpredictable scenario whereby we do not know when we can return to our beloved Dojos up and down the country.
It is clear that we cannot return just yet.
It is possible that within a “contained” environment elite athletes may soon be able to return to training and certain sporting events take place behind closed doors. Indeed, a Government document was published 13th May detailing how this could happen. As the BBC reported (Scott, 2020), initial phases will be for contact free training.
The next phase will involve some “social clustering” within training, with athletes able to engage in contact such as “close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling, equipment sharing”.
However, the protocols for this stage have not yet been finalised and will need government approval.
It will be interesting to see how this translates to reality – the March 2020 sumo tournament was held behind closed doors with precautions in place, but the May event has been cancelled following Japan’s extension of their state of emergency (AFP, 2020). The sumo community is currently mourning the loss of one of their rikishi due to Covid-19 (BBC, 2020). The UFC recently ran a tournament behind closed doors; however the New York Times reported there were numerous breaches of the protocols it had established in order to make it a safe tournament (Draper, 2020).
We must remain guided by our national association (British Judo Association, 2020):
…we are working hard behind the scenes preparing a detailed strategy and plan that will enable us to return quickly when that time comes. We are working with the Government to ensure that alongside other sports, we are returning to action in a safe and appropriate way as soon as we are able to. Please bear with us whilst we finalise this plan and please note that any premature return to sport will mean that you are notinsured.
For the sake of our sport, it is vital that you wait until the British Judo Association has endorsed the return.
The BJA recognises that how we come back may need to be a phased approach and judo itself may need to change all the time that social distancing remains the norm. They are seeking members’ input into how judo could return, at the web address referenced below.
We cannot see the club returning to the mats before the autumn term. Even if the Government and BJA do sanctioned a return to training, there may still be restrictions imposed by the school over external lettings and any additional cleaning regimes within the school may impact on the hours available to us.
There may be a possibility to run some outdoor fitness sessions (if you aren’t already sick of Joe Wicks style PE…) over the summer. The risks of transmitting the virus outdoors are reduced compared to indoors, and the children and any adults joining in are not as in close contact as they would be practising judo. Social distancing would be easier to enforce. But again we need to be guided by the BJA and the Government.
At the moment really it is still very much a case of wait and see.
Please keep yourselves and others around you safe, and if you haven’t already done so, please consider supporting the club through one of our fundraising initiatives – this will enable us to come back stronger when the time does finally come.
AFP, 2020. Virus forces cancellation of Japan sumo tournament. [Online] Available at: https://news.yahoo.com/virus-forces-cancellation-japan-sumo-tournament-105537620–spt.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmluZy5jb20vbmV3cy9zZWFyY2g_cT1KYXBhbmVzZStTdW1vJnFwdnQ9amFwYW5lc2Urc3VtbyZGT1JNPUVXUkU&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADrurkG4wkg [Accessed 14 May 2020].
BBC, 2020. Coronavirus: Japanese sumo wrestler dies at 28. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-52644424 [Accessed 14 May 2020].
British Judo Association, 2020. Input into British Judo’s relaunch strategy. [Online] Available at: https://www.britishjudo.org.uk/british-judo-relaunch-strategy-input/ [Accessed 14 May 2020].
Draper, K., 2020. U.F.C.’s Coronavirus Plan Is Careful. Its Enforcement Has Been Spotty. [Online] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/sports/coronavirus-ufc.html [Accessed 14 May 2020].
Scott, L., 2020. Elite athletes given government guidance on safe return to training during coronavirus. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/52652893?fbclid=IwAR3IFG-PodDEo3zT7bi4OGnzkWC7TpTpeeSPtPO2u2KM9qKjHAzmeEWtsEw [Accessed 13 May 2020].
Lets kick off with Neil Adams’ second memoir, A Game of Throws.
This picks up where A Life in Judo ended, and covers Neil’s time coaching in France, his third Olympics (Seoul 1988) and running the British squad for the Atlanta 1996 Olympics amongst other events. He also looks at the rise and eventual fall of his own judo club, is very open on some personal issues such as divorce, bankruptcy, alcohol and the tragic death of his brother, the wrestler ‘Black Belt’ Chris Adams.
Neil’s own voice comes through clearer in this book than it did in his first, the book shows the struggles that many athletes face when they have to adjust to ordinary life.
From one great champion to another – although most people came to know Brian Jacks through TV’s Superstars first.
Superstars takes up a sizeable proportion of this book, but Brian’s early life as a poorly child is also covered in detail. He looks at his first experience of judo, going to Japan to study (be warned, it wasn’t just judo he learnt about there…) and then competing for Great Britain, winning bronze medals at the 1967 World Championships and 1972 Olympics.
His many business ventures are covered, culminating in his hotel in Thailand.
Whilst this perhaps would have benefitted from some professional editing, and a bit less cutting and pasting from Wikipedia, it is still a good read.
Andrew Moshanov was employed by the BJA on the back of a disappointing Athens 2004 Olympics, to raise technical standards across the BJA.
His book, Judo: From a Russian Perspective, covers the history of Judo in Russia. The ruling Communist Party of the time rebadged it Sambo to hide it’s Japanese origins, and absorbed many local wrestling styles to develop their own style of judo. Based on a principle of continuous attack, this was unleashed on the world during the 1960s.
Moshanov makes sense of some of the more esoteric judo kata, such as Itsutsu no kata, and shows how some of these principles are applied in combat.
A fascinating book.
For those of us old enough to remember, Great Britain was once not an Olympic superpower (although judo managed to account for a sizeable proportion of our medals at the 1992 Games in Barcelona).
Owen Slot’s The Talent Lab looks at Britain’s rise from near the bottom of the table in 1996 to global dominance in London and Rio,
What is clear is that there has been a relentless drive for return on investment – whilst considerable money has been spent by UK Sport, it hasn’t been thrown at sport willy-nilly. Organisations, programmes and individuals have had funding cut if they haven’t delivered or are deemed to be “past it”.
The talent spotting programmes of sports like rowing and taekwando are examined, as are the transferable skills from gymnastics to extreme winter sports. Lessons are learnt from a whole range of other businesses – how does learning to land an aeroplane in a simulator help the British swimming team? Read it to find out!
Whilst Britain’s judo women have delivered consistently over the last two Olympiads, the poor performance of their male counterparts is noted. (Interestingly, since switching allegiance from Great Britain to Ireland, Ben Fletcher has medalled consistently on the Grand Prix circuit).
Since this book came out, allegations of bullying have surfaced amongst elite performance swimmers and cyclists, so it will be interesting to see how much approach has been varied, if and when the Tokyo Olympics happen.
All these books are available to buy from Amazon (other retailers are available), if you use your easyfundraising account you will also be raising funds for the club!
On the eve of the Hampshire Closed, I would usually be writing to wish our players good luck. Or to remind people that clocks change tomorrow and to not be late for the weigh-in.
But not today. Covid-19 has changed everything.
The Club is currently closed. Officially until after Easter holidays, but until at least June if we are being realistic. Personally, I think September is more likely by the time we add in summer holidays (remember those?).
We have not been able to say goodbye to John Luijken before he and his family move abroad.
We did manage to get in to clean and disinfect the mats before the school was closed. Thanks to Kev and Craig as always for their help.
The Hampshire Closed has been cancelled, as has the Southern Area teams tournament. The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until 2021.
Thankfully as we only hire the hall on an hourly basis from the school, we are not exposed to the same cashflow risks that clubs who own their premised are exposed to. (And I never thought I would be grateful for not having our own dojo, but always something to be glad about if you look!).
It is important that everyone stays fit and as healthy as possible – we have posted links in the Facebook group to various resources from Sport England and British Judo. No doubt some of you are working out with Joe Wicks every morning! Maintaining your physical health will help to keep you mentally healthy – again, a lot of support is being signposted towards support in this area.
To those who are essential workers, in the NHS, social care, keeping our food shelves stocked – we thank you for your efforts, stay safe, we will all do our best not to put extra stress on you.
Take care everyone, and we will see you on the other side.