Dan Grading, High Wycombe

Marine and Suvi headed Saturday morning to a Dan grading at High Wycombe. Fights were not sorted by weight category, but matched by the officials.

Suvi, who needed only 10 points to complete her 1st dan, won her first fight by a counter kouchi-gari – but it was only a wazari. To keep up the thrill, Suvi lost her second fight to a significantly heavier girl, who countered Suvi’s ouchi-gari attempt, and finished the match by a hold. Her third fight was again against a heavier girl, but there Suvi managed to score a quick left drop-seoinage and to win by ippon.

The girl against whom Suvi first lost, proceeded to line-up, and Suvi had to fight her again as the second player. This time, Suvi used her opponent’s poor seoinage-attempt for a strangle, winning by ippon, and thus breaking her opponent’s line-up. With 27 points from the grading Suvi completed the requirements for her 1st dan. Congratulations!

Marine was first matched against a shorter but quite strong opponent. She manage to score a wasari early in the fight and after some struggle threw her opponent for Ippon. The second fight was unfortunately much shorter: her heavier opponent threw her quickly on O-Soto-Gari followed by a hold. For a third fight, and last chance to get a line-up, she was opposed to a very strong judoka and despite her efforts at surprising her, she lost at the end of the time by wasari. Only 10 points toward the 1st Dan then, but a lot of fun playing judo, and a few lessons learnt!

On Saturday afternoon, the whole club enjoyed a great session where Steve and Alec explained the history and the purpose of katas, performed great demonstrations and showed how to use the pure concepts presented in the formal forms to understand more about judo and improve our technique.

For 3 hours, the audience was captivated and sweat over as many as three sets of the Nage-No-Kata (Ashi-waza – or leg sweeps , Koshi Waza – or hip throws and Ma-sutemi waza – or sacrifice throws). We left with lots of examples in mind, but mostly a different idea of what kata can bring to competitive judo. Thanks a lot to Alec and Steve!

Finally, Rachelle competed on Sunday at the Eastern Area Closed Championships in both her own weight category and the open category. In under 57 kg, Rachelle took the lead early in her first contest with two yukos and a wazari and later won by ippon with an o-goshi. Unfortunately, the competitor due to meet Rachelle in her second fight withdrew from the tournament due to injury. This ensured her the gold medal in her category.
Having only had one fight, Rachelle was keen to enter the open category. In the open weight six judoka ranging from Rachelle’s weight up to 89 kg competed in one large pool, round-robin style. She won four out of her five fights, using a combination of standing and ground-work judo to take the silver medal. Rachelle also won one of the prize draws and was awarded with Colin Oates’ 2012 Olympic gi!