Judofit helps everyday mums enjoy benefits of Judo

Mike Caveney who runs Southlands Judo Club in Pallister Park, Middlesbrough took part in a two-day BJA JudoFit Training programme in Hull back in February in a bid to further develop his training skill-set and introduce a new fun exercise session for ladies at his club.

Southlands Judo Club has provided a “Ladies Only Social Judo” session since opening its new fixed mat Dojo last May. Although popular at first with mothers aged thirty-something plus, as the course progressed, the physical fighting and randori elements seemed to put the non-competitive females off and numbers began to dwindle.

Looking for a solution, Mike attended a JudoFit training course and found the answer to his troubles. Mike says that the course helped him to focus on Judo skills such as strength, fitness and conditioning in a fun way free of knocks and knocks and bumps, which was appealing for women who want to try Judo but not compete.

After the course, Mike set about preparing an hour-long programme, introducing it a fortnight later in place of the previous “Ladies Only” session.

“I had to rehearse moves and timings with Claire Harrison who also takes the sessions; this was something different for us; but oddly enough I was great fun doing that,” he said. “We eventually knocked together an hour’s worth of tunes we felt would work and entice some of the missing mothers back.

Initially, there was massive scepticism from the other coaches who saw it as little more than a dance.

“On the first session we only had four ladies on the mat and the sceptics sat at the edge of the mat and scoffed! However, the ladies who accepted the challenge loved it. Soon comments were posted on facebook and across other media, videos were taken and shared.

“We are now getting around 18 people on the mat each week; made up of intermediate teenage players, some of the women who did the Social Judo and women who had never been on a Judo mat but were helping in our kitchen. We were even more surprised that after much humble pie swallowing coaches and senior players who had scoffed before have taken part in the sessions, and enjoyed it. They said it is actually harder than it looks and one senior player who brings his daughter swears that it has helped him try techniques during Randori that he never would have done years ago.”

To find out more about JudoFit Courses contact dermot.heslop@britishjudo.org.uk. The next JudoFit Award will be in Gateshead from 26 to 27 October.