The John Davies Western Area Summer Camp Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Thank you to Simon Ward who kindly provided this excellent write up for the 10th John Davies Western Area & England Judo International Summer Training Camp 2019:

Once again, young Judo athletes travelled to North Devon from all four home Nations and as far as America to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the John Davies Western Area Summer International Training Camp, hosted at Kingsley School, Bideford from Sunday 4th to Thursday 9th Augu st.

We also had the additional honour for the third successive year of welcoming the England Judo Development Squad “REDS” to the camp. The England Judo Programme has now included the Western Area camp as part of its criteria for its younger aged group athletes.

Back in 2010 we started the camp with just 22 Judoka from a handful of local clubs and a small team from Germany. This year we welcomed 80 Judoka aged 10 through to 17-year-olds. With young athletes traveling from many regions within England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and America, with an overall of 41 Judo clubs represented at the 2019 camp.

Some of these brilliant young judokas included many Judoka who have represented England at European Cadet Cups recently and we saw a large number of National Pre-Cadet Medallists. With the ability levels so varied it was a credit to all who took part, everyone played a part in inspiring each other and raising their training levels to an astonishing high.

This years coaching team included an excellent line-up with Sophie Cox who competed in the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games. Sophie has been one of Great Britain’s most successful female fighters winning the Commonwealth Games as well as winning an impressive four European Championships medals alongside her seven National Senior Titles. Elite Performance Coach Luke Preston, who as a fighter also represented Great Britain in many World and European level tournaments,. He is now a leading performance coach with his Camberley team, which includes Ashley McKenzie who is currently 15th in the world judo-ranking league. We also welcomed British Heavyweight champion and Team Bath Coach Adam Hall alongside Western Area lead Coach Simon Ward, adding to the wealth of experience and knowledge to the coaching sessions.

We also had a network of club coaches including Gary Jackson, Darren Haynes, Ros Hopkins, Robert Frood, Justin Allen, Ben Almond, Charlie Bond, Beth Ambrose and Amy Oram who supported every session.

The camp kicked off on Sunday with a session led by Simon Ward, who gently eased the judoka into training with some outstanding team building games and Newaza “Groundwork” development exercises leading into some fun tag randori. Adam Hall delivered our Monday morning training session after the group’s first early morning running conditioning session at 7am. Before Adam started our first technical session, everyone took time to acknowledge a one-minute applause in memory of Craig Fallon. Adam’s session introduced and progressed from some fundamental movement patterns leading into Tachiwaza “throwing skills” in particular O Soto Gari. In the afternoon, the group took part in its first visit to the activity centre and returned to the dojo in the evening for their first Randori “Sparring” session led by Adam Hall.

On Tuesday, the group once again started the day at 7am with a Strength & Conditioning session with Gary Jackson, before another technical learning session led by England Coach Jason Parsons. Jason progressed on from recent England Development training with some further Newaza skills and adding a mixture of varied skills the judoka could study and develop further. After a final visit to the activity centre that afternoon the group returned to another Randori evening led by Sophie Cox.

On Wednesday morning, the group started at 7am again with Simon Ward leading the group with a 12-minute cooper run followed by team relay interval sprints around the 200 metre track. We then returned to the dojo for another technical development session led by Luke Preston, who allowed the judoka to improve and progress with a range of Newaza and Tachiwaza skills. This linked into additional Randori practise so that further development of the skills could be progressed. Wednesday came to a close with a fun social BBQ and team games which included many favourite activities including nought’s and crosses and our water tube challenge to name a few.

Our final day on Thursday the Judoka had the option of a rest or turn up for a 7am final body weight conditioning session with Gary Jackson, we were particularly pleased to see an almost 100 percent turnout to train, showing true determination. The 10am Judo session was led by Sophie Cox, who started with some team games leading to some more challenging drills that progressed into further situation Randori, which allowed the judoka to really test out many of the training lessons from the previous days training. The camp came to close with a few awards and many thanks before we closed and allowed all the judoka to return home with their families.

During the five days of training, the group were really pushed to the limit of their physical and physiological limits within the training environment. The camp expertly strikes a perfect balance between tough, serious level judo and fun activities, as this keeps the participants motivated and focused on improving their performance through rich experience of practise and learning from the experts and each other.

Some of the best moments during the camp are best captured as the week progresses as new friendships are formed and old rivalry becomes a distant memory.

The camps mix of hard judo and fun activities including the Water Wipe out assault course, high ropes climbing, Kayaking and body boarding at the nearby Ultimate Adventure Centre, is yet another fantastic way the camp creates so many special memories for our Judoka. We also find time to include a final evening social down time with a relaxed BBQ and team it’s a knockout and the highly competitive scavenger hunt.

Congratulations to all our team of Judoka and Coaches this year. You have all played a remarkable role in creating and delivering an outstanding few days of Judo. You have enjoyed and developed in strength and character and have shown once again the true Judo Values by creating some wonderful Judo Journey Memories.

Click here to view the full Facebook image gallery from the day