Why I do Judo
A couple weeks ago, the committee and I were discussing how we would update the website with one suggestion being for each member of the club to blog about their experiences and as you can probably tell that’s what I’m going to do.
My name is Tim Kelly and as it stands I’m the longest member of UCC Judo Club but it’s also my last year. Thus this is a bit of a farewell letter for me while also encouraging other to join a club as it is quite worthwhile.
Unlike most college students who join our club, I have actually been doing Judo since I was 6 years old. My dad is the local trainer at home and I think he has trained about 11 black belts since he took over as coach in the late 1980’s. As such I didn’t really have a choice and I’m not going to lie I probably wouldn’t do Judo if I didn’t have my dad bringing me to trainings twice a week as I grew up.
First Year: So I grew up with it and spent a substantial part of my childhood being thrown and learning to get back up. After a while, I even started winning a few fights and when I came to college, I was a senior brown belt and very close to finally becoming a black belt.
So what happened next? There was no club at UCC anymore, in fact it had just been disbanded as soon as I arrived, so for weeks I would attend at the schedule times and wait to see if anyone would come to training. As you may have guessed, no one came.
I set up a meeting with the Club’s development officer at the time to try figure out how to set up the club and filled out a committee sheet using my housemates’ details. Primarily I did this so the club would survive the year and I could plan to develop the Club in second year. By the end of my first year, there was five of us training while I acted as the coach.
In September of 2013, I had my plan in place. I set up various social media accounts along with a plan for Club’s Day while also hiring a coach David Holmes who I had known from refereeing and joining the Club’s Executive as Martial Art’s Officer. During the summer, I had finally received my first Dan Black Belt as well so it was a great start to the year.
The year came and the club grew to about 20 members and we were the second largest club to compete in the Intervarsities with 14 members. Everyone performed spectacularly well and there is nothing quite like the feeling of watching players you have coached win medals.
But that is nothing compared to the people I met during the year. So far, it was my favourite year at college and it was due to the people I met, and if I didn’t reform the club I never would’ve met them so that is one of the main reasons I do Judo.
Luckily I was no longer Captain in Third Year so I primarily focused on coaching and planning for the Intervarsities in February. With more new members, I focused on developing my coaching skills primarily and tailoring certain techniques to individual players. Admittedly, I needed to work on this but a common judo phrase but luckily I have been taught by some of the best trainers in the country and passed on their knowledge.
The intervarsitie were a success with many coaches praising us for our running of the event along with the dinner afterwards. I won the “Spirit of Judo” award on the day and the whole club were the second highest medal claimers behind Galway.
In conclusion without Judo, I never would have learnt how worthwhile it is to set up a club or met some amazing people, so for that I am very thankful.