Amendments to the Articles of Association

One of JudoScotland’s key goals identified in our JudoForAll strategy is Corporate Excellence, and as such we are continuing to review our governance to help us reach our ambitions.

The Board is proposing a few amendments to the Articles of Association, a summary of which can be found here.

Below are the two main amendments being proposed with some more information to support our member clubs in making informed decisions:-

1. The Chair and the Treasurer roles are proposed to have open recruitment processes.

This aligns with the UK Sports Code of Governance and by introducing this change, JudoScotland will be following best practice guidance which is already in place across the majority of other medium to large Governing Bodies.

An interview system to identify the most suitable candidates against the skills required for these roles has been recommended to JudoScotland through an independent audit by KPMG and our major stakeholder sportscotland.

An interview system is in place for Chair and Treasurer roles at the British Judo Association and by introducing these changes, we would align more closely in our practices.

2. The President and Vice-President roles are proposed to have tenure lengths instead of being positions appointed for life.

This amendment is proposed in in-keeping with the UK Sports Code of Governance which all Governing Bodies of Sport are strongly encouraged to adhere to.

These are important ambassadorial roles for JudoScotland and by introducing these changes, the tenure lengths will align with JudoScotland’s Board of Director term lengths and enable a flow of people with varying skills to support the organisation.

On the proposed amendments, Graham Campbell (JudoScotland Treasurer and Corporate Working Group) comments:

‘A number of critical changes were made to the Articles of Association last year following an independent audit by KPMG. The recommended changes this year reflect our ongoing ambitions to improve our governance and align more closely with good business practice to support JudoScotland in its strategic planning and delivery.’

Should anybody have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Chair Marc Preston or our CEO Judith McCleary.

JudoScotland Annual Membership Subscription

Keeping your JudoScotland Membership in date has just gotten easier!

Is renewing your JudoScotland membership each year one of those jobs that gets added to your ever-growing to-do list? We have made keeping your membership valid even easier. You can now opt-in for automatic annual subscription, so you are never without a valid licence on the mat!

The next time you need to renew, select ‘Subscription’ before proceeding to cart and enter your card details as normal. Once this has been selected your membership will automatically renew every year.

Meet Your JudoScotland Board Candidates

Meet Your JudoScotland Board Candidates

Ahead of this year’s AGM, we gave notice on the 3rd of August for the nomination of two directors and a treasurer to join our Board to help realise our new strategic plan ‘Judo For All’.

We are absolutely delighted with the response from our membership and are pleased to share that we have had seven applications for the director’s position and one application for the treasurer position.  Below you will find the candidates who submitted applications by the closing date along with their pen portraits outlining their skills and how they hope to contribute to the Board. The successful candidates will be elected at the JudoScotland AGM on the 30th of September.

To support our member clubs to be as well informed as possible, we are facilitating an online Q&A session with our candidates on Monday 18th of September at 7pm. This is a great chance for you to get to know the candidates and to ask questions.

Book Your Space Here

Director Candidates

Head shot of Sarah Adlington

Sarah Adlington
“I have a lifelong passion for judo and am extremely grateful for the experiences, abilities, practices and connections that judo has afforded for me. I would like to help drive judo in Scotland forward so that it is seen as a sport for all.”

Pen Portrait

Diana Balsari
“To utilise my digital marketing knowledge to maximise the online visibility of JudoScotland and therefore of the clubs while also increasing the awareness of the public about the sport.

To build strong relationships with leading European teams to give Scottish athletes the best tools to develop.”

Pen Portrait
Headshot Diana Balsari
Anthony Daye - Headshot

Anthony Daye

“To contribute to the growth of the sport in all aspects, through experiences built up during my business career acting consistently with the great Judo values. Doing so in an inclusive way having been a young participant, Judo parent and now a masters Judoka continuing to learn and enjoy Judo.”

Pen Portrait

John MacDonald
“Judo has given me so much over the years and I feel it is time to give back. If elected I will strive to support Scottish Judo and the Judo for All strategic plan to the best of my ability.”

Pen Portrait
Headshot John Macdonald

Kirsty Marsh
“I have been involved across various aspects of judo in Scotland including grassroots coaching, university judo and high performance. Out with judo, I have legal, managerial and voluntary experience. Passionate about increasing diversity and participation in JudoScotland. I would be a professional, positive and fresh voice if elected to the board.”

Pen Portrait

Jason Moore
“I am passionate about building the profile of judo across Scotland and making Judo accessible for all ages and abilities.”

Pen Portrait
Headshot Jason Moore
Headshot susan wright

Susan Wright
“I believe judo is for all and there’s a pathway for everyone I’ve been involved in delivering training courses for new officials and promoting our current volunteer workforce and want to continue over the next 4 years helping to upskill and increase that workforce.”

Pen Portrait

Treasurer Candidates

Graham Campbell 

As JudoScotland Treasurer I will use my corporate financial background to improve governance and ensure financial stability to support the company achieve its strategic objectives outlined in JudoForAll.’

Pen Portrait

Member Voting

All clubs that are eligible to vote will be contacted directly by Scottish Sports Association (SSA). If you have any queries, please contact [email protected].

Two young judoka stand face to face gripped on at a busy club session.

We Are Hiring: Club Support Officer

We Are Hiring Club Support Officer

Be part of the exciting future of Judo in Scotland! 

JudoScotland is delighted to be recruiting for the role of Club Support Officer, a role that will empower and enable clubs to make a positive contribution to Scottish society and grow an engaged, diverse membership. We are looking for an individual/individuals to join the dynamic Business Delivery Team, who will work directly with member clubs to provide bespoke club support and develop targeted and inspiring initiatives and opportunities to attract and retain members. The role has been developed as part of our new strategic plan Judo For All, with the aim to maximise the contribution of judo to Scotland’s communities through the provision of safe, inclusive and inspiring clubs based on judo’s values. 

To Find Out More & Apply Download the Candidate Pack HereMobile Friendly (View Only)Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

2022 JudoScotland Annual Report

Ahead of our AGM on the 30th of September, we are delighted to share our Annual Report for 2022! The 2022 Annual Report showcases the highlights of JudoScotland for the year 1st January – 31st December 2022.

We are delighted that at this year’s AGM our membership will vote for two directors and a treasurer to join our Board of Directors.  In order to make the process as open and transparent as possible, we are pleased to be offering an online Q&A session with our candidates on Monday 18th of September, this will open for registration along with voting on Thursday 14th September.

View the Full Report Here

News From the Chair

A Brief update from the Chair of some key events and recent news from August.

Hi Judo Community,

With the Summer holidays now seeming like a distant memory, it’s time to concentrate on ensuring we have a strong finish to what, so far, has been a highly successful 2023!

The JudoScotland Board of Directors had our regular monthly meeting on 15th August, and, as always, worked our way through a wide range of material/topics.

I’m delighted with the response we’ve had from applications for the 3 Board of Director positions (2 Directors and 1 Treasurer). We’ve had the best response in living memory, with 7 applicants for the Director Roles and 1 for Treasurer.  All people keen to be part of our organisation going forward, I feel this truly reflects the great strides we’ve been making recently in JudoScotland.   I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have applied and to wish them good luck.  I look forward to working with the successful candidates.

The membership will get the chance to meet the candidates in an ‘online chat/debate and Q&A session’ on the evening of the 18th of September. More details on how you can get involved to follow.

Also, this month I participated in the British Judo Board meeting on 22nd August – this is something that Graham Campbell would ordinarily do on our behalf.  I found it very interesting.  Again, we covered a wide range of topics.  I was particularly interested in their ‘Youth Panel Update’ – the Panel being a group of youngsters who regularly feed upwards to the Board with their observations, thoughts and recommendations.  Something we are proactively pursuing for JudoScotland.  I believe that the opinions of our younger judoka are important for our future development.

We’re also planning on having a live broadcast of a BOD meeting before the end of the year.

Members will be able to connect in and get a feel for how the Board operates. We will get back to you shortly with more details.

On a different note, I’d like to welcome current Olympic Champion, Shohei Ono, and his former coach, Shinji Hosokawa, to Scotland.  Shohei will be in Scotland for the next year or so, depending on his English studies. Judith and I met up with him for lunch when, as well as agreeing to attend The Gathering, he kindly committed to doing several training camps/dates for Scottish judokas. It’s a tremendous opportunity for Scotland to have such a world-class competitor in our midst.

And staying with Japan, Masahi Ebinuma, 3-times World Champion, and Kana Ebinuma, 2-times All Japan Champion, expressed their desire to experience a day’s falconry.  Our very own Lee McGrorty, 2002 Commonwealth Games medallist, and expert falconer has kindly offered to entertain our guests (Shohei and Judith are also planning to join) and let them experience some spectacular Gyr Falcons flying.  Thanks, Lee.

Finally, on a personal note, this month I was also able to spend a bit of time with Colin McIver, 9th Dan. Firstly, marvelling at how well-trained his cocker spaniel is!  And then, by attending the Scotland vs. Georgia Rugby match.

Neither of us knew very much about rugby but we had a very enjoyable day finding out (and we won!).

Looking forward to catching up with everyone soon at the (sold-out) Gathering. Promises to be a great weekend!

Marc Preston

6th Dan

Keizoku is Back for 2023!

Following the success of our first Keizoku in 2022 we are delighted to bring this event back for our members this November! 

Keizoku is an innovative event open to Judoka aged 5 – 12 years who are looking to take the first (or even second) step outside the club environment. Supporting the continuous development of young Scottish Judoka, this event provides fun off the mat challenges and offers maximum time on the mat to apply their Judo skills.


Keizoku introduces subtle changes to the traditional judo event to provide a more ‘age and stage’ appropriate environment in line with the JudoScotland Player Development Framework so that young judoka can enjoy the thrill of competing, the challenge of doing their best and the enjoyment of sport. As an introductory event, Judoka can wear any colour of Gi to take part as they experience the wider world of Judo.


Here is what the parents of last year’s attendees had to say:


“From arriving until we left it was fantastic, the kids were kept busy right from the start all staff/helpers were amazing with the kids. It was a very productive morning, and my son had a fab time. He especially liked doing all the little events like the plank lights and it was lovely how the kids all made friends from other clubs in their groups. Well done!”


“Lots of fun for the kids in a friendly and relaxed environment”


“Very fun for kids, great venue, fun warmup. It was great they got a lot of mat time. Not too much pressure for the kids.”


“The event felt like a family affair, it was very well organised, sign posted, and we were kept up to date throughout the day of the scheduled events, we had a fabulous day and will definitely be at the next event!”


This event is aimed at Judoka in the sampling stage that are looking to take the next step out of the club environment. This festival is designed with the child’s stage in mind providing fun on and off-the-mat challenges to develop their technical, physical and behavioural abilities. If you are unsure, it is suitable for you, please speak to your coach.


To find out more and book your space click here.

The Evolution of Judo Refereeing: Insights from Victoria Kirk's Story

When she started her journey as a young judoka, Victoria Kirk, had no idea that it would lead to her travelling across the country refereeing at numerous different types of Judo events.

Ahead of our referee course this Saturday, we spoke to her about the benefits of refereeing, how she became involved and her aim to referee internationally.

“When I was 21, I had a bit of an injury which led to me taking time out of competing, judo has been a huge part of my upbringing with my dad, brother and partner all being involved in the sport so I still wanted to be involved and taking up refereeing kept me busy in the sport”.

“I first got into it (refereeing) by going to low-level competitions and that gave me some experience refereeing on the mat.”

Victoria then attended JudoScotland referee courses to achieve the necessary qualifications to continue her refereeing journey:

“I did a few courses which helped build up my knowledge and they were good fun. You get to meet other people and they give you the knowledge that you need to be better at judo in general. It doesn’t just help you in being a referee – it helps you better understand your own judo, improves your coaching, and helps you become better at supporting other people. As referees, we’re there to support each other and work as a team no matter where you come from.”

Victoria alongside Kirsty Lyon and Audrey Pirie at the IBSA World Games in Birmingham.

During her time in the sport, Victoria has seen a widespread change in how judo referees operate: “We’ve come away from the age where ‘what I say goes’. Referees are now communicating with judokas and explaining their decision. In turn that makes everybody work together. No referee is going there to make things difficult for people, we’re going there to help Judoka achieve the correct outcome and if you can communicate that by having the right knowledge you’ll make responsible decisions, and make friends along the way while helping people enjoy the sport.”

Victoria has also seen the benefits that becoming a referee has had outside the dojo. As a social worker, she’s been able to transfer valuable communication skills to the workplace: “It’s helped me communicate with people who may be upset. Judo competitions can create heightened emotions and in my line of work I’ve had to help people with high emotions as well, so it has helped keep me calm in these sorts of situations. Before I started refereeing people around me might have said I was a bit hot-headed, but now I’m calmer, as I can see from other people’s points of view.”

After succeeding in her promotion to National B referee at the British Schools Championship in March this year, Victoria’s sights are firmly set on achieving the next step. “It was inspiring to see fellow Scottish referee Audrey Pirie become the first female National A referee in the country. It has given me a drive to go and get that badge which will allow me to referee internationally and work at events across the world.”

To anyone considering taking their first steps into the world of refereeing, Victoria’s advice is simple: “Just go in and try it! Try it with confidence, come and speak to all the referees as they’ll be happy to give out any advice they can. It’s so worth it!”

If you are interested in starting your journey to refereeing and officiating, click here to sign up for this weekend’s course.

Meet Our New Disability Development Officer

Following a comprehensive recruitment process, JudoScotland is delighted to announce Stephen Somerville has taken on the role of Disability Development Officer.

Stephen, who previously held the role of National Development Executive until 2019, will join the team on a part-time basis to develop our Adaptive Judo offering as part of our new Strategic Plan ‘Judo For All’.

The role of Disability Development Officer will lead the support and development of opportunities for people with disabilities to engage, progress and flourish in the sport of judo. Stephen will be responsible for creating and providing relevant development opportunities for the workforce to establish clear, transparent performance pathways across the JudoScotland and British Judo landscapes.

On his appointment, Stephen said, “I’m delighted to be back at JudoScotland in these very exciting times. My passion comes from Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo. As a judoka, you must contribute to society and that’s ingrained in our belief systems as you grow as a judo player. Too often people will say ‘They can’t do it’ but I think we have proven many times it doesn’t matter what your disability is you can always take part in some way.”

“There are many strands of pathways that people might not be fully aware of, from the Special Olympics to the Deaf Olympics.  I think most people will be aware of the Visually Impaired pathway as we’ve had success in the past with people like Sam Ingram (winner of two Paralympic medals), but there are many other pathways for judokas living with a disability.”

Talking about his immediate priorities in the role, Stephen added; “Gathering data is so important, and everyone needs to help us here as the more information we get from our membership the clearer our understanding of what we need to put in place. I think people tend to think we are being nosy when asking disability questions but we are asking it so we have a clear understanding of what the base level is and how we can best support Judoka.”

If you would like to discuss the landscape of disability Judo in Scotland further, you can contact Stephen at [email protected].

Shohei Ono and Shinji Hosokawa visit JudoScotland

As he begins his transition moving to Scotland to start a new chapter in his career, current Olympic champion Shohei Ono and his former coach and double Olympic medalist Shinji Hosokawa dropped by for lunch with our team.

After calling time on a glittering judo career, which saw him win two Olympic gold medals and three world championships, Shohei Ono has begun his life in coaching.

His first port of call, moving to Edinburgh to undertake English lessons. In doing so, Shohei follows Masashi Ebinuma and Yoko Tanabe most recently in coming to the UK where there are fantastic all-round opportunities to kickstart a career in coaching.

Ono visits the dojo

Widely regarded as one of the best judoka to ever grace the mat, JudoScotland were delighted to welcome him to our office and dojo.

Our CEO Judith McCleary said: “Following Shohei’s retirement as an athlete, it is a huge honour that he has chosen to base himself in Edinburgh where he is enrolled as a student, with his primary focus on improving his English.

“Shohei has made a number of international judo event commitments over the next few months so he certainly won’t be at a loose end! The most important things for us at JudoScotland is to ensure Shohei is supported as he adjusts to a very different routine. We have extended our offering and know that the judo family will endeavour to help him feel at home.

“A lot of Shohei’s attention will be on his intense studies and we will offer suitable opportunities, when time allows, for Shohei to get involved with JudoScotland and British Judo activities, ensuring the best experiences possible for him during this exciting chapter.”

Hear from Shohei Ono in his own words why he has picked Scotland for this next chapter.

We can’t wait to see Shohei Ono at The Gathering on September 30th, where he will be joining Masashi Ebinuma and Kana (Abe) Ebinuma to deliver an exciting weekend of Judo.

Judoka attending will have the fantastic opportunity to learn from the very best of the sport as Shohei will be delivering a guest session sharing his immense skill set with the Scottish Judo community.

Though tickets for this event are fully sold out, you can join the waiting list by emailing [email protected]