Wednesday 16 December 2020

Reflecting on Two Important Moments at Big Judo


Tonight Big Judo had two significant moments.  In Epsom, Noah Wallis graded to Brown Belt passing a significant milestone in his Judo career. Nellie was at University Dojo to support him and Noah graded  in the same place Nellie and I received all of our grades. 

Noah started at Big Judo as a kid. He has matured in our dojo and is now a powerful fighter. Noah's grading tonight has wonderful symmetry because,  100 kilometres away at Big Judo Pukekawa we were also supporting Tracey with her end of year grading.  

Both events speak to Big Judo's philosophy and strategy for building strong Judo. In Epsom we were supporting and celebrating the success of a powerful young competitor.  In Pukekawa we are building the next generation and helping a fine coach teach good Judo. 

The success of both events made us all very proud. Well done Noah and Tracey you are both awesome.  

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Big Judo Youngsters Growing Up


Last week I noticed how the little kids were suddenly starting to get big!  Or am I shrinking? 

The young guys in this photo started training with us as eight to ten year olds and are getting bigger and stronger everyday. It is awesome to watch them develop,

At Big we are all looking forward to next year and a competition programme that is not so impacted by COVID. 

The cool thing is that sitting behind Noah Wallis are some pretty capable youngsters and here at Big Judo we are keen to see them on the mat.  Roll on 2021!

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Women in Judo - The Next Step?


Nellie with Noah a Junior Men's -81kg champ and silver medalist in the Men's - 81 kg. This year Noah won the Men's - 90kgs at the Auckland Open.   

Recently, Judo celebrated the 40th anniversary of women being able to compete at the World Championships, 

This event is cause for celebration and reflection.

We now see women athletes competing regularly and we have women coaches on the mat. But before we 'pat ourselves on the back' it is important that we don't think the fight for equity is over.

The key questions now are about women and their involvement in elite coaching. 

Admittedly there are women that run 'womens' teams but do we have any elite female coaches running squads or with responsibility for mixed national teams or tours?

I honestly don't know but one of my proudest achievements at Big Judo is recognisng that Nellie (my sister) is actually a better competitive coach and letting her lead our competitive programme. Big Judo is produces some good male competitors under Nellie's watch. 

More importantly we are gaining a generation of young men maturing that are used to seeing a woman in a pre-eminent position. Not a 'womens' coach but a competition coach.

Nellie is pretty exceptional but possibly her work at Big Judo is pointing towards a future in which female coaches are fully accepted and recognised by being selected to lead mixed teams, squads and tours rather than women just coaching women. 

It is a big step and there will be lots of people out there who will roll out the 'tired old lines' about women's Judo not being as competitive and women not being able to coach 'mens' Judo.

But my experience is that Nellie seems to be doing OK so maybe it is time to encourage more female coaches to step into leadership positions. 

Saturday 7 November 2020

Big Judo Getting Back to Work After Second Lockdown

 Since New Zealand's second COVID 19 'lock down' Big Judo has been concentrating on building up numbers and getting the team back on deck.  It looks like we are starting to get some traction. 

Today, Noah Wallis won the Junior Men's and Senior Men's Under 90kg divisions at the Auckland Champs.  Although our focus at the moment is getting numbers on the mat and providing good basic training we are very proud of Noah.  

Noah is an awesome young man. Not only has he maintained his fitness and competitive spirit he also gives back helping out with the kids and being a real stalwart of Big Judo. Well done Noah.   

The Saturday kids class was nice and big and we have good selection of new and returning players. Even without some of our regulars we still got a good turnout. Its also great to see the Dads and Cadets in the background helping with the class.  We work hard to provide an inclusive training environment and encourage our young people to be more than just competitors.

Even better we have been getting good adult turnouts on Saturdays and Tuesdays.  Here is Nelly in action teaching the Seniors. 

Sunday 2 August 2020

Big Judo Remembering Rick with a Tough Training

Last week we remembered Rick in the way he would have liked to be remembered. With a group of  Big Judo adults going 'hard out'in randori,  We had visitors and the team trained hard. It was really nice to watch our group of strong young players fighting hard and getting extended.

I like the photo below because it has lots of upright posture and good strong hip position, All with Rick watching over things in the background.It was bloody great.

The other thing that I think would have made Rick happy was watching young people helping us coach. Scott and Noah are doing a great job helping out. 

And if anything keeps Rick's legacy alive it is another generation teaching his style of Judo to the next generation.

Thursday 25 June 2020

Big Judo Adults Back Training

After months in 'lock down' Big Judo is slowly getting back to training. Adults have started training and at the beginning of next term kids classes will start again. 

Thought we'd share some photos of the team in Pukekohe first. Big Kyle is back on the mat looking lean and Matt Gibson is stepping up to help out with coaching., The crew are getting good numbers and we have some fit strong players working hard,  Awesome.

Sandringham is also up and running. We have so many talented young people in the 15-16 year old age group that the future is looking really good.

 Jordan is in NZ and making noises about coming back.  With Nellie's coaching and him and Noah these youngsters will be getting an awesome training experience. 

Get ready kids 21 July is the first Tuesday night back!!!

Saturday 14 March 2020

Another Big Week at Big Judo

We had another awesome session this Saturday at Big Judo. Katsuyoshi Saegusa turned up again and taught more technique. 

Yoshi was an accomplished competitor in Japan before emigrating to New Zealand. 

 He has superb tachi-waza (stand up technique) so it is wonderful to have him come over and visit.  

We had a nice turn out. Including Noah who is back from Australia at the moment.  

We were also lucky to have a translator there.  Although Yoshi has good English its great to have some of the technical concepts translated and interpreted by Dave (who knows a little bit about Japanese Judo),   

Learn by doing!

We also did plenty of ground fighting though!

My favourite photo of the day. Two Judo 'men of war' still going strong and helping teach the next generation. I first met these two guys when I was a teenager and 30 years later its great to still be on the mat with Donald and Yoshi.  Learnt heaps about Judo from both of them.  

Saturday 22 February 2020

Big Week at Big Judo

It was a big week at Big Judo this week.  We had plenty of good strong classes and even better old friends visited and trained with us.  

Shaun Walton, a friend for about thirty years visited both Pukekohe and Sandringham and had a couple of good sessions with the team.  In the early 90s Shaun and I used to travel down regularly   from University Judo Club to support training at Pukekohe Judo Club. 

So it brought back many, many fond memories, It was great see Shaun again and we shared a toast to absent friends Rick and Daniel.  

Katsuyoshi Saegusa was our second visitor. It is always awesome to have Yoshi on the mat. In his youth he was a top competitor in Japan then moved to New Zealand. In his day he was probably the best tachi waza (stand up fighting) fighter in New Zealand. He has the classical Japanese style of tachi waza that we try to teach at Big Judo.  So we were pleased to host him and let him coach the team on Saturday. Thanks Yoshi you also brought back many fond Judo memories. 

Scott learning about being Yoshis demo partner.  I remember being in the same position myself about 30 years ago!
It was really nice to have Yoshi and Shaun at training.  We have known each other for more than 30 years and it was wonderful to reminisce, catch and and share Judo with the next generation. And of course, afterwards we went out together for dinner and drinks.  

Reminded us of what Judo is about... people, especially training the next generation. 

Speaking of which here are some photos of the next generation in action both in town and in Pukekohe. The best bit of course is the old and young instructors helping out.  Awesome!!

Sunday 9 February 2020

Big Judo Saturday Session

The big boys and girls of Big Judo were in action this Saturday. We had a great relaxed friendly session with lots of randori.  A good time. 

Saturday 1 February 2020

Big Judo Starts 2020

2020 has started well for Big Judo.  Out in Pukekohe we are currently registering new adults. The adult class there is  going really well with nice supportive group of Seniors working together. We also had a strong first kids class which is awesome. 

In town the kids have kicked off and we had a nice first class for the year,  See the photo above.

The Seniors in town are looking exciting too. Noah Walliss has been back in town. It is awesome to have the big guy here and we have a nice group of teenagers supported by our club silver backs following his development.  With patience and little luck it looks like we have the potential to develop a few more competitive players this year. 

Nellie keeping a close eye of the seniors while they do ne waza (ground fighting)
Our biggest objective this year though is to consolidate our technical game.  We have a number of Blue Belts aiming for Brown Belt and a couple of Brown Belts looking at Black.  We also have some Black Belts keen to move up in Dan,  We don't give out grades easily at Big but we are getting to the stage where we are going to have few people moving up.   

The aim is to strengthen both ends (i.e. beginners and advanced players) and and keep working to the strategy we originally set.