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  • Writer's pictureRoss Taylor

The 'Drake Birthday Bash' Competition

Sunday the 28th of April saw Drake Judo Club host the first 'Birthday Bash' to celebrate 3 years since we were founded.

It was in February of 2016 that Charles and I registered the club with the BJA and what a 3 years it has been!

in the last 2 years we had marked the occasion with a simple get together of members, however after the success of 'The Drake Open' in November of 2018 we decided that we would run an open competition.

We still wanted to maintain the atmosphere of a birthday party though and so we wanted to make it a little different to the usual type of competition that most players are used to

The first thing we did to compliment the actual competition was to launch a birthday cake baking competition, which someone cleverly came up with the idea to name it 'The Great British Drake Off' it wasn't known when this was first suggested as an idea whether it would be something Judo players and their families would be interested in.

Im happy to say the response was fantastic with over 20 cakes entered but more of that later

Nothing in Judo compares to the atmosphere of a team event therefore it would make sense to have this as a part of the day, DJC spoke to Richard the Chairman of Cornwall County Judo and proposed a challenge match between a team from Drake and a team representing the county of Cornwall, Richard agreed that he thought it was an idea worth trying so we coupled this with a development red & yellow belt as the main body of the competition and we were set.

The competition was being based from our main dojo in Tavistock, a different set-up and a venue which presented both advantages and dis-advantages over the LifeCentre where we held the Drake Open

Set up started the Saturday evening before the competition with myself, Charles, Jess and Matt moving and shifting various mats and chairs etc. Andy then set up all the electronic equipment needed, including a set of scales kindly lent to us by South Brent JC

Sunday morning it was all hands to the pump as we had a full entry(80 players) of yellow and red belts and the 22 Team Players who could be any Grade from Green and below, with only one mat area we were aware that the day's timings would be tight, the Tamr bridge being closed due to high winds did not help matters as many of our entries were from Cornwall

I was very happy that out of the 80 entries we had players from BJA, BJC and AJA clubs, entries from clubs all over the Western Area but heavily focused on Devon & Cornwall

The contests went very well with some excellent judo being on display, as a development event the focus is not so much on winning but how the players are developing. I'm pleased to say we saw some fantastic Judo!

First up came the lightweight boys who flew around the mat like little Tasmanian devils, after this came the heavyweight boys and all girls

Medals were presented by World Masters Medalist Mark Adams 4th Dan and Western Area Chairman Andy Scott who had along with his wife Christine attended to show support which we were very grateful for

In between the contests, DJC's version of Paul & Pru in our case Charles and Ruby judged the Great British Drake Off' with an amazing cake from West Penwith Judo Club being declared he winner, but we were amazed by the creative output from ALL the entrants! the cakes were then cut up and sold with all the proceeds going to the Drake Player Fund.

After the Red & Yellow belt competition ended we moved onto the Team event, i have written a separate report about the details of the contests and results and this can be viewed by clicking the following link

The result which saw DJC both the girls and boys team contests was fantastic and the atmosphere was amazing

We commissioned a special Trophy to be commissioned for the event The Drake Challenge Trophy' which depicts a large bronze samurai warrior calling to war, mounted on a wooden base and was created by Bryan Green and looked amazing(though extremely heavy)

The day was a huge success, there was a lot of waiting around which will be rectified next year with further staggers in weigh in times, for this i do apologise but as it was our fist time trying the format it was to be understood.

A big thankyou to Ginsters Pasties who sponsored our compeititon

A massive thanks to all our volunteers on the day, a special mention for Jade, Vicki and Jess for running our café, to Richard, Darren and Amber who refereed, to Andy, Jess, Ros, Will and Christine for the official work and to Juliet who took all the official photos and to Mark for presenting medals

Also a massive thanks to the clubs, parents and most importantly all the players who took part and remember no matter the result you had on the day, Judo is an individual journey for all of us

As Gunji Koizumi the father of British Judo once said

''The man who is at the peak of his success, and the man who have just failed are in exactly the same position. Each must decide what he will do next''


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