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

We Are Hiring: Finance Director

We’re thrilled to announce an exciting opportunity to become a Finance Director at JudoScotland.

As a Finance Director, you’ll play a pivotal role within the JudoScotland Board, which consists of up to 10 Directors. Collaborating closely with the Chair, fellow Board members, and the JS Senior Leadership Team, you’ll be instrumental in providing strategic direction and actively contributing to progress monitoring.

This role offers a unique chance to make a significant impact in the world of Judo while being part of a dedicated team. If you’re passionate about finance and ready to take on a rewarding volunteer role, we want to hear from you!

Join us in shaping the future of Scottish Judo.

To apply:

Send a CV and covering letter to [email protected]

Download the Candidate Pack HereEqual Opportunities Monitoring Form

Rebecca Bradley wins Young Coach of the Year

JudoScotland’s Club Support Officers, Sam Ingram and Laura Kirkhouse, were in Clyde to present our Young Coach of the Year, Rebecca Bradley, with her award,   Laura said: “Rebecca is essential to the warm and inviting atmosphere that Clyde provides for the kids. From the moment Sam and I walked in, it was clear that Clyde is a club where children can really enjoy their judo and learn a lot about the sport.”

Rebecca, who has been the lead coach for two of Clyde Judo’s three U12 sessions each week since the club re-opened post lockdown, said: “It feels great to win young coach of the year and I am over the moon. I want to say thank you to all the kids at Clyde Judo. It is great to have such an amazing group to teach. I also want to thank all the other coaches at the club especially Susan Wright, Paul Grady and Rebecca Lamb. I wouldn’t be the coach I am today without all your guidance, support and encouragement. My last thank you is to my Mum. You have been my biggest supporter throughout my whole journey in judo and I wouldn’t have achieved this without you”.

Rebecca’s impact extends beyond the confines of the club, as she devotes her time to coaching refugees in North Ayrshire through the Loretta Doyle Judo Foundation, showcasing her commitment to inclusivity and social impact.

 

Rebecca’s coaching has seen her take taster sessions in schools across Bishopton, Paisley, and Renfrew, where she has successfully introduced numerous young individuals to the world of judo. These taster sessions not only serve as a gateway for children to discover and develop an interest in the sport but also contribute to the club’s continued growth. Rebecca’s proactive approach and positive coaching reflects her passion for sharing the benefits of judo with the wider community, further cementing her role as a valued member within the club and beyond.

Rebecca pioneered and led the Clyde Summer Camp programme, seeing 12 attendees in 2022 and growing it to 29 attendees in 2023, delivering a three day, 36 hour programme on both occasions. She has gone from strength to strength over the last year, undertaking her level 2 course and taking part in the JudoScotland Coaching Academy to continue her own development. She has planned and delivered quality sessions for an U12 group twice a week, including making adaptations and adjustments for one player with cerebral palsy. Rebecca is a shining example of what young people are capable of when they are given the opportunity, support and encouragement

 

 

 


Nicola Brawley honored as Volunteer of the Year

JudoScotland were on the move again as we delivered Nicola Brawley her Volunteer of the Year award at Irvine Judo Club.

Nicola, club treasurer, carries out a host of duties within the club. Whether it be as an event coordinator, competition organiser, first aider or even a mat cleaner, there seems to be no job Nicola does not do. Nicola is a volunteer who only has the smooth operation of the club on her agenda.

As well as all the above, Nicola organises the Judo Girls Rock session at her club, a participation programme aimed at bridging the gender gap in judo, particularly among young females. This initiative not only promotes inclusivity within the sport but also addresses the broader issue of female underrepresentation in physical activity programs, both locally and nationally.

Nicola epitomises how the support roles outside the dojo enhance the training within it. Thanks to Nicola’s work behind the scenes, the coaches can focus solely on their role as Nicola has everything else covered!

Speaking after the presentation, she said: “I’m delighted I won the award. I would like to thank our head coach Gordon Brawley for the nomination. I love what I do for my club and the community.”

Nicola embodies the judo values through her work at Irvine JC, she fosters an atmosphere of friendship and camaraderie where everyone is welcome as she ensures every facet of the club continues to run smoothly.

Gordon, head coach of Irvine Judo Club, said: “I’d like to thank JudoScotland for recognising Nicola’s hard work over the past couple of years. She is a very hard-working individual who puts the club at the forefront of everything she does. Nicola keeps the club on a good financial footing by taking on the role of club treasurer, as well as club cleaner, club first aid woman, and volunteer without a second thought. She organises Xmas and Halloween parties, not forgetting Easter eggs. She is at the forefront when organising fun days and charity events. She is a workaholic and a good person who will always put others before herself, all for free. To quote one of her favourite sayings, ‘Aye, the cleaner will get it’.

Nicola’s unwavering dedication, selflessness, and tireless efforts truly exemplify why she is deserving of the Volunteer of the Year award.


Charlie Strachan receives Disability Coach of the Year

Charlie Strachan, of Tams Brig Judo Club, was presented with the JudoScotland Disability Coach of the Year award by JudoScotland’s Head of Business Delivery Tony Penfold. Upon receiving the national award, Charlie paid tribute to the rest of the Tams Brig team, including his wife and fellow coach Michelle Strachan who won the same award last year, stating: “This award was not just down to me. It was teamwork on a massive scale from JudoScotland, club coaches, parents and last but not least the athletes themselves. Everyone had a part to play and I am just very proud I could be the catalyst bringing all this together.

Charlie goes above and beyond in his approach to make Tam’s Brig Judo Club an inclusive and welcoming environment to all. The club has a diverse membership which includes members who have physical, leaning, and sensory disabilities. His dedication ensures that every member feels not only welcomed but truly valued, enabling them to fully engage in club activities and advance in their judo journey.

After presenting the award, Tony said: “From the minute I walked into the club Charlie told me about everything and everyone – except himself! Such humility was matched with immense pride in the club, all its members and their plans for the future. The buzz in Tams Brig Judo Club tells you how inclusive it is, everyone’s included, everyone’s involved and everyone’s having a great time – especially Charlie”.

Going beyond the expected, Charlie took the initiative to learn Deafblind Manual which is a way to communicate using touch only. His encouragement for others to explore this skill reflects his unwavering dedication to inclusive communication.

Charlie Strachan has received praise from across the country for his coaching.

He adapts his coaching to allow judoka to feel a technique and ensures a thorough understanding of what is being done. He strongly believes in nurturing “home-grown” coaches, inspiring members of his club to start their own judo coaching journey. This has culminated in a diverse coaching workforce that supports Charlie’s drive to introduce judo to a wide range of individuals.

Charlie Strachan’s recognition as the JudoScotland Disability Coach of the Year highlights his commitment to fostering inclusivity at Tams Brig Judo Club. His forward-thinking approaches reflect his dedication to ensuring every member feels valued and supported.

By promoting internal coaching, Charlie creates a judo community where everyone can thrive. His leadership exemplifies the transformative impact of empathy and determination within sports, inspiring a legacy of inclusivity and excellence.


John Buchanan awarded Pathway Coach of the Year

John Buchanan was presented with the JudoScotlandPathway Coach of the Year award earlier this week by JudoScotland CEO Judith McCleary. John received his award at his home club Sportif, surrounded by the judoka who nominated him for this prestigious national award in recognition of his hard work and dedication to coaching. John, a five time British Champion and 2014 Commonwealth Games medalist, was pleased to pick up the award and thanked those within his club: “They’re a real pleasure to work with, they make my job easier.” John received the award at his club in Larbert but also coaches in other areas spanning Linlithgow, Cupar, St Andrews, Falkirk, Coatbridge, Airdrie  and Dunblane. He said: “It’s nice to be recognised within the judo community, it helps to reinforce that you’re doing something right.”

Despite John’s inclination to downplay his efforts, his dedication to the sport and his commitment to providing opportunities for judoka to enhance their skills are not to be overlooked. John along with wife Clare has meticulously coordinated travel and accommodation arrangements for trips within the UK, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to his athletes.  John has led groups of judoka to various competitions and training camps, both domestically and internationally, providing them with exposure to diverse levels of competition and training environments.

John’s coaching philosophy extends beyond medal-winning; he prioritises nurturing confident and respectful individuals in his club and beyond. During the award ceremony, some of John’s athletes took time out of their training session to share their thoughts. “John has helped us enjoy our judo more,” remarked one judoka, reflecting on the positive impact John has had on their experience in the sport. Another added, “He’s helped us improve a lot more as well.”  Lexi, John’s daughter and one of the athletes at Sportif, finished with, “He’s my dad and my coach, he does everything for me.”

Speaking on behalf of JudoScotland, Judith said ‘Coaches have a huge impact on the lives of those they coach. As well as supporting the development of judo skills on the mat, they help judoka to become more independent, confident and resilient; skills that are transferred into lots of other areas. We know how much work is undertaken behind the scenes by John and other coaches  -booking facilities, goal setting, session planning and competition preparation are just a few of the other tasks. It was a pleasure to present John with the JudoScotland Pathway Coach of the Year award and to see club members thrive under his guidance and what appears to be endless enthusiasm!


Ultimate Judo become the first club to receive a 2024 JudoMARK accreditation

Ultimate Judo in Aberdeen has set a remarkable milestone by becoming the first club in Scotland to achieve the updated 2024 JudoMARK accreditation. Gordon, the head coach of Ultimate Judo, shared his insights into the accreditation process, the benefits it brings to the club, and the positive impact it has on their members and community.

As the governing body, our goal is to provide affiliated clubs with the essential resources required to create an environment in which judo becomes not only safe but also a smooth and welcoming experience for everyone who steps into a dojo.

As soon as Gordon began the process, JudoScotland were on hand to assist every step of the way: “I had a really positive experience, Sam (Ingram, our Club Support Officer) helped us through it. We had the last JudoMARK already so it was just a case of reviewing a lot of the policies and what we do. It was hard at times but very rewarding and ultimately will be so useful for the club and its members”

Becoming accredited will now also be beneficial in attracting new members, establishing trust among potential members serves as a mark of the club’s commitment to ensuring everyone’s safety and professionalism. This assurance is particularly crucial for parents looking for a secure and nurturing environment for their children, Gordon said: “This will benefit us hugely in attracting new people to us. It puts us in front other sports, as we can prove we have proper governance and that is supported by JudoScotland. We understand how important is to our community to foster relationships with the local authority and active schools. It is clear that stakeholders prioritise working with accredited clubs.  It gives parents and judoka the reassurance to trust us, that everything is in place and that we are safeguarding our members, staff and families.”

Sam Ingram presents the JudoMARK accreditation certificate to Ultimate Judo.

Ensuring safety was always at the forefront of Gordon’s mind throughout the process: “What stood out the most for us was the safeguarding aspect. We can show everyone how we keep each other safe. We had to update our policies and our constitution. When someone can hold you to it, it has to be specific to you as a club. We now have it nailed down how the club runs and what is expected of everyone. We are using JudoMARK to show our members we are taking this seriously and we can say what is expected of everyone, whether you’re a judo player, a coach or a parent. The JudoMARK means there are no grey areas.” He added, “We’re looking after the workforce as well, it’s often forgotten how important they are and this provides them some security and lets them know they are covered.”

Gordon’s experience resonates with the positive impact JudoMARK has on the club’s operations, providing clarity, professionalism, and a strong foundation for future success. Their achievement not only benefits the club but also contributes to the broader goal of creating safe, welcoming, and thriving judo communities across Scotland.

To learn more about JudoMARK click here


Commonwealth Judo Championships 2024 Malta 4 - 7 April

We’d like to share the opportunities available to our members and the process for approval of JudoScotland as the recognised National Federation.

Details of the Championship that will incorporate Veterans, Newaza, Pre-Cadet, Cadet, Junior and Senior categories, can be found here. If you would like to represent Scotland within any of the categories, you must be able to evidence that you meet the required eligibility. It will also be the Judoka’s sole responsibility to cover entry fees and other costs associated with participating in the Commonwealth Judo Championship.

Within the Pre-Cadet, Cadet, Junior and Senior categories, JudoScotland will consider the approval of applications for judoka currently within a JudoScotland or Scottish institute of sport pathway / performance programme. Should there be more notes of interest submitted than places available, a panel consisting of JudoScotland’s CEO, National High Performance Coach and National Talent Development Manager will make a decision based on the suitability.

For Pre-Cadet, Cadet and Junior entrants only, JudoScotland can arrange travel & accommodation (although costs will need to be covered by individuals, expected to be in the region of £600pp) and will provide two staff members to accompany the judoka provided there are more than 6 entrants across these categories.

Within Senior, Newaza and Veteran categories, logistics will be the responsibility of the entrant.

If you are interested in applying, please check that you meet the Championship eligibility criteria and the approval guidance outlined by JudoScotland. Following the above, please submit a note of interest form to JudoScotland by 26th February 2024.

Note of interest form

After this stage, those with approved places will be contacted to supply the relevant information and entry fee to enable JudoScotland to make applications.

Should you have any questions at all, please contact [email protected] or call 0131 333 2981 to speak to a member of our team.


News From the Chair

Happy New Year! I’m sure 2024 going to be a great one for Scottish judo.

On 14th January, we had a Board Training Day where we discussed communication and effectiveness, teamwork, culture and our Code of Conduct. The session was facilitated by Michael Cavanagh OBE. It was an excellent, informative and uplifting day, and nice to catch up with Michael (someone I’ve been on the mat with many years ago at the Newhaven Club in Edinburgh.)

On a personal note, on 20th January, I had another reunion – this time with judoka from my old judo school, the Kendal Judo Centre. Just looking around the company, I was struck by how many highly successful judoka were there. Too many to name but a fabulous night and lots of happy memories were shared.
During the same weekend, we had the Scottish Open.

It was an excellent event with over 620 competitors and 5 mats over the 2 days at the weekend. The feedback I have had since has been tremendous and I would like to thank the entire team for all of the hard work – often unseen – that goes on in the background to plan and run such a big event.

The event had a camp afterwards and it was great to host some of our international visitors for an extended period for some high-quality training.
At this point, I’d like to thank Robert Sneddon, whose company RA Sneddon Ltd sponsored the camp. Robert was on the JudoScotland Board for around 15 years and is a very valued member of the judo community. Thank you, Robert.

And some sad news. Many of you will know Andy McKenna 3rd Dan of East Kilbride Judo Club who sadly passed away in January. In 2021 both Andy and his wife Margaret received Lifetime Achievement Awards from JudoScotland. Andy and Margaret have had clubs over the years in Strathaven and Stonehouse delivering the benefits of our sport of judo to many hundreds of young people around the area. Andy’s legacy will endure through the generations of judoka whose lives he touched and will remain in our sport for many years to come. Our condolences go to his wife Margaret, a successful judo competitor – a sad loss.

Finally, we ended January with an online Board meeting. We’ve introduced updated technology which now allows us to run ‘virtual’ sessions – something that proved very helpful to our more far-flung Board members, given the great Scottish weather we’re having at the moment.

Here’s to some sunshine – and fewer storms – onwards!

Marc Preston

6th Dan


Local Triumphs and International Success: A Weekend of fantastic Judo at the Scottish Open in Largs

The picturesque town of Largs played host to an exhilarating weekend of judo as the Scottish Open returned. Judoka hailing from various corners of the world gathered at the Inverclyde National Training Centre to put on some breathtaking displays.

The highlight of the meeting turned out to be a family affair as brothers Alex and Olly Short met in a final for the first time. It meant the men’s -73kg category had an extra air of intensity as all eyes were drawn to the siblings from Edinburgh. Olly was victorious over his older brother, though both put on an excellent display. Olly said: “It was a really hard fight, we’re brothers but also training partners. It was a bit more intense than it usually is at Randori! The Scottish Open is unique, it’s the first one back after the new year which means there are a lot of people motivated to start strong and using it to prepare for the year to come with the European and world circuits approaching.”

Alex added: “I enjoyed fighting my brother. It’s good fun, it’s just like training every day. I felt like we could open up and just go for it and put on a bit of a show. I don’t know what others thought but it felt like a good fight to watch. It was difficult but good fun. Being brothers, it gets heated quite easily. It could’ve been in the living room, could’ve been in Ratho but to do it at the Scottish Open was fun.”

Brothers Alex and Olly Short on the podium, alongside fellow Scot Aiden Moffat.

Day one had seen cadets and masters take to our five mats with competitors from Norway, the USA, Sweden and Germany providing great competition for our home nations judoka. The plethora of countries competing created an electric atmosphere in the Inverclyde Training Centre and, with tensions and nerves beginning to rise, coaches and teammates alike could be heard shouting encouragement to those on the mats. There was Scottish success from both categories with masters taking home 17 medals and cadets achieving 19.

Cadets in action.

There was also success for our English counterparts, including the Craven club from Yorkshire. Craven coach Danny Harper, who was recently named BJA coach of the year, won gold himself and was later on hand to assist eight judoka from his club. He said: “It’s a well run, professional event and personally it was good to work on some throws. I’ve got eight athletes with me, some double entries so they are getting plenty of matches. That’s why we bring them over and the fact they can go up against some top international athletes is really good.”

Danny Harper (middle) won gold in the VM2-100 category.

This praise was echoed by Olympian and current Enfield judo coach Prisca Awiti Alcaraz who said: “It’s always great to come here and compete against the best across the country. It was a good opportunity for our athletes to do a bit of learning, we have a younger group with new coaches and this is a perfect place for them to learn their trade.”

As Saturday wound down, all thoughts turned to the seniors and juniors who were gearing up to take centre stage on Sunday. And so, by 8:30am, we were ready to go again. First up were the juniors who put on some lively displays with several Scots dramatically securing gold.

Keeping an eye on all the action was our National High Performance Coach Euan Burton who said: “It’s been a fantastic event so far, we’ve had international representation from Asia, Australasia, Europe and America so it’s great for Scottish athletes to be able to compete against that level of an opponent without having to leave our sunny shores which unfortunately have not been particularly sunny this weekend! For our group, match experience is so important, particularly for our cadets and juniors, and this gives them loads of time on task, and competition. So, hopefully they can take lots from this weekend into training.”

Juniors in action.

Come 1pm the bleachers were full and the mat-side was getting busier, the seniors were about to start. Our Scottish athletes came flying out the blocks, with Josie Steele securing gold in the senior -63 category. Fellow Scottish judoka Rachel Tytler also left Largs with a gold medal after triumphing in the -78 senior category. “I’m happy with how I fought,” said the Bearsden athlete. “I had a wee chat with Euan (coach) and we were both pleased with how I was calm and collected but kept committed. Events like the Scottish Open are so important as it gives me a chance to try out the judo I’ve been practising, to improve my confidence in doing so.”

“Being closer to home is nice as my parents came down to watch as usually they’re unable to watch me overseas. I could hear my mum shouting away, which she was not allowed to do! But, it was nice having them here.”

Rachel Tytler (middle) is presented her gold medal by camp sponsor Robert Sneddon

Following the competition, our three-day camp started on Monday thanks to the sponsorship of RA Sneddon. This allowed several judoka to learn from our national coaches as well as a masterclass from double Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion Shohei Ono.

Shohei Ono (right) takes a session alongside our assistant high performance coach, Takafumi Kitahara

The camp included 10 athletes from Chukyo University in Japan, who provided great training partners and really added value to the camp for our domestic judoka. Robert, a generous supporter of the event, shared his perspective on his continued sponsorship, stating, “I’ve sponsored it before, years ago when it was getting started, my main aim to get the Scottish Open up and running. This year I felt why not sponsor it again, the camp aspect looked great and I’m happy to be supporting it.”

Judoka at our Scottish Open Camp
Scottish Open 2024 ResultsScottish Open 2024 Photos

Results: The Scottish Open 2024

Saturday 20th and 21st January

National Inverclyde Centre

2024 Results