Friday 23 November 2018

Big Judo Training Cool Photo

What we like about training at Big Judo is that as well as producing some really good young competitive players also have a really good inclusive, family vibe going.

That's why I liked this photo so much.

In the foreground there are kids doing Judo, if you look carefully you can see a grey haired 4th Dan doing randori with one of our young female players, on the sideline there are big tough looking  competitive players helping out with the kids and in the left background we have young women getting ready for the adult class.

Its magic.  Lots of people all working together to do Judo.  All helping each other to get better and to learn the lessons about life that Judo teaches you.  Awesome photo.

Sunday 28 October 2018

Big Judo Success at New Zealand Nationals

Very proud this weekend. Team Big performed really well at the New Zealand Judo Nationals.

Noah did very well in the Junior Men's Division. Winning a Bronze in the very competitive -81 kg Division. This was a magnificent performance considering the size of the pool, the quality of the competition and the fact that Noah is actually a Cadet. No wonder Nelly looks like a Cheshire Cat!

Noah then came second in the Junior Men's Open. No shame in that.  Keightly Watson fresh from the Junior Worlds is some pretty tough competition.

The next day, fight in his age group,Noah won two Golds one for his weight and one in the Open!

Scott placed third in the Senior Boys - 66 kg division..

Big's youngest competitor Wiremu had a good day.  With no other boys in his weight he had to fight in the next weight division up. Hey, no problem he won that then went on to win the Junior Boy's Open.  What a day three Golds!

And last but not least big ups to Jacob and Don.  Jacob is working hard and fighting well but breaking into a competitive weight division is really hard.  And Don well he certainly has the warrior spirit but it is now in a 58 year old body,  

Most importantly it is a day we can all be proud of because Big Judo is team effort.  With the exception of Don all of our fighters are people trained from the start and Big Judo.

The coaches work together and support each other.  

The parents and senior students support us and together we are starting to build some good Judo players within a strong Judo family.  Its awesome. 

No wonder these guys are smiling!

Sunday 21 October 2018

Big Judo Pukekohe

Big Judo isn't just 'big' in Sandringham. The Pukekohe crew are also pushing forwards and growing the team. Look at all the kids, especially the new ones.  Better yet we have really supportive parents and four experienced instructors. Even better Tracey was back on the mat last week and it was fantastic to see her. Awesome work!

Saturday 20 October 2018

Big Blue Judo Machine 2018 AGM

Big Blue Judo Machine gives notice that the 2018 AGM will be conducted on Saturday 3 November  2018 at 4.30 pm at the Sandringham Dojo.

As per Article 11.2 of the Constitution the business of the Annual General Meeting shall be:

(a)         To receive and approve the Annual Report and Financial Statements.
(b)         To elect officers.
(c)         To consider motions of which notice has been given.
(d)         To transact general business.

Members of Big Blue Judo Machine are welcome and will be emailed an agenda before the meeting. 

Saturday 6 October 2018

Big Visitor = Big Fun

This week was a big week at Big Judo,.  Keightley Watson came to visit. Keightley is a big young New Zealand Judo player weighing in about 150 kg and with nice technique that he has recently been honing in the Netherlands it was fantastic to host him.  He is on his way to the Junior World's in the Bahamas. 

So Big Judo rolled out a crew of our big boys (even I had a wrestle with him and Sam Rosser came down too) and we all had good time.  

Keightley is a great young guy he trained hard, didn't beat me and the other oldies up too much and we all had good time. It was also nice to discuss Judo with him and see a few of the techniques he has picked up in Europe. 

After the Saturday session.  

After Thursday night training.

Made sure I got this photo so that I could give you an idea of the size of good heavyweights. I am in the centre with the black t-shirt and Keightley is on the left and Sam Rosser who represented New Zealand at the Commonwelath Games is on the right in blue.  The other guy is Don ''Man of War' Fairley 58 and still going hard,

The best thing about hosting Keightley was that he was such a nice guy. Judo's not just about beating people up and winning its about relationships. Talking to him I thought a lot about Wanganui Judo Club, his Uncle Wayne and my mate Shaun Walton. Great guys and hopefully, this will be the first of many visits between Big Judo and Wanganui Judo Club and that those relationships will continue into the next generation.

Saturday 22 September 2018

Saturday at Big Judo - Reflections

Another nice Saturday at Big Judo. Its the end of the third term and a chance to reflect. 

We have recently had a group of little kids move up to the big kids class.  Its great to see the strategic plan is slowly taking shape.  Years ago we started with group of six-seven year olds and slowly but surely we have gone from little kids to bigger kids. We now have a couple of Green Belt kids and look at all the Orange Belts! A few years ago all we had was White Belts so it is enormously satisfying to see this progression. 

Even more important we have guys like Noah, Jacob, Geoff, Kyl, Trevor, Tony and Tracey who in the next year or two will move from Blue to Brown to Black who are all helping out with coaching.  My aim to become redundant is approaching! It also so important that we get our young competition players working with kids and coaching.  They are the future. 

Adults are growing in the same way. We started off with a gang of Dads.  Slowly over time we have brought young people through from the kids into the adults and attracted more senior players.  Now we have Green and Blue Belts who have come right through with Big Judo.  It  is very satisfying. 

We have also slowly qualifying or attracting good instructors. Nelly coming back on the mat as a coach has improved our standard of Judo enormously.  Tony finally completed his coaching qualification.  Todd joined us last year and is a Shodan with a Level 1 Coaching Qualification

By 2021 we will have a really good group of Blues, Browns and Blacks. Providing a good base for further growth. 

This is photo of Cherry (Chisato) who we will farewell soon.  It is sad to see her go. She is a lovely person and fights like a demon. She has been an example of courage and determination and raised our technical standards.  We will miss her terribly.  She is the second good female player that has come and trained with us. Pia from Germany was the first and she was awesome too. 

Big Judo is like a family and we are proud that Cherry and Pia both had a good time, were well looked after and will always be part of Big Judo. 

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Big Judo Visit Howick

On Monday night Big Judo took a crew over to Howick Judo Club for a visit.  We all had a great time. Howick is fifty years old and is a very well established Judo club. 

Most of the Big Judo team arrived at about 7pm and so trained with Howick's large class of young players.  Then  we trained with the adults from 8-9.30pm.

Inter-club visits used to be common and have dropped off in recent years. But Big Judo is keen to reverse that trend. You get better at Judo by doing Judo especially with the different people.

Even better,  its fun!  We all had a good time. Our young competition players had good workout against some strong opposition.

And the oldies got on the mat and shared their experience with younger (i.e. smaller )  players.

Ben from Big Judo squashes  a poor young cadet from Howick.  Actually he is teaching him about using Kosen style 'point control' position to dynamically control someone. 

Andd just so you know its not just Big Judo who brutalizes smaller people in the guise of learning here is Mike from Howick brutalizing a sweet young Japanese lady from Big Judo.

All joking aside.  Thanks heaps to Lawrie, Craig and Lester we all had a fantastic time and enjoyed their warmth, friendliness and good natured Judo.

Monday 10 September 2018

Cool Old School Photo

Saw this photo on the web and it brought back a lot of memories.  It is a cool old photo from about twenty years ago. 

University Judo Club at a competition.  Not sure which because it was one of many. 

Nelly is in the bottom left with Rick (when he had black hair!)

Beside Nellie is Morgan Endicott-Davies. Ivor Endicott-Davies is an old mate of Rick's from Japan days. Morgan his son  trained with Rick at University for reasonable period of time probably a year (could be wrong) but it was fun. Morgan was a tough fighter. 

Beside Morgan is the ageless Mike Sethna,

In the back row are Craig Bartlett (who is a Howick man but still a good guy) me, Don Fairley and Andrew Pragnell. All looking younger. 

Good times. 

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!