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.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Big Judo Adults - A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Since going mats down adult numbers are picking up and we are really enjoying our Judo.  Some photos from last Saturday.  A nice big class.

I think we had 20 on the mat.  Plenty of big boys and few smaller people as well.  Nellie on the right running the class.  Me on the left talking... but I did do some ground work!,

Throw of the day Cherry 48kg Japanese woman flips Jacob.  

Looking down the line at the end. Awesome. And I nice spread of grades too. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Big Fun at Big Judo

Some photos from recent weeks at Big Judo.  Since getting the mats down we have been having a great time. So thought we would share some photos for fun. 

A Saturday kids class fighting on the ground.  We do heaps of ne waza (ground fighting). Love it.  Kids love it too. The other cool thing is that so many of the adult class have started coming down to help out.  We try to encourage that family mentality  If you are part of Big Judo then we expect you to 'grow' by helping the people behind you 

A cool photo of two cool kids with their medals.  Noah's huge. Cherry is tiny but both of them are a big part of the Big Judo family.  Both wear our colours in competition and both come early and help with the kids classes.  Real role models. 

A photo of the kids about to start tachi waza (stand up fighting). Just so you know that we are a Judo club!

Friday, 15 June 2018

Big Judo plus Auckland BJJ - Its a Grappler's Paradise

Its a grappler's paradise!

Big Judo and Auckland BJJ are working together bringing Judo and BJJ to Sandringham.  

Next week Auckland BJJ starts classes in the Big Judo Sandringham dojo. Auckland BJJ will be there on Monday and Wednesday nights. 

Big Judo are doing Judo on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  

We look forward to having Auckland BJJ co-located with us because Judo and BJJ although different are complimentary and it is great to have this strong, friendly and social club sharing our venue.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Big Judo Life Lessons Too

This photo captures a key part of being a real martial artist. If you choose to pursue Judo you will find out that some of its key lessons is humility and hard work.  That you need to work hard to learn is obvious enough.  But to become powerful on the Judo mat (and in life) you also need to be humble.

You advance in steps at the top of each step is a 'plateau'.

Maybe you transition from being the best kid to being the bottom of the teenager's class.  You work and fight and eventually become the best teenager. You only get to enjoy that status for a short time before you grow and become the person at the bottom of the adult class.  Again you work and fight and maybe you become the top adult.  But the rub is that even if you won an Olympic Gold medal (or two) you still only get to be the best for a short time. Soon enough age will slow you down and the younger players will take over. Then you need to accept that being a competitive player has gone and that you must pursue other things.

At each 'plateau' you have to accept that you aren't the best. That you need to just listen and learn to move up.  You have to be humble and steel yourself for the work that is ahead of you.  Most people can't and they drop out.

These two have just done a tough judo session and being the lowest grades they get to mop the mat The two young guys mopping the floor in the photo are learning  great lessons about humility and hard work.  But we loved that they are smiling and getting on with the job.

And that's actually what Big Judo is about.  We are building strong resilient people willing to take the 'rough with the smooth', accept that there is path to be followed and work hard with good humour to achieve their goals.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Big Weekend for Big Judo

Awesome weekend at the Waikato Bay of Plenty Open competition.  We took five people down to Rotorua and four won medals.  Everybody performed very well.  Good stand up Judo, killer ground work and lots of heart. We will put up some more photos as people send them through.

Wiremu looking happy with a Gold for his weight and a Bronze in the Open Weight Category.

Noah also looking pretty happy.  Bronzes in his weight in two age division.  Well done.  

Scott and Wiremu.. It is Scott's first time back on the mat after taking a break to 'grow into' his next age group.  He did very well winning Silver in his weight. 

Sorry don't have a photo of Cherry with her medals She won her weight and then the weight above. 

All round an awesome day.  We also had strong contingents of supporters out watching and cheering. 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Big Judo's Japanese Visitor

A nice photo of our latest visitor - Chisato.  We have been lucky because we get a few long-term visitors particularly women.  It is probably because we have Nellie who is a very good female coach. 

Not so long ago we had Pia from Germany and now we have Chisato from Japan.  Both were competitive Black Belts with really nice technique and have improved our Judoka's performance.

Visitors lift our game because in many countries Judo is a much stronger sport. Also they often have different styles of Judo, exposure to which, improves our Judo.  Finally, it is really good for Big Judo's young women to meet strong female players so they know that there is a pathway for them in the sport.

Both Pia and Chisato have helped out with training and we really appreciate having them as part of the Big Judo family. 

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Big Saturday Training and Farewell Jaocb

Great day on Saturday,  nice adults class followed by a BBQ to farewell Jacob who is off to Japan this month.  We look forward to him coming back even better. Good luck.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Big Judo Gets Bigger

Well the church has let us leave our mats down and we have appox. 160 sqm of mats on a springy wooden floor.  Awesome,

Sunday, 6 May 2018

More Cool Photos

Another set of nice photos sent in by a parent - Thanks heaps Mike. 

Little kids lined up and ready to go. 

Kids in action on the ground.

The kids lined up ready for ne-waza (ground fighting)..  Nice well behaved kids with older club mates helping out too  Awesome

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Big Judo Little Guns Start Term Two

Term Two kicked off this week and we had lots of kids on the mat. It was awesome if we can start the winter with large classes we are in a really good position to have a great year.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

New Big Judo Big Gun Well Done Noah

Well done Noah.  Two Silvers and a Bronze medal at the Wellington Open.  This photo says it all.  Noah started in the club and is growing into good fighter and great guy. Well done.  

Pukekohe Kids Training

Some photos of the Big Judo Kids in Pukekohe training.

Big Judo teaches Kosen style Judo and we take a lot of pride in being good on the ground,. We get the kids started early on ground fighting and push them at it,.  We also put a lot of emphasis on develop 'flow' and 'control' as they transition from standing to the ground. Here the kids are drilling the guard and 'passing' through the 'guard'.

Games help us teach balance and coordination.

At Pukekohe the mats have to put out and packed away.  Some people moan about putting mats up and down, but these kids are having a good time.  More importantly they are learning that sometimes you have to work a little to get what you want in life.  And if you have to work there;'s no point whinging just make the best of it.