Volcanoes, waterfalls and judo

Five Northern Home Counties judoka have recently returned from an eight-day judo vacation to the town of Selfoss in Iceland. Martin Rance (NHC Technical & Coaching Lead) and Jodie Callar (Renzoku Judo Club), led a small group of juniors consisting of Marc-Antony Hunt (High Wycombe Judo Centre), Charles Harris (Kangei Judo Club) and Marria Gaidamachenko (Pinewood Judo Club) to Iceland where they participated in a special project headed up by Dr George Bountakis, 6th Dan.

George, former National Coach of Wales, is now the CEO of the Icelandic Judo Federation and head coach of the newly formed Judofélag Suðurland (JS) which was founded at the beginning of March 2023, invited members of the NHC to come and train in Iceland and take in the sights of the country.

The team took part in every practice available, from early morning training (6:30am Uchi-komi and Nage-komi), evening training (Technical and Randori) and a two-day training camp organised by Judofélag Suðurland, to bring local clubs together in celebration of ‘World Judo Day’ that consisted of some intense randori.

The daytime was spent exploring the country, from hiking volcano’s (Fagradalsfjall), exploring the Golden Circle (Kerrid Crater, Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall) and bathing in geo-thermal pools (Blue Lagoon and Reykjadalur Steam Valley).

Marria said: “It was a pleasure to be part of this trip to develop (her) judo in Iceland. It was very interesting to see how the training process goes in the local club and enjoy the sights of Iceland too. I really enjoyed this trip!”

A final thanks goes to George Bountakis, Eirini Fytrou, Garðar Skaptason, Arnar Arnarsson, the members of Judofélag Suðurland; it’s been an honour and privilege to share the tatami with you, thank you for your hospitality and for allowing us to be a part of this special project. But more importantly, this has been an incredible opportunity and life experience that we will certainly treasure forever.

Martin Rance | NHC Technical & Coaching Lead

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