With the announcement from Government, on the latest lockdown period coming into action again our scheduled “Get Back Together” Training day was quickly converted into another Online Zoom event.

We had previously, as an Area Coaching team, successfully held many months of Zoom training as well as the Western Area Camp online back in the original lockdown period. So, we were confident and ready to revisit online learning and set about improving our delivery the second time around.

This time we decided to run sessions which particularly focused on the levels of judoka at the age groups of Minors, Pre-Cadets, Cadets, Juniors, Seniors and Masters. This was a new concept, and it was hoped that this would allow the coaches to target a more meaningful session for the Judoka.

We also lined up mixed sessions for all age groups for Newaza and JudoFit Uchi Komi Bands Challenge as well as a brand new idea of the Live Dojo Kitchen.

We had an impressive list of guest coaches, who all gladly gave up their time to support and get involved with the event. We welcomed an amazing total of around 90 judokas throughout the day from clubs covering all regions of the North, Central and South areas as well as Northern Ireland who all joined in with many Western Area Club Judoka.

The day started with event organiser and Head Area Coach Simon Ward, who after a short welcome and a few challenges to set the scene for the day handed over to Eva Minarkova and Charlie Bond. They led a session specifically designed for our Minors and Pre-Cadets and worked on some foundation level motor skills and development to Tai-Otoshi.

We then welcomed Adam Hall and Charlie Bond again who progressed from this previous session specifically targeting Pre-Cadets and Cadets. This time the focus was more designed to individual body movements with the clever use of belts and drinks bottles to set the practice purpose and reinforce the key skills in movement and balance on entry to your throws.

Our next session was once again exceptionally set to progress again for our Cadets and Juniors who enjoyed a more focused session lead by Tom Reed and Gary Jackson who talked through the importance of mental rehearsal and visualisation skills in Judo. Both coaches talked and explained the importance of these skills in relation to top level judoka, including linking these skills to the Japanese Judoka Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki and the more recent Argentine Rugby win over the All Blacks just a day previous. This led to the practice of some Kumi Kata drills and set routines for specific grip strategies and situations to visualize and then practice adding a series of techniques.

The next part of our day was totally born from an idea after watching the bake off, could we pull off a Live Dojo Kitchen challenge online? We invited Gary Jackson again, who has years of experience and knowledge in the Sports Nutrition environment. Gary talked about many key facts around nutrition and was able to get through many important elements as we discussed the subject while everyone was making at home live together their own Armlocks Berries Smoothies. After we all washed up our blenders, we then mixed up our dates, dried apples and walnuts to create our very own tasty Energy Bites and while we were all enjoying the cooking experience, Gary was talking through a variety of different ingredient ideas for the energy bites and smoothies and explained the difference in food colours and how basically each colour represents a different purpose for a nutritional benefit in our bodies.  Overall, this was an amazing success and we have had loads of positive feedback from parents on this part of the day training, so a massive thanks to Gary for his input and knowledge.

The next part of our day was designed for everyone as we held a specific Newaza mobility drills session led by guest coaches and BJC National Squad Coaches Fran & Neil Roode. Unfortunately, Neil was unwell so he left all the hard work to his wife Fran, who was amazingly full of so much energy. Fran never stopped leading everyone through an impressive non-stop newaza and transitional skills circuit workout, she did every exercise leading by example as well as adding some great motivation to all the Judoka taking part.

Our final technical session of the day was designed mainly for our Juniors, Seniors and master’s Judoka and was led by Mark and Kylie Adams. The session incorporated an excellent balance of key teaching principles with a definite link to solo Uchi Komi practice. Both Mark and Kylie linked into all the previous sessions from our coaches while reinforcing the importance of the consistent practice within your Uchi Komi. They then both finished with a tough fitness circuit linking many of their ideas they have found have being successful in their own delivery of sessions at their own Judo Club sessions.

To round off a full day of Judo, we ended with a session for everyone and a final “AMRAP” Uchi Komi Bands circuit lead by Simon Ward. This was a final big push from the judoka. It was a simple effort do as many rounds as possible during 3 x 4 minutes bouts plus a 3-minute Golden Score final scenario. Simon set 7 Judo specific bands exercise which had to be completed in an ascending and descending format, not easy and even harder at the end of a day’s judo. But with some vital words of motivational speaking completed the clock was set and the challenge accepted by everyone including Simon himself who took part.

Many thanks to everyone who joined in throughout the day, many of the Judoka completed every session during the day.

A huge thanks also to all the coaches who all brought so much energy and knowledge to the sessions.

We continue to monitor the Covid situation and will endeavour to be consistent in our efforts to provide the best opportunities for our Judoka to remain focused on judo and continue to develop and enjoy their judo journeys.