The Bad Boy (Bogdan Losonczi) gets his Black Belt
This Dan grading promotion is, to a degree, a bit of a watershed for myself and especially Mike as Bogdan has been 'with us' for the last eleven years.
I remember quite clearly being at a PJC session and seeing this tiny little dot of a boy who had come to do Judo. Although he was not quite yet 5 he had been doing Judo in his Native Romania,
He could not speak any English and reminded me of a little version of one of our Orange belts called Zhivko (shoutout to Zhivko if he reads this). This little chap was called Bogdan and Alan was very taken with him as he was flying around all over the place attempting to throw the bigger people in the dojo.
I did not directly coach Bogdan much(I can hear Kylie saying out loud "thank god" at this point) but I did speak to his Mum alot and we all watched his progress from 4 to 8 with a keen sense of what he might achieve once he was old enough to compete.
When I left PJC to form Drake, I did not see Bogdan for probably 2 or 3 months, he had never really trained much at the lifecentre and as I mentioned had never really been trained by me so he was training under Mike at PJC on a Friday night. Then by chance, I bumped into his Mum, Sidonia in Sainsburys(other supermarkets are available) and after a quick chat she said Bogdan would like to come and join Drake, it was also around this time that Mike too had decided to join Drake.
The rest they say is history, I gave Bogdan his nickname of 'Bad Boy' (not because he missbehaved, he has always been a respectful Judoka) but because of his attitude, he always had a twinkle behind his eye which said ''you dont know what I'm thinking''!
Over the last 7 years other younger players should realise that there have been many many ups, he is a National Medalist, a Schools Medalist, won pretty much all the local events, however there have been times when he doubted himself and told me on several occassions that he wanted to quit.
Many the time I've been sat in his Mum's kitchen eating Romainian cakes and trying to find out what the real reason was, most of the time it was that old issue, confidence. Bogdan has always had incredibly high standards which he then grades himself against, some times, when he didnt reach those, he was very hard on himself. So let this be a lesson to all our younger players, you must keep going, listen to your parents and your coaches.
One low point came at the BJC nationals, he didn't fight very well and I told him so, there is a famous photo of him(pictured) on the podium right after we had the conversation! However, he always was the one to come back and tell me his new plan for his Judo and how he was going to get better. One memory I have is working on a st
ratergy to beat a player whom he had lost to several times in local competition, he had now pulled this player in the semi finals of the
British Schools, we worked on a plan and he executed it perfectly, he never lost to that player again.
Enter Gary, Gary as some of you might know is an incredibly complicated person manifested into a incredibly uncomplicated person, who knows advanced Judo better than most. When he joined Drake, Bogdan was immediatley taken with him and what Gary could add to his Judo, it turned out to be very signficant and his Judo went up several levels, his attitude changed somewhat as well, now daring to believe he may actually turn out to be a good player?
Lewis too has added to the whole recipe and we have a player now whom I would not bet against in competition,
There is also the helpful side to Bogdan too, he helped me at Sparkwell for a long time (like Callum before him) he has driven countless places to unload mats, always the first to volunteer for a trip or anything Judo related.
Drake Judo Club is incredibly proud that this Judoka has achieved his Dan grade at only 15 years old he will be one of the youngest players in the UK with this grade.
As they say in the old country 'felicitări Bogdi'