CUJC recently competed in the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) judo championships. Though the competitors in the dan grades category didn’t manage to progress far through the competition, all of the kyu grades who entered managed to medal, and I think everyone came away with valuable competition experience and a desire to keep working at their judo!
Rob Blackburn and Ed Almond were first on the mat. Rob faced tough opposition, being thrown for ippon and strangled out to be knocked out of his pool of 3. Ed, having not stepped onto a competition mat for over a year, initially struggled with the new rules on passivity and gripping: he got 4 shidos and was disqualified from his first fight. He rapidly recovered from this, and won his second with a clinical uchimata. Unfortunately, despite an even start, he was caught with a tai-otoshi for wazari and then armlocked in his third fight, leaving him 3rd in his pool and so unable to progress to the knockouts.
Josh Hunt also struggled in his group of three: being outgripped by a fast opponent, who eventually won the silver medal, he conceded the bout quite rapidly. His second fight lasted far longer and was much more even, but he didn’t manage to make much of an impact on the scoreboard, and eventually his opponent (who also ended up medalling) scored two wazaris, leaving him bottom of the pool and out of the knockouts.
Lawrence Rowles’ first fight was against an erstwhile CUJC member, the inimitable Mikey Barton. Despite Mikey pulling ahead initially due to a shido for Lawrence’s pistol gripping, Lawrence pulled the fight back with a drop seoinage for ippon. His second fight was against a member of the Latvian national team: this was a very close-fought contest, with neither competitor able to gain a significant gripping advantage over the other. In the end it came down to penalties, with Lawrence conceding the fight 3 shidos to his opponent’s 1. This was enough to place him second in his pool, however, and progress to the knockouts. Despite dominating most of his knockout fight with many more attacks and several significant groundwork attempts against his more passive opponent, Lawrence misread an uchimata which ended up catching him for wazari, and his opponent followed up with an osaekomiwaza to win the fight.
The kyu grades managed a more successful day: Marine, having thrown away her first fight in the pool from a lack of concentration, was spurred on to victory in her second fight by encouragement from Maddie, winning with a left-handed ogoshi. This placed her second in her pool, and got her through to the semi-finals. Fighting a far shorter opponent, Marine threw with uchimata for ippon, to land herself in the final. The final had her matched with someone from Anglia Ruskin – Marine was thrown for a yuko with an osotogari but quickly stabilised her position to finish the fight with an armbar, securing Marine a gold medal!
Will Kaufhold, fighting as a very light ~75kg in the -81kg category, cleaned up his pool with style: his dominating over-grip gave him two ippons, one from osoto-gari and one from ouchi-gari, with his other fight being won from an armbar applied with his legs while pinning his opponent with kesagatame. His knockout fights were won in a similar fashion; despite his much larger opponents, he persisted with his over-gripping to get another ippon from kosoto-gari, and then won his semi-final with the same armbar from kesagatame. Unfortunately, in his final Will finally met his match, being thrown repeatedly for yuko and then eventually had his footsweep successfully countered, leaving him with a very respectable silver medal.
Finally, Maddie fought very late in the afternoon due to the number of people in her category. She lost her first fight to a pair of tai-otoshis, but pulled back the next two fights, one with an impressive kouchi-ouchi combination. Facing a smaller opponent, Maddie fought cleverly, getting the girl repeatedly penalised for passivity and dropping to her knees defensively. This eventually led to her disqualification from 4 shidos, putting Maddie through to the final. Here she was thrown for tai-otoshi and then pinned by a talented opponent, winning Maddie her second consecutive BUCS medal.
Altogether, it was a mixed weekend – a considerable amount of disappointment from those in the 1st kyu and above category, but there is massive congratulations due to all of those who medalled in the kyu grade categories, whether they were newcomers like Marine and Will or old hands like Maddie. It was clear to see that their hard work at training had paid off. Commiserations to those who didn’t medal, but we’ll be back next year…
Josh Hunt – President