Five go to Berlin

Following strong performances at the British Kata Championships at the end of September, five British judoka – Val Kelly, Mercedes Martinez-Monroy, Tony Prosser, Lewis Hannington and Jim Crompton attended a Kodokan Judo Kata Seminar in Berlin on 3-8 November 2023.

The seminar was delivered by senior Kodokan teachers Motonari Sameshima Kodokan 8th Dan and Shuji Oshima Kodokan 7th Dan. It covered Nage-no-Kata (forms of throwing), Katame-no-Kata (forms of grappling, Kodokan Goshin-jutsu (Kodokan self-defence) and Ju-no-Kata (forms of flexibility).

Organised by the Berlin Judo Association (Judo-Verband Berlin), and enabled by Llyr Jones of the BJA Kata Commission, the event provided expert kata training and an opportunity to meet kata coaches and competitors from Germany, Austria Switzerland, Czech Republic and Greece.

Mercedes Martinez-Monroy of High Wycombe Judo Centre said: “During the four days of learning, Sameshima-sensei reinforced messages such as the importance of kuzushi, working in partnership, and many more concepts that we can apply to our daily life.”

After the event, Jim Crompton said: “The Kodokan training in Berlin surpassed all our expectations. Being trained by world-leading experts and having the opportunity to present our techniques to them has provided us with feedback that we can use to take our training to the next level. We also got to know some very knowledgeable athletes and coaches from Austria and Germany with whom I hope we can share knowledge and build long term relations. The key for us now is really putting all the points we learned into practice and passing them on to others across the UK to improve our national standard of kata.”

Reflecting on the excellent training, Lewis Hannington said: “At the moment this level of coaching is not available in the UK, so when it comes to performing on the European and World circuit this is the difference between just qualifying and turning up or whether you are in with a shot at the medals. I am proud to be at the forefront of this movement and am looking forward to sharing all we’ve learned on kata when we come back.”

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