Monday, 13 August 2018

Big Weekend for Big Judo Howick Competition 2018

We had really good weekend at the annual Howick Judo Academy Competition.  The contest is in its 50th year and is organised by the Howick Judo Academy. This year it attracted over two hundred competitors. 

We had a good time and our people did really well. We had heaps on the mat and lots of noisy supporters too.


Check out the photos.

Genesta and Gregor.  Both did well.  Genesta blitzed her category with really good throws and won Gold. Gregor got Bronze.

Wiremu at the warm up.  The kids always have a great time at Howick.
Jakhongir with  his medal. 


Wiremu on the podium with his Bronze.
And again! With Silver this time!
Nathan on the podium with his Gold medal.

Nathan up close.  
Scott fought really well beating bigger boys and won Gold.



Ben and Nelly smiling surrounded by a group of awesome fighters!. The seniors did classy, technical Judo and beat stiff opposition to win well deserved medals.


And a quick thought, its about the most important thing we do at Big Judo.  We teach kids.

Most of our medal winners started Judo with us.  Here is a photo of our little kids class this Saturday. Scott is there helping out and we have a nice group of beginners who in a few years time will  be getting their photos taken with medals too.  Awesome.


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Big Judo Auckland International Open 2018 Great Photo

Happy coach. Happy medalists. Shame they aren't all there but the photo was too good to waste. 

Monday, 30 July 2018

Big Judo Auckland International Open 2018

Another good day this time for our kids. Two entries two medals best part is that in total we sent six competitors and they all got medals. We also got lots of positive comments about the 11 people who showed up on Friday night to help set up the venue.  Many people commented on that and on the rapid improvement of of competitive players. It was a good weekend.

Scott fought very well and was second in his weight. Like yesterday the people that stopped us were often the French Polynesian players not Kiwis.  Really hopeful for the Nationals.  That flag is soooo 'unkKiwi' but we probably need one too!


Wiremu got a bronze in his weight silver in the open.  He just keep getting stronger.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Big Judo 2018 Auckland International Open

Pretty happy today.  We entered four adults in the Auckland International Open and all of them won medals. The Big Judo family is very proud of all of them.  

Noah Wallace Silver in the -81 Cadets. Awesome. 


Jacob Fry Bronze in ridiculously competitive Senior Mens - 66 kg  Jacob goes from strength to strength.

And Cherry won her weight in the Junior Womens and got the Silver in the Senior Womens. She fought really well. 


Kyle won the Master Super Heavyweight Category. Its great to see him back on the mat. 



Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Rick Littlewood RIP



Sad, sad news today.  Rick died.  It is the closing of a chapter in New Zealand Judo.  He was a fighter, a rebel and very funny.

Nelly and I were lucky to have been Rick's students. When we started Judo with him in the early 80s he looked like he does in the photo above.  I think he would have been 40ish and was still competing.

He was a hard man and the University Judo Club was a tough world focused on ground fighting, 'Kosen' Judo and competition.

It was fantastic, we learnt good Judo that has stood by us in many dojos around New Zealand and around the world.  I first went up to Japan with Rick in 1988 and since then have travelled heaps always remembering my Sensei's favourite quotes:


  • "Stand up straight" normally followed by a kick or a whack with a shinai!
  • "No sleeping on the mat" don't get strangled!
  • "There is no learning without pain" the club motto.  And good advice. Everything in life costs.  You want to be good at martial arts get used to pain. Want wisdom, pay the price of experience. 
Without doubt Rick was one of New Zealand's best Judo players. He also trained some of our best.  Daniel Gowing springs to mind. 

But Rick also impacted people's lives in other ways. We all learnt to laugh at ourselves and to enjoy the comical side of Judo.  University Judo Club was never silent there was constant joking and laughing and humour.  It was fun doing Judo and Rick was very funny. 

Rick also taught us to not accept authority,  he was a master of rebellion. Sometimes we need the outliers, the rebels the people that won't conform.  

Finally, and most importantly Rick taught us all about acceptance.  University Judo Club was a place that who or what you were didn't matter.  We were all Judo players and your worth came from your fighting spirit and guts.  I remember lots of people who were never going to be great Judo players but who were welcomed at University Judo Club because the fought hard and had fun doing Judo.

Nelly and I have been lucky. We have had 36 years of Rick and have very fond memories.  The photo below is one of my fondest.  After all my years with him when I set up Big Judo he came over one night and helped me glue rubber under the mats so they wouldn't slide around.  It was a nice night.  Sensai and student working together getting mats ready for another generation of Judo players to learn.  

From our Big Judo family to Rick's family and to University Judo Club deepest condolences. We will miss Rick very much.

And Rick, at Big Judo we will keep teaching what you taught us. 

.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sometimes life is not just about Judo

Kariotahi Beach in winter fantastic. Almost as good as Judo?


Saturday, 30 June 2018

The Apprentice Becomes the Master



A couple of weeks ago we published the picture of two boys mopping the mat and discussed how martial arts can teach us about life. At every stage in life you inevitably start at the bottom and it takes persistence and patience to move to the next step.

Its also a matter of time.

With a new junior person in the club the two guys mopping the mat in our last photo transition and become the 'seniors' teaching and supervising our new 'player' as he performs his apprenticeship.

One day (with luck and persistence) instead of teaching their juniors how to mop the mat, the two guys on the left will be teaching their juniors technique.

And that is why we teach Judo because these kids aren't just learning to defend themselves, or to compete well or to be confident they are also learning about life. That the best things don't come easy, that there is no shame in humility and that a good teacher serves before they teach.