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Drake Judo Club began on the 25th of February 2016, its two founders were Ross Taylor and Charles Knape, the name ‘Drake’ was chosen as the club had classes in both Tavistock and Plymouth and a name was needed that would be reflective of both locations.

Our club began with our launch in Plymouth and Tavistock and we were overwhelmed to have so much support, we quickly managed to form a full committee and began to deliver our classes on a Friday in Tavistock and Saturday in Plymouth at the Life Centre.

We brought Olympic Silver medallist Gemma Gibbons to Plymouth for the first time for a Masterclass which was very well received and covered by the local BBC News team. During this time we also set up our first interclub festivals with the idea of giving players competition preparation and giving members a chance to socialise and get to know each other. We hosted our first Devon training session and Alanna Hopkins and Jack Murphy became our first players to receive their county honours.

We hosted Bradley Stoke Judo Club for a joint training session which was very popular and had guest coaches come in from lots of different clubs in the Devon area.

Mike Nugent joined us as our Head Coach and Corey-Ann Bassett joined us as a junior coach. We launched our SHO grade Syllabus for our under 8 players and held the first of our regular grading's. We finished the year with 1 green, 2 Orange, 10 Yellow and large group of red and SHO belts. At the end of the year we had 5 Dan grade(Black Belts) as part of the club.

We started a Senior class in Tavistock which proved popular and some of our mums and Dads tried Judo for the first time.

We selected a ‘Squad’ of the competitive players and created an exclusive session on a Wednesday night for them to train specifics, We hosted double Olympian and European medallist Colin Oates and his Dad and they delivered a masterclass which attracted players from across Devon.


We launched a Monday night Senior beginner class with Lee Perry joining the club as a coach specifically for this session. We appointed Allan Perry to be our constitutional President which enabled us to hold our first AGM which was held at the Life Centre.

We held recruitment sessions at Easter which brought new members to both Tavistock and Plymouth, Jack and Charlotte became our first members to enter the British Schools Championships. A team of 5 entered the BJC National Championships each bringing back a bronze medal, IJF referee and 6th Dan Patricia Warren visited the club and did a session on Self Defence.

We attended the Western Area Closed and came away with 5 area champions. Our squad has a trip to Bath University to train with the elite Squad including Olympian Ben Fletcher and World renowned coach Juergen Klinger.

We achieved UK Sport Club Mark in record time for a BJA club by establishing a Yellow Belt link with Whitchurch Primary and a Black Belt link with Tavistock College. We had a joint training day with Kingsley School Judo Club and Jack was the first Drake Judo player to receive his Western Area squad call up.

Alanna Hopkins took gold at the Kent International to give Drake its first International title. We appointed Jack Murphy and Lucy Knape as Club Captain and Club Vice-Captain.

We took our first non-Judo social as we all headed out for a sushi making class which was featured in the local press. DJC took its first club trophy as we won a club competition in Cornwall. Dan organised arguably the biggest non judo social of the year with the beach day which gave families a chance to socialise.


Mike Askew joined us a s a coach as did Steve Coles and Gary Gregory . We launched our first school session at Tavistock School followed by a student session with a link at Marjons University. We then launched our 3rd location based class by opening a class in Ashburton and started specialised sessions for pupils excluded from mainstream education(ACE).

We hosted Brian Jacks 10th Dan for a Masterclass with Judoka from all over the Western Area attending this would be Brian’s only class ‘below’ London during the visit we appointed him as our honorary President. We appointed 5 Drake ‘Oya’ volunteers, trouble-shooters that coaches can call on for help during sessions and competitions. We hosted a ‘Drake Ladies’ social day at a spa.

We attended our first British Championships and came away with 3 Bronze medals and Ros became our first National Champion by taking gold in the National Masters championships, we appointed our first specific Sports Therapist and rehabilitator (Sophie) through our link with Marjons University.


Ros joined the coaching team at Devon county and also became the clubs first contest recorder along with a team of our volunteers who became Time Keepers.

Former Double European Champion and world number 1 Christine Gallie(nee Child) 7th Dan was appointed as our Honorary Vice-President, Christine is the highest graded female in the Western Area.

DJC took Bronze in the Club of the Year section at the BJA Awards and Dan Brown took Bronze in the Volunteer of the Year at the same event


Our higher graded Juniors took part in the England Judo(REDS) selection day with 6 players being selected onto the squad.


In our county championships we took a record 16 Gold medals and county titles more than any other club in Devon.


We marked Sir Francis Drakes birthday with cakes and a fun session at Tavistock.


DJC appointed former Olympian and World medallist Steve Gawthorpe as a coach with Steve taking monthly squad sessions with our players.


DJC committee members attended the Budokwai 100th Birthday celebrations with a gala dinner in London.


Andy and Dan became BJA technical officials after completing the necessary amount of competition experience.


Mike and Steve attended the EJU coaching Seminar with Hiroshi Katanishi which included all the top club coaches in the country.


We launched our ‘Pebble Art’ competition which was a big success.


We celebrated International Womens day with all our fabulous female players.


The Club also announced its latest black belt link and satellite club within Plymstock School.


Alanna and Jake were selected for the ‘Dream team’ at the Jamie MacDonald fundraising competition in Wales.


Head Coach Mike and Junior Coach Ross achieved their 3rd Dan and 2nd Dan Black Belt promotions respectively.

Dan, Mark, Corey and Kate all undertook and passed their UKCC Level 1 coaching course adding to our coaching team.

DJC held our 2nd Birthday Party and interclub festival.

We launched our ‘design a T-Shirt’ competition which led to some great designs.

Kieron Murphy attended an area referees course and became DJC’s first home grown referee.

We updated our policies to include GDPR in line with new government guidelines.

We hosted Karen Briggs for a masterclass.

DJC became a recognised supporter of ‘This Girl Can’.

Olympian and World Top 10 Ben Fletcher joined the DJC coaching team.

We took 21 medals at the Western Area closed championships.

We sent two players to the Kent International and returned with two medals.

We took medals at the English Open Minors.

We started a class at Sir john Hunt School with Pete Whitfield taking the coaching responsibility.

A record 80 members and there families attended the DJC Beach Social where the weather was with us.

We created a yellow belt link with Tavistock Primary.

We took 8 medals at the WA Open championships.

8 players attended the WA summer training camp.

DJC appointed Daisy as Club Vice-Captain after Lucy served her 1 year term.

We ran a successful Senior Beginners course gaining several new members in the process.

Phoebe attended the British Minors Championships in Thetford.

We attended a Judo Festival at Kingsley School for ‘World Judo Day’.

DJC again took a Bronze medal in the BJA annual awards for best club and DJC Welfare office Jess Frise took Gold.

DJC marked Anti Bullying week with a session where everyone was encouraged to wear blue suits.

DJC hosted its first ever Open competition ‘The Drake Open’.

DJC had a record 6 players attend the Pre-cadet and Cadet National Championships in Sheffield for the first time.

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