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Judo in Stafford, Belts Up!

Stafford judo club students have put themselves to the test and shown their skills. On Saturday 24th of February, 14 of Stafford's judoka have presented themselves to grade. Months of coaching and practice paid off in this in-club assessment. Firstly all had to demonstrate their proficiency in doing their Ukemi waza. Ukemi waza are break falling techniques to prevent injury whilst being thrown. All from the youngest to the oldest had to pass this to grade any further. Sessions of practice paid off, now onto the main grading. Judo grades people on three schemes depending on age. 

The first up were the under 8’s doing the Sho scheme. There were 5 students being looked at. At this level they focused on fundamental movement. They hopped, crawled, rolled and threw their way through their grading. All of them had to demonstrate some throws and holds at this level. Each one passed, showing all in club, the fun of youth. 

Up next were the Mon grades. Five presented themselves for grading at this level. The Mon grades are the older children from 8 to 15 years old. The oldest on the day was 13. As these students had graded before they had to demonstrate previous knowledge. This ensures they know their current grade before going for the next grade up. Then onto the main event, throws, holds and technical knowledge of referee calls ensured the next grades for these enthusiastic students were under their belts. 

Lastly were the seniors, Kyu grades (16 upwards). 4 up, 2 for the women and 2 for the men. 2 novices hunting for their first grade and 2 looking for their next step up. Cameron (16) came first; he was aiming for 4th Kyu, his orange belt. Next up was Lindsay (36) aiming to build on her last grading and going for 5th Kyu, her yellow belt. Both had graded before and rose to the challenge thrown down by Graham, 2nd Dan, level 3 coach who was assessing. Then came Sonia (over 50) and then Laurence (24), both their first time. Even as novices, no special treatment was given. Sonia gave a cracking performance, showing age is no barrier to a sport like Judo. Laurence, a sporty young man with Down’s syndrome. No question of deserving with his demonstration of technique. Both Sonia and Laurence now 6th Kyu. 

The final bow, that of relaxation, relief and celebration. All awarded their signed up licence and a shake of hand. New belts to order and old ones to hang up. The celebration continued in Burton Manor's club house with drinks and food. Laughs and jovial chatter over what’s been achieved and the next belts to go for. 

Stafford judo club's players are already in training for their next grading. We shall have to wait and see what this little judo club can produce from its site as part of Burton Manor Sports Association. Who knows if you may want to give it a go, the first session is free!