DJC @ The Cadet & Pre-Cadet English Open
Sunday the 23rd of Feb saw DJC pack up and head up to the BJA Centre of Excellence in Walsall for the Pre-Cadet & Cadet Open, the venue was on the campus of the University of Wolverhampton where the recent Midland Open was held so the venue is becoming quite familiar to us.
Tony had taken Jack up very early as the Cadet Boys were fighting first, Andy had also taken Lottie up the previous evening so myself along with Jess crammed into my small MPV along with Bogdan, Reuben, Ellie and Maria for a 6am departure
The journey up was relaxed and nerves were pretty subdued at this point.
The English Open is 2nd only to the British Championships and typically attracts the same entrants from both competitions, as this is our first year on the circuit, mine and Mike's expectations for the day were to gauge where our development was as compared to the Country's top players
We arrived just as Jack had been called to his mat, Jack has made DJC history recently by becoming our first home grown junior brown belt and again more recently as he has recently transitioned into our first senior brown belt, the difference? he can now start accumulating points for his black belt, If he can achieve this within the next 18 months he will be one of the youngest black belts in the UK.
Jacks first contest was tough with the other player constantly going for drop seoi nage, luckily jack is extremely flexible and he is rarely caught with this technique.
Jack made it through to the cross over in a group that had almost 40 entrants which meant he was down to the last 12 places. He put in his usual Captains performance and came away with a joint 7th place. Jack still as always impresses me as he is our only cadet player and always gives 100% and is always very self analytical after contests.
Reuben continues his own journey through our long term development plan, he is making improvements with every competition. He knows the specifics of what he needs to do to improve including some banker techniques and also looking to impose himself on contests, he performed very well at this high stage and is eagerly waiting for the next training sessions
No place for Reuben today but not out of place with the top players
Bogdan continues his improvement in fitness, however he is still stuck in between 2 weight groups, too big for U50's and on the smaller side for U55's(if he was a girl I'm sure he would thrive in U52's) He had a very tough first contest with a boy from Tonbridge and then had a equally tough 2nd contest against a boy who probably shouldn't have lost his first, it was very competitive and Bogdan adjusted very well, attempting some techniques which are not usually part of his Arsenal, as per-usual he was very self critical and i have learned that it is best to leave him for a few minutes, Bogdan needs to continue his clean living philosophy that he has recently taken up and continue to train hard and his improvement will continue
No place for Bogdan today
Charlotte missed out the u48's by only 200 grams so was again placed in the u52's which makes her at a slight disadvantage as she is giving away around 10% bodyweight to some of the bigger girls. Her first contest was competitive but she unfortunately just got caught. Her 2nd contest ended with an injury and sadly for me was the one contest of the day i was not able to attend mat-side personally, said injury was very worrying at first as it seemed to be spine related but thankfully after the First Aiders at Samurai took care of her it seemed to be muscular. Charlotte knows that hard work reaps rewards and I've no doubt we will see more of continued improvement throughout this year
No place for Charlotte today
Ellie has been getting better and better over the last 6 months, her attitude is an example to any young player, she gets her head down and cracks on with training and her Judo is becoming more and more dynamic, with her Ne-waza a particular weapon, she does get nervous before contests and this is something we are working on. Her first contest was a scrappy affair with the other girl not really wanting to engage and Ellie just missed out. She re-set and entered her next contest where she beat the girl very easily which gave her a confidence boost, this was quickly followed up with her next contest and was one of the best performances i have seen from her, Gary watched it with me from mat side and made a couple of comments, the other girl just simply didn't know what to do,
Ellie reminded me during this contest of a tazmanian devil! just with the constant pressure and dynamic attacks she won this contest after 2 minutes, this subsequently had taken a lot out of her and she had only a mere 3 minutes to recover before she headed back on to take on the National Silver medalist(and Brown belt to boot) Ellie started the contest well but ended up picking up a niggle to her collarbone(which she broke last year) which ended her day
5th place at the English Open is Ellie's best performance to date and demonstrates she is one of the best girls currently in the UK. She started to mention the British Schools in the car on the way home!
Maria has had a very good start to 2019 with a Bronze at the Midlands this bright start is even more endearing as she has been managing several niggily injuries, yesterday this included a burn on her hand and a painful injury to two of her fingers which is obviously a big hinderance in Judo! also she always suffers from bad nerves and these injuries did not help matters within this sphere. This then seemed to effect her in her first contest where she was very un Maria like, being rather flat and ended up on the losing side, the group of U52's was very busy which meant she we have to win the next 4 contests in a row to be able to claim a medal, her next contest was much better the other girl wasn't very interested and ended up being disqualified for a variety of shidos, her next contest was classic Maria. Her Ne-waza (which is usually very sound) was just hindered by her hand and so she had to rely on her standing work which is very strong and impactful, brushing this and the next girl aside she was into the bronze medal final against a girl who had lost the semi final for Gold, This contest was a classic case of Maria breaking the girls heart, too strong and too dominant and threw the girl twice with O-Soto-Gari to take a very well deserved Bronze, make no mistake this medal is the best of Maria's career so far and gives her a place as one of the top girls in the UK
It was a wonderful atmosphere for DJC with many other clubs from the West in attendance, sadly we didn't arrive in time to see Taryn from Kazoku. We cheered on South Brent who had a good day with Cordy taking a Silver and Adam taking a Bronze, also we cheered on Pierre and Josh. Vita from Redruth took part having a tough day but learning a lot, Joab also from West Penryn (who has just joined the circuit and REDS) had a good day and also Trystan from Kingsley was very impressive taking a Bronze and Aimee was the star of the day taking gold!
Make no mistake the English Open is as tough and rich with talent as the British Championships as i previously mentioned and therefore it is important to put into context the aims from the day which as i said was mainly experience, most of our players have 3 or 4 years before they become juniors and their journey is a long one, patience with a strong work ethic will bring the desired results. in the main I am(and am quite sure Mike will be) happy with a progress and long may it continue
We arrived back rather blurry eyed at 11.30pm