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  • Writer's pictureRoss Taylor

International Womens Day @ Drake Judo Club

Some of our Junior girls

Today is International Women's day, a chance for people around the world to celebrate females of all ages and to recognise there achievements.

So i thought here at Drake Judo Club we would do the same, its no secret that one of the things I'm most proud of is our female members and the numbers we have within the club(we are very nearly 50:50 ratio male and female members), sadly this is not always reflected at other clubs

A quick history lesson of you, In times gone by Judo was looked on as exclusively a male sport and indeed was completely male dominated with women only permitted to perform Kata and a ladies black belt had to have a strip of white going through the middle to symbolise the inferiority, As i have mentioned before the first World Championship for men began in the 1950's, the first for Women didn't arrive until 1980... the first Olympics which featured men was 1964 and for women it was not until 1992 that they were able to compete under the famous rings

Chris in action in the early days of women competitive Judo

Judo was seen as 'Macho' and this was a word that would have never been used in any sort of conjunction or association with the word 'feminine' this attitude continued up to the 1980's

However though efforts by previous generations and hard work and campaigning that continues to this day the words 'power' 'strength' 'speed' 'skill' are being attributed to girls. ladies, women of all ages(at least in the UK and Europe), the preconception that femininity means physical weakness is hopefully becoming consigned to the past and we only have to look at our own club for undeniable proof that this is changing

Chris with 3 year old Lexi

If we start at the top we have perhaps our finest example, our Vice-President Chris Gallie(nee Child) was one of the pioneering women that made it possible for girls today to be able to compete in all the same competitions as men. Christine was one of the first competitive female players in the world!, her achievements on the mat included being twice European Champion and world number 1, Christine as i mentioned was not able to compete in World championships or Olympic games(though she would have doubtless won both) and had with the rest of the small amount of competitive ladies to fight both literally and figuratively to be able to compete, Christine was the first women allowed to train with the elite men at the Budokwai and was the first women Britain to be awarded a 5th Dan. in her personal life Christine was a stunt women on the Tv show the Avengers and a personal fitness trainer

Moving on we have our own Ros Hopkins(nee Lucas) who was coached by Christine and achieved the distinction of being selected for Pre-Cadet, cadet. Junior and Masters GB squads,in conjunction with winning countless medals and titles and Ros is currently British Champion for Masters and is a 1st Dan black belt, a fantastic example to our young players both female and male.

Roz and her daughter Alanna both with their national medals

Also in our coaching team we have Corey-Ann who also is a 1st Dan black belt and likewise has won lots of medals and continues to do so for Drake, she is also a gymnastics coach and the work she has implemented on core development as paid real dividends for our players.

In Ashburton we have Mandy who has taken up Judo just to be able to help coach the juniors discovered that she is somewhat of a natural! we are hoping to see Mandy compete this year. an asset to our club and along with Mike the main reason Ashburton is thriving currently

Away from the mat we have our welfare officer Jess who has potentially the most important job here at DJC. It includes making sure all of our players and members are treated with respect and care and are protected. mountains of paperwork and countless hours on courses are not seen firsthand by our members

Alanna with Olympic silver medalist Gemma Gibbons

Andrea is our equity officer and ensures that coaches and members are educated in inclusion across all spectrums including but not exclusively gender, Sexuality, Social Economic Background, and Ethnic background

We then have all of the Mums,who bring our junior members to Judo every week, cheer them on in competition and encourage them to reach their potential

Welfare officer Jess and Denise during our beginner classes

we have our senior female members which I'm pleased to say are increasing(if you are reading this i hope you by now realise that you SHOULD be doing judo) and doing a fine job, I'm hoping we take our first low grade medal from one of these ladies this year.

And finally to our Junior girls i am so so proud of you all,

you're the reason for everyones hard work but you're the reason its all so worthwhile, keep being awesome



Drake Judo Club

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