Why I do Judo

My name is Brian Dowling, and I have been doing judo for maybe a year or so now. I was first introduced to combat sports at a young age; my brother was a black belt in karate. Throughout the years I bounced from sport to sport – boxing, Muay Thai, rugby – but the lack of combat bored me. I was sixteen when I started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Samson Martial Arts. I instantly fell in love with the idea of grappling, and of prioritizing technique over power and skill over speed. While learning here, I became totally enamoured with the grappling world, and soon found myself subscribed to multiple dedicated magazines.

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One such magazine featured an article about how various other sports could improve your overall game, and ultimately make you a better fighter; naturally, judo topped this list. When I attended the UCC Clubs open day I witnessed the judo team in action, and when I found out that their training times didn’t clash with my other training times I figured I’d give it a go. As soon as I walked in, I was blown away by the sheer level of skill already present in the club, as well as the welcoming atmosphere. I was even ran into a few friends from jiu jitsu! The number of skilled fighters who have trained, and continue to train, with us here is incredible.

Even as a white belt I was able to hold my own in combat, due to my knowledge of throws and ground work from BJJ. In my first ever judo competition, the 2015 Intervarsities – which were held in UCC that year – I was immediately thrown into the deep end, finding myself up against two black belts in the team event. There, I lost by an ippon and points, but it was the belt and weight category in which I truly hit my stride. I ended up winning gold in both, which was surprising as my weight category had me up against three black belts! I had managed to accomplish all of this with only four months of judo training.

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Fast forward to the present, and I have earned my green belt, and am aiming for a blue belt this February. Not only has UCC Judo allowed me to improve my skills, but it also became a key pillar in my social life. I developed friendships that I hold very close to my heart and, when we’re not trying to kill each other with our bare hands, I do my best to see them whenever I can even, if it’s just for a chat.

Though at first judo was just a tool for me to get better at BJJ – a fact which I never tried to hide – I can now say with certainty that it has become a part of my life upon which I wouldn’t soon turn my back.

For an insight into why Luke Hickey took up Judo check out http://sport.ucc.ie/?p=5336 and http://judo.ucc.ie/2015/11/08/why-i-do-judo/ for Tim Kelly’s motivation for the sport.