Sheffield University Kyu Grade Tourney

Upon arriving at the Students’ Union at 5.45am, the chat amongst the judokas was mainly focused not on how we were going to dominate the competition, but more how much we were going to sleep on the way up.

After a short wait, G&T and Rob arrived with a caddy full of the Bath judo team. After jumping in and making a quick U-turn we were off- and by that I mean off to sleep! I can’t speak for the other car at this point, but not a single word was said in the caddy past Dojos nightclub, as everyone zonked out. G&T valiantly kept himself awake rocking away to Maroon 5 and James Blunt.

Before we knew it, we had arrived in Sheffield dead on 9am as planned – great time management by the VPs. Weigh in commenced immediately, and before we knew it,  Georgey G and myself were warming up for our first fights. I was on first, and after a good motivational speech from Rob I was psyched to take my man down.  However a cross grip and some rather poor technique soon saw me  flat on my back for an ippon, in what was dubbed by my fellow team mates as the ‘5 second fight’ – one of the more embarrassing moments of my judo career. Despite this I managed to pick myself up and win my next two fights! Much to my disappointment I missed out on going through the pool stages on points.

Meanwhile Georgey G claimed 2 ‘kills’ on the mat taking him safely through the pool stages, using his rather unique counter-attacking style. Next up for George was the eventual winner. George pushed him really hard, but unfortunately lost on account of a shido – very tough. Much to George’s surprise he was then called up to fight in the play-offs for a potential place in the semi-finals. This again turned out to be a close encounter with ‘Lightening Bolt guy’, despite George’s consumption of one of Rob’s muffins.  George pushed hard but wasn’t able to find the ippon.

In the U-81kgs a win was looking on the cards for G&T as he was getting ever closer to hitting a huge uchi-mata, which is looking to be a huge weapon of his in the future. Having got up at 3.30am and driving all morning, fatigue didn’t help George, and it was gutting to not see him win. However there was many positives to take from his fights.

At the end of the day, the ladies among us managed to secure a gold, silver and bronze between them! Truly inspiring stuff. Hailes and Allyx kicked off their competition with an inter-club fight! After a very close affair lasting a few minutes, Allyx managed to get a huge ippon with a harai goshi. From this point on, Allyx was firing off harai goshi’s left, right and centre! Winning all her fights got her the gold and 30 points towards her black belt. Despite some foul play and injuries (nothing too serious), Hailes managed to battle through her opponents to take the silver. Last, but not least, Emily managed to secure the bronze in the O-57kgs with a great win over her first opponent!

After a successful day in Sheffield we headed home and treated ourselves to a much deserved Burger King on the way back (although a Maccie D’s would have been preferable). A great day out, and to anybody reading this wondering whether they should sign up to the next competition, my advice to you would be; what are you waiting for?! There honestly great fun and really rewarding.

Josh Zwetsloot



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