Judoka Spotlight - John Gibson
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John Gibson is our spotlight judoka this quarter. John attends Yamarashi Judo Club twice per week and has come on leaps and bounds since attending his first judo class, aged 4.
John, now aged 9, lives with a chromosome disorder and developmental delay. John's Mum, Sarah met Fiona (Head Coach at Yamarashi Judo Club) in a local bakery and struck up conversation. After chatting to both Sarah and John, Fiona suggested that attending Judo may help strengthen John's leg muscles and improve his balance. The Club offered John a one month free trial. At first, Sarah was nervous about how John would cope and initially received opposition from friends and family. However, she built up the courage to take John along and quickly realised how much he loved it - John came home repeating Japanese words after just six sessions! For Sarah, this was the moment she realised Judo was the perfect sport for John. He was listening and learning in a new environment, something he had previously battled with.
Aged just 5, John undertook his first grading, and he successfully passed his 5th Mon grading earlier this year.
John's Mum, Sarah said "initially I had reservations about John starting Judo but I saw it as an opportunity for John to learn self-defence. Quickly, I saw John develop both physically and socially in this new environment. The coaches have nurtured John and his development has been incredible to watch. At the start John would regularly use his wheelchair, I now struggle to remember the last time he used it. Both the coaches and John's physiotherapist see the benefits Judo has had on his physical ability and confidence. I am so proud of John and seeing his infectious smile on the mat sums up his love for this sport and his club".