This week to help celebrate World Judo Day, and this year’s theme of being ‘Stronger Together’, we are sharing stories from members demonstrating how they have become ‘Stronger Together’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our third, and final, story this week comes from Shadsworth/Beach Judo club’s Joe Burns. In addition to completing daily challenges on Facebook to help and inspire others, Joe has also gathered a group of judoka to be a part of a weekly ‘check in’ on fitness and wellbeing.

Like all judo clubs up and down the country both my clubs, Shadsworth/Beach JC and Club 62 JC, had to close with immediate effect when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. This affected around 70 students and over 40 adults, in addition to three school classes I teach at, again affecting over 65 students. 

I unfortunately fell ill at the beginning of March alongside my wife and 17-year-old son, Harrison. My two older sons Nathan and Joshua looked after us all. I was the worst hit and we were ill for around 3 weeks in total. The family really pulled together and looked after each other during this time. My son Nathan temporally gave up is daily, elite judo, training to look after us.

Like many clubs, we took to social media to engage with our members, this led to me being sent the 25-press-up challenge. 25-press-up for 25 consecutive days. To be honest I really enjoyed it and therefore decided to continue past the initial 25 days. To engage people, I decided to video each day and the response to this was amazing. By the time I reached day 50 I was up to 50 press-ups, 50 squats and 10 more press-ups. I soon increased this final set to 50 so by day 65 I was doing 50/50/50 each day. Around day 85 I unfortunately picked up a slight injury and was in a lot of pain, but the judo community that we had built kept me doing. I reached 100 days and felt amazing! I even had a bunch of flowers sent to me from Jo Crowley and Ealing Judo Club in recognition of my achievement.

It was around this time I thought I would add to my new lifestyle and started the KETO diet. In essence it is cutting out carbs from my diet. In order to encourage others to join, I created a spreadsheet and posted it on both my personal and club Facebook pages, in addition to the North West Areas page. This in turn created wider interest in the judo community and, we didn’t realise at the time, but they kept me motivated just as much as I was motivating them.

This progressed to a weekly weigh-in with judoka sending me their weights to enter into the spreadsheet. Since we started the weekly weigh-in on the 1st June, people have come and gone over this period, but we have over 20 judoka that have been ever-present since the start.

Since we started the weekly weigh-in I have lost 25kg, at the last weigh-in I was 100.1kg. Hopefully, when we return to competition, I will be -90kg, who knows!

After reaching day 100 of my shared daily exercise routine, I decided to mix it up a little to help keep that motivation within the group. Now I have been doing 30/120 which is 30 press-ups and 120 squats. I have now added extra press-ups at the end and will start to gradually increase this.

The online community that we have formed regularly send each-other encouragements, which is a real help, as we know we are not going through this alone. All I wanted when I started this was to help people and give them a focus during all the uncertainty. If you are a club member or parent, and are needing that bit of extra motivation, please get in touch and if I can help, I will – even if it is just a message now and again, or the odd phone call. It all helps as we are ‘Stronger Together’.

We are calling for all judoka, clubs and judo fans to share how you are #StrongerTogether.

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