On Saturday 20th November, David Sensei travelled up to Hereford with Jessica and Laura whilst Tom travelled along behind (because he couldn't get ready on time). We all weighed in with some raised eyebrows amongst the BJC heirarchy when David annouced that he would compete. It was then time for some food and rest.
The next morning the competition started. First on where Jessica and Laura who quickly dominated their category with Jessica taking the Gold and Laura the Silver. Next came Tom's group which was one of the larger categories. Tom quickly made his mark and with very little rest between the fights managed to win all but one thereby grabbing Silver.
David Sensei was on by around lunch and with only one other entered into that category it was a contest for who would get Gold. A result that was never much in doubt. David set himself a target of lasting a minute and was well satisfied when the contest ended with a solid Tai Otoshi just short of the two minute mark. Joesef (the opponenent) is clearly in terms of contest fitness, in a different league and would probably have beaten anyone else in this category.
Jessica is contesting against Emma, a talented young lady from Lancashire. The contest starts off with Jessica making a few failed attempts at throws, mainly because her throwing technique is better suited to taller opponents and they end up on the ground. Emma attempts to get a strangle on Jessica but this fails. Upon restarting Emma makes a feint with Uchi Mata and immediately combines this with Ko Uchi Gari which was probably her real intent. Jessica counters this and takes her to the floor for Wazari with Ko Soto Gari. Jessica quickly secures a hold down and this assures her success.
Jessica v Laura Day
The twins train with each other at almost every club session so are familiar with each others style and the methods that they use. There is never any certainty as to who will prevail. In this contest, they are both a bit under the weather but are still having a good go at each other. The techniques come in quickly but none seem to really come off properly and their time on the ground is not fruitful for either. Towards the end of the contest they are clearly tiring and their speed is suffering. Laura puts in a good feint with her right foot in order to get Jessica to take her left foot back thereby opening her up for a Tai Otoshi. But the feint was not very convincing nor the spin into Tai Otoshi as fast as usual. At the end of the contest there is no score and Jessica wins by
Jessica v Laura
Laura is now up against Emma. Laura's technique is better suited to the smaller opponent and here she quickly brings Emma to the floor with a messy Harai Goshi which nevertheless scores Wazari. On the ground she quickly takes charge and manages to extract an armlock with Udi Hisighi Juji Gatame. We can't see it being applied because of the contestants positioning with respect to the camera, but its success is clear.
Tom is dominant throughout this contest but fails to really take control until the minute mark with a good O Soto Gari which scores Wazari. Unable to capitalise with this on the ground they come to standing again.
His opponent manages to throw Tom for Yuko but on the ground Tom succeeds in obtaining a messy Muni Gatame which he manages to hold to win the contest.
In this contest Tom quickly takes control and within just a few seconds brings his opponent down with a throw that is half way between a Harai Goshi and Tai Otoshi. But it is a solid throw that is initially scored as Ippon but upon reflection, the referee (correctly in Sensei view) waives the score and gives it a Wazari.
This seems to have upset Tom's stride a bit and he is not quite so dominant for the next minute. But when his opponent is given a Shido, Tom reasserts himself bringing his opponent down with an Uki Goshi for a Yuko. A short while later, Tom takes his opponent down with a very solid Ko Soto Gari which finishes this contest off.
Tom's third contest is very short. Early on Tom secures the grip he wants and then turns directly into Tani Otoshi to throw his opponent for Ippon. It is worth noting that Tom, midway through the throw, is already moving into hold down position in order to secure his opponent on the ground in case the throw does not secure the Ippon. But in this case, the hold was not needed.
In this final fight of Tom's category, he is up against a very dedicated Judoka from Kent. Here he has his hands clearly more full than earlier and is on the defensive from the start. He is thrown with a nice Morote Seo Nage which scores Wazari and on the ground, Tom is strangled into submission.
Nevertheless, this is an exceptionally strong contestant that Tom was up against and he did well. In the medal presentation we can see that Tom has won the Silver and this is a very good result for his first appearance at this level.
In this contest, David is up against a Judoka named Josef from Poland who had several inches in height, more than a stone in weight and a decade less in age to his advantage. But this is as nought compared to the fact that he trains twice a week and does not coach.
The first problem upon taking grip was that Josef's grip was so solid and bearing down upon David's shoulder, that he was unable to move very much for fear of taking himself of balance and opening himself up to being thrown. David shouldn't have worried about this as the first throw was not long in coming. A very solid O Soto Gari knocked him to the ground for Wazari and left David thinking, "must get a better grip".
Some futile attempts were made at a technique but the end was inevitable as David was taken for a very nice Tai Otoshi giving Josef an Ippon.