Callum is presented his 1st Dan (Black Belt)
It does not seem more than 5 minutes
since Callum and his Mum, Claire, turned up to one of our taster sessions when he was a mere 12 years old wanting to have a go a Judo.
In reality its almost 6 years ago and during that time Callum has become one of our mainstay players, being involved in all areas of Drake Judo Club, whether it be training, competing, coaching, and as a big part of the social scene
I remember first meeting him and thinking that he was quite tall for his age(certainly nothing compared to his current 6ft 2 frame) and that he was clearly very intelligent but that perhaps Judo would prove to be a little too physical
for him (I guess prophecy isnt one of my strong points!).
Over the last 6 years there have been many memorable junior Callum 'moments' including; his Dad's horror when he won a giant teddy bear at one of our first Xmas parties, his titanic battle with a Russian Public School boy where he took a bronze medal, terryfying the Sparkwell kids dressed as a skeleton at halloween, or providing a famous comedy double act with Bogdan.
Wednesday the 23rd of Feburary 2022 was Callum's evening though, Covid robbed him of campagining for his Dan grade after he passed his Brown belt theory in 2019. He has however waited patiently, (DJC has also waited patiently, having only founded 6 years ago, we have never been in a position to see one of our home grown players even attempt to reach this level as none of them have been old enough!)
At a grading in Reading, Callum arrived having already amassed 70 points so required an additional 30 to complete the requirements.
He won his first two contests by Ippon, which then qualified him for a 3 man lineup. Although he only needed 1 victory, if he didnt get it in his first fight that would be it and he would have ended the day 10 points short.
This proved to be no concern as he beat his first man and then proceeded to beat the other two as well completing the lineup.
Wednesday evening saw our head coach, Mike Nugent, 3rd Dan, present Callum with his black belt, afterwhich, as is tradition, he took on a 3 man line up of dan grade coaches, Gary, Mike and Steve.
Congratulations to Callum, a wonderful young man who I'm sure will represent Judo, and Drake, well in the future.