DJC @ The BJC National Championships
So it was time for some of our squad members to experience a 'bigger' competition than the small halls they are used to and also to enjoy some of the overnight stays and long drives that sadly living in the south west are a necessity.
Drake had entered 5 players for this year as a 'toe in the water' and all set off on Saturday, heading North East to Kettering(my place of birth incidentally) which is based on the Midlands/East Anglia border and is a fairly simple 4 hour drive to reach,
The night beforehand i was told tales(from Lottie) of a wild party which had taken place at the hotel where our players were staying. i had images in my head ofJake and Alanna arm wrestling locals for drinks and Tony and Dan hitting the dance floor but on a serious note it was a good chance for a team bonding session over nice pub food, something we have seen the guys at SBJC do very often.
On Sunday Morning, I myself had driven up and we all congregated at one end of the hall to see as usual a very impressive set up, 6 mats, trading tables, warm up area, all the things you would assocaite with a larger tournament, Jake was particularly impressed with this and it seemed to make him a little nervous as he didn't say much for the first 20 minutes!!
The BJC do try to keep things moving and we were provided with a running sheet with approx. times for groups to be called, sadly this went out of the window very early and proved of no use at all
First up after several confusing mat calls was Jake, who being light at his weight, took on boys who were 3kgs heavier a lot when this is 10% of your body weight, losing his first, Jake took on much taller opponent in his 2nd fight and won convincingly, this put him through to a semi final where again he was out sized and our first medal of the day was won
After this our players were called to the mat almost all at the same time, Lottie in a large group did very well with 2 victories to take a Bronze, especially as the BJC rule did not allow her to use Tani Otoshi,
Jack was very unlucky his group of 6 was strangley broken down into 2 groups of 3 and he was put in with the only other player who could live with him and lost avery close contest, smashing his next opponent he came away with Bronze but would have beaten every other player in the group by a mile.
Bogdan was in a HUGE group of some 15 players which contained either extremely tall skinny lads or normal height solid lads, with Bogdan falling into the latter, he had 6 contests and fell at the semi final stage earning himself a bronze medal in the process,
Last but not least was Alanna who due to the BJC grouping was the youngest and lightest in her group again 2 groups of 3?!? which saw her lose her first and win her 2nd contest coming away with Bronze
BJC rules forbid me from mat side coaching, which to be fair I'm not hugely opposed too, but sadly you are not allowed to shout any sort of instructions as it is the player who is penalised and I found myself with my hoody hood in my mouth a couple of times.
As always we have things to work on and things that need improvement, none of us is the finished article but i am as always immensely proud any time one of our players step out and represent our club and hearing ''FROM DRAKE JUDO CLUB...'' during medal presentations gives you a tingle up the spine! well it does for me anyway!