Scott Bailey and Milo at Richard Lloyd Charity Kyu Grade

Scott Bailey and Milo participated in their first competition at the Richard Lloyd Memorial Charity Kyu Grade on Saturday 30th April 2022. Leaving the competition with a bronze medal after winning one belt and losing two belts. Scott was competing against sighted judoka – Scott is a visually impaired Judoka and Milo is his guide dog.

Scott started his Judo journey ten months before entering the Richard Lloyd Memorial Charity Kyu Grade and competing in the 73kg weight classification. Before the competition, Scott felt nervous and anxious as he did not know what to expect until he attended. Before attending the competition, Scott was not expecting much but was expecting to gain a greater respect for Judo – learning how tournaments work. “I wasn’t expecting to win” when he entered the competition. “Everyone was friendly from the get-go” which put Scott’s nerves at ease! As soon as Scott arrived, Dermot (BJA Regional Support Officer) met Scott and Milo at the door. All judoka, officials, referees, and spectators were so welcoming, respectful, and understanding that they could not pet or stroke Milo. Throughout the competition everyone was so calm and helpful, “I was not expecting this as it was a competition setting, I thought people would be stressed as it can be a stressful environment. Everyone was so accommodating”.  The competition was a nice, smooth experience for Scott and Milo, it went better than expected for them. Scott would do another competition like the one he attended at the Richard Lloyd Memorial Charity Kyu Grade. “I would like to do every competition that is available to me”

 Scott (and Milo) decided to enter their first competition after 10 months of Judo. Scott’s coach encouraged him to enter. Scott enjoys judo and is grateful for the support from his coach for encouraging and pushing him to enter this come “I have always been quite competitive, that’s why I started judo, it’s the only competitive combat sport that I can do.” Entering this competition allowed Scott to build confidence and to push him further within his judo journey, “Pushing myself a bit further and want to compete at higher levels later on in my judo journey”. As this was a charity competition, it was nice to enter knowing that all money was going to a good course, “this was my first competition and one where it’s raising money. It’s nice to raise money for my first tournament”. The Richard Lloyd Memorial Charity Kyu Grade competition has provided Scott with more confidence to enter more competitions that are not for people who are visually impaired as they are accessible for Scott and Milo.

Scott has previous competition experience; his last competition was around seven – eight years ago. Before Scott lost sight he participated in boxing and Thai boxing, stopping around three years ago when he lost his sight. Finding a sport that is accessible for people who are visually impaired can be difficult, “I couldn’t find any sports to do since losing my sight, but Judo was on the British Blind sports list, so I went to my local judo club and loved it from day one”. Before Scott lost his sight, he was a farmer, but he is now training to be a mental health councillor. Since joining Crewe Judo Club it has helped support Scott with his mental health, “The judo mat is my break away from everything, all the worries of the world is left outside the dojo”. When Scott lost his sight, he went through a dark patch and felt helpless as if he didn’t want to be here anymore. Once Scott got Milo (his guide dog) and was able to do more stuff and become independent again as well as starting Judo, it gave Scott a purpose, something to focus on.

The Richard Lloyd Memorial Charity Kyu Grade was an extremely enjoyable day for Scott and Milo, as it boosted Scott confidence massively, “I was welcomed so warmly and kindly with my guide dog Milo”, a fantastic opportunity for them both. Scott was not expecting much from his first tournament other than gaining more confidence and a greater respect for the art of judo. Attending the competition allowed Scott to gain a further understanding of how they work “find my feet and see how tournaments run and work, gaining a win was absolutely fantastic”. Throughout the event all referees and officials were so helpful – they helped Scot onto the mat and spoke to him in a way that he could understand which was priceless for him. During the warmup before each event, coaches, officials, and referees were addressing Scott by using his name “by using my name I knew they were speaking to me which was very helpful as I cannot see the direction in which people are looking”.

After this event Scott is excited about the next competition and has boosted his confidence:I really cannot wait for my next tournament, and I will be arriving with more confidence”. Judo is a very inclusive sport and is welcoming for all regardless of their ability or disabilities “Judo is so inclusive it reduces the disability in my opinion and when I’m on them mats the weight of the world and the problems I face day to day seem to lift off my shoulders. With the spirit of Judo there is nothing a person cannot do”.