DJC @ The BJC Open National Championships
Over the weekend of the 28th of May a number of our Gen1 and Gen2 players made the trip up the M5 and across the M6 east to the town of my birth! Kettering for the BJC Open National Championships.
The BJC is a different association to the BJA, it is smaller but tends to be more focused on the martial art and style of Judo as apposed to the pure sport that the BJA offers, the BJC is however affiliated to the BJA and their grades are recognised universally
The trip started on Saturday where in convoy our players rendezvoused at a very nice hotel in Rugby(birth place of Neil Adams!) and a team bonding session and meal was the order of the evening, We knew going in that this competition would potentially be a watershed for some of our juniors in their current weight groups, however we were prepared for this and with the BJA Nationals taking place in October and December, now would be a good time to begin the transition, although we knew it would be close in a couple of cases!
I personally set off at 5.30am on Sunday morning when the roads were deserted and made good time to Kettering arriving around 9am.
Last year we took a group of 5 of our Gen1 players and returned with 5 Bronze medals which at the time (and still today) was a fantastic result, This year our number had upped to 13(Lucy sadly had to pull out with an injury) with a mixture of Gen1 Gen2 and even an appearance from Bizzy who is a Gen3 player.
The competition takes place at Kettering Leisure village and has a 6 mat set up with bleachers for spectators and trading tables etc, it is a wonderful introduction to a large competition especially for our younger juniors who have only ever experienced the 'small hall' competitions, Nate especially was impressed with the whole set up(perhaps nervous would be a better description)
The action started with our lightest players Erin and Pheebs(who just squeezed into her weight group)
Both started the day wonderfully with 2 quick wins each, sadly in Erins 3rd fight she sustained an injury and had to withdraw, but an unbeaten day for her and some lovely flowing Judo too. Phoebe who due to numbers had a bye in the first round easily won her second contest and then also sustained a nasty Knee injury in her next contest(though still won it by ippon) and was unable to continue in her semi final but took a bronze medal.
Bizzy was up next, she hasn't been doing Judo very long but has wonderful spirit and is continuing her development and had three solid fights all of which were very competitive and she picked up valuable experience, I'm very confident Bizzy will medal at this competition next year
Nate was next up in the Boys 8&9 section, the BJA do not offer a National Competition for this age group so this the highest achievement for someone of Nate's age, The BJC also start their young junior contests 'pre-gripped' this too was a new experience for Nate, his first contest lasted only a few seconds. His 2nd fight presented more of a challenge with a very strong defensive player which saw Nate throw
him with a tani otoshi which is a forbidden technique in the BJC, however the referees conferred and decided it was a Ko Soto Gari, which is permitted, however they then awarded the score to the other player! it proved moot when Nate threw the boy for Ippon in the next few seconds, another speedy win saw him into the final, Where he dispatched his opponent fairly quickly to take Gold
By now a lot of our juniors were being called to their respective mats, including our middleweight girls Lottie and Maria, who were on different mats being a weight group apart, Lottie did very well, dispatching her first two opponents with Tachi and Ne waza of equal measure, which put her into the semi final against DeeDee from South Brent who is a rival(in the friendliest sense) of Charlottes and the two of them have shared victories over each other in the last 6 months, today would prove to be Lotties day taking the win which then put her into the final against a girl who was obviously top of the weight and had a noticible size advantage, the contest was competitive with the other girl just edging it and Lottie took a very well earned silver.
Maria was in her usual mood of nervous smiles and looks of terror! but as usual she proved too much for her first opponent, chasing her round the mat and holding her down, in her 2nd contest she performed a beautiful O-goshi for an Ippon, 2 further contest wins saw her take Gold, 18 months after taking up Judo. A good return,
Our last girl up was Alanna, who suffered a little as she won her first 2 fights and then lost a 3rd and she and the rest of the girls were sent away being told they were finished but the numbers didn't add up and Ros realised Alanna had missed out on her last contest, after some mad scrabbling from Ros, Alanna had her last contest, Alanna has turned a corner recently and this was a good effort from her and she came away with a Bronze.
Now came the turn of the Boys, Will and Jake unfortunately for them are 'Very Average' sized boys and because of that they have the biggest groups, Will entered a new weight category being a mere 200g over! which meant he and Jake were in the same group of 17 players, Will had a tough assignment with most of the boys being bigger and more experienced, a fabulous performance from him though made all of his fights competitive and bodes well for his appearance at the BJA Nationals in October. Jake was in good form winning 3 fights in a row to win his group and progress into a winners group which was not very well balanced as the first player in the group had a bye which shouldn't have really happened, Jake fought well and ended up coming 5th out of 17 players, a good day but he struggled to see the positives which is understandable.
The 'Bad Boy' Bogdan was in good form and won his first 2 contests fairly routinely he then lost his next by descsion which was laughable but it is the risk you run if you don't finish the contest in regular time, Bogdan secured a Silver medal and improvement from his Bronze from last year.
Reuben was up next, Reuben is developing new techniques at the moment and its a case of one step back two steps forward, the day proved frustrating but he will bounce back. He took 5th place
I predict he will medal at this competition next year
We then had a short wait before Captain Jack took to the mat, Who looked on fire, winning his first contest with a turnover that Mike has been working on with the squad, the second contest was a big ippon from a throw. Then another Ne-Waza turn as he took his 3rd contest in a row, Finally the run came to an end with a close loss to the eventual gold medallist and Jack took an extremely well earned Bronze.
We only had one more person to cheer on and that was DJC Coach Corey! who with some pushing had entered at the last minute, Corey has been out of action for a long time and we didn't know how she would be in competition, the results were very pleasing, although she had a couple of contests against much heavier players the one contest where the weight difference was close and Corey launched her opponent with a huge Utsuri Goshi - Corey took a Bronze
A successful day for DJC, our groundwork was especially good at this competition which I believe is a direct result of the work Steve Gawthorpe and Mike have been doing and it will be exciting to see this continue
We finished then with 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 4 Bronze