In April, twelve Cambridge judoka spent a week in Marburg, Germany, for the 35th anniversary of the Marburg-Helsinki-Cambridge judo exchange. The trip struck an excellent, if exhausting, balance between training, socialising and experiencing local culture.Training sessions were led by a mix of German, British and Finnish coaches, allowing each judoka the chance to see new methods on the mat. With exchange participants covering the full range of judo abilities, from novice to ex-world champion, the coaches ensured that there was something for everyone.
Participants’ ages ranged from around twenty all the way to around fifty. For the energetic folk, local culture offered amongst other things an aerial assault course and a karaoke night. More sedate activities came in the form of overnight camping, currywurst eating, and sauna visits. In the evenings, pub crawls and late-night parties ensured that everyone got to know each other well.
Nick on the high-wire
For many people this was the first time they had taken part in the yearly exchange. But after seeing how much everyone enjoyed the laidback and welcoming tone of the trip, I have no doubt we’ll see many of their faces again in Helsinki next year.
As ex-world champions Florian Wanner and Michael Esser remarked at the week’s last training session, “This is what judo is all about.”
Rob Blackburn – President