DJC @ The Junior & Senior British National Championships
The weekend of the 7th and 8th of December saw DJC head once again to the EIS in Sheffield for the British Championships, this time for the Junior(U20) and Senior titles.
We had our DJC sibling team of Max and Cordelia participating.
Saturday was the juniors and first up was Cordelia, who was fresh off her victory at the Cadets(U17) National Championships. With 4 titles to her name, this was seen very much as a bonus competition and expectations were obviously very reserved.
For those of you not aware, the Junior and Senior Championships runs in pools, not the usual knock out and repêchage. It can be a slightly complicated system but is seen as giving everyone the most contests to decide the medals.
Cordelia was facing a lot of girls who have been successful on the circuit and some girls had obviously identified her as a 'problem', with many of them being particularly negative in their approach.
Also Cordelia was called 2 and half hours early and was caught out as she had not eaten anything, had a 6 hour drive the day before and an early morning weigh in, this was a mistake - if any younger members are reading this, Gary stressed that you always need to be aware of this and its something you don't want to get caught out on.
Cordy then was fighting in an age group above and was low on energy, however a champions mentality of ''on my worst day I’m still better than most on their best day'' really came into play, with her own Judo not flowing as well as it usually would, she had to dig deep down and grind out the results, which she duly did taking Gold!
This is Cordelia's 2nd title in two weeks and an incredible 5th overall at 16 years old! She is now the number 1 ranked Cadet and the number 1 ranked Junior in the UK, with invites onto the British Squad for Cadet and Junior.
Max was up next. As we know, Max is currently based full time at the Centre of Excellence in Walsall (whilst also studying at Birmingham University), he has specific targets and goals from his coaches at the centre for this competition and has been working on developing his repertoire and posture further. British Judo promote 'Ippon Judo' the idea of achieving the Ippon, as opposed to tactical negative Judo.
Max displayed some beautiful Judo during the pools, including a massive front pick-up throw (Ura Nage), which resulted in a couple of players being lifted to the stars. The issue with his weight group (U100kgs) is that it’s loaded, including his main training partner Oliver Barratt from Wales. This meant when it came down to the final 4 the matches were incredibly close. Max ended up taking a bronze which by anyone else’s standard they would have been over the moon with, Max, however, was a little frustrated but had followed his own targets and aims.
Day 1 finished and we had a return of 1 Gold and 1 Bronze which was amazing!
So here's the thing, usually at the end the a first day of a big competition, Gary and I have a few pints back at the hotel and we discuss Judo philosophy. I get really engrossed listening to his view and take it as an opportunity to further and widen my own knowledge but the problem is, we get very into it and then usually a few drinks have been consumed and i tend forget the whole thing! I’ll have to bring a Dictaphone next time!
Day 2 - Sunday Morning
Cordelia had qualified for the Seniors independently and had also received an invite after winning the Juniors. She was going to be first up.
The expectations for this really were zero. This represented the best 10 females in the country at U78 (excluding Natalie Powell of course) and Cordy I think would have been relieved just to put up a good showing.
Her Judo on this morning was crackling. She smashed through the first group using amazing movement and Kumi Kata. This put her into the final 4, where she was guaranteed a bronze medal. This was nothing short of spectacular - These girls were meeting Cordy head on which produced some amazing contests. She had her first fight against GB International and World Junior Medallist Shelly Ludford, (who would take Gold on this day) I would encourage you to look at her BJA profile to see the standard of player Cordelia was mixing with: https://www.britishjudo.org.uk/players/shelley-ludford/.
So after all the contests had finished, Cordelia found herself with a Senior National Medal and an invite onto the British Squad along with her invite onto the Junior Squad - 3 National medals in 2 weeks, including two titles is nothing short of inspiring, and hey! Cordy trains every Monday and Wednesday at our Flo dojo, so, Green Belts and above get down there!!
Next up was Max who would be fighting in the Seniors for the first time alongside the Junior Champion of the previous day, Barratt from Wales and McWatt from Scotland, who took the Silver along with 6 other of the best light Heavyweights in the country. This again was going to be a bit of a shot in the dark.
Max started very well, winning his first couple of contests and was making his way through the group. A loss to the eventual Champion and British Senior number 1 by the tightest of margins was a positive sign. Again, I would encourage you to check him out: https://www.britishjudo.org.uk/players/cailin-calder/ .
Max found himself in the final 4, where he missed out against McWatt, losing on Shidos meant, in all likelihood, it would be a 2nd Bronze medal. His final fight (or so we thought) was against Barratt who had only lost to the British number 1, so a victory against Max would have given him a Senior Silver, however, Max performed amazingly, pulling out a huge strangle for the ippon win. This threw a cat amongst the pigeons, although the gold medallist was clear, the three places below were all even on points meaning they would all have to fight again. By this time it was 5pm and all the other categories had finished. So ask yourself - what would you have done? You’re guaranteed a bronze medal, either way you have to re-fight your two biggest rivals? Max was first out and had a long and gruelling tactical battle with Mcwatt which resulted in a win for Max. Barratt then defeated Mcwatt.
So it came down to Max against Barratt for a winner taking all Silver medals. Barratt (who is a lovely guy by the way), had won the Junior title the day before and is was Maxs’ main training partner at Walsall - it was a tight contest. Max was attempting to 'Go Big' as was Barratt. In the end, with around 2 minutes left, Max launched a huge Uchi Mata which would have been an Ippon against 99% of other Judoka but Barratt just rotated enough that it was only scored Wazari.
This proved to be the winning score and Max, in his first Senior Nationals, takes a silver medal.
Medal Ceremonies followed by some promotional pics with fighting films.
Both were coached by Gary Gregory from Matside with myself as support.
The weekend was made more pleasant by having good company from Bondy, Chloe and all the Team Bath guys. It was also a time to catch up with other players and officials.
DJC, though very young (3 years old), is now offering the most comprehensive coaching and pathway for players. If you want to benefit from this and become the player you know you can be and can commit and attend(specifically Gary and Marks amazing Thursday class!) Don't ask yourself if you have the talent, ask yourself if you have the commitment and work ethic!!!
DJC has taken 9 National medals this year at Minor, Cadet, Junior, Senior and Masters - make sure you are part of it in the future. JOIN US