JudoScotland is proud to announce President Dr George Kerr has accepted the new position of President Emeritus. This is the first time this position has been given and reflects the lifetime of contribution George has made to promoting Judo and Scottish Judo globally. This honorary role will allow George to pass the position of President to another fantastic ambassador.

JudoScotland Chair Marc Preston commented, “George has contributed enormously to the sport of Judo in Scotland and around the world in his role as President. I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank him for the strides he has made in making the sport what it is. It has been a great honour to work alongside him, and I speak for the entire Board when I say, thank you.”

We as an organisation are grateful for the doors George has opened for Scottish judoka in countries across the world.

George’s Life in Judo So Far

Starting Judo aged eight, George was instantly taken with the sport. Showing a natural talent, George won a scholarship to train at the Budokwai Judo Club London, under the tuition of Master of Judo Mr T.P. Leggett who orchestrated a lifechanging opportunity for George to live and train in Japan. George attended Nihon University, known as Nichidai University where he studied Judo for four years and 3 months. He credits his time here as not only the place where he learnt to speak Japanese but also where he learnt to speak English!


Georges judo CV is unrivalled, helping him being awarded accolades the world over including the Order of the Rising sun with gold rays from the Emperor of Japan, an honorary doctorate from Heriot Watt University, the Edinburgh Award which saw his hands immortalised in the paving slabs at the Edinburgh city chambers and his CBE from her Majesty the Queen.

As a competitor he helped to secure Gold for Team Great Britain at the European Team Championships in Rotterdam. This was to become one of an impressive 4 European medals in total. It would have been more Gold if he hadn’t faced the formidable Anton Geesink in the final of the open weight.

Returning from Japan to the UK, George was sought after for his new knowledge and skills and settled in as head coach of the Renshuden and Budokwai in London. After controversially being banned from competing in the trials for the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo for being deemed a professional, George decided to return home to his native Edinburgh where he set up the infamous Edinburgh club. The Edinburgh Club quickly became an institution, not just for Judo but for Edinburgh.

George didn’t let the disappointment of 1964 stop him leaving his mark in Olympic history, after becoming a referee in the Olympic Games  both at 1972 in Munich and at the 1976 Montreal Olympics where he became the first Brit to referee 3 finals, he made his coaching debut at The 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games winning a bronze medal before becoming the first British Coach to produce an Olympic Gold medallist, for Austria. In 1988 he topped this by become the first coach ever to produce a double consecutive Olympic Gold Medallist at the Seoul Olympic Games.

As chairman of The British Judo Association, George was pivotal in developing International Judo relations. Under George’s leadership, Great Britain hosted The 1955 European Judo Championships in Birmingham.

Whilst President of the BJA George Kerr went to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games to represent the interests of the British Judo Association. The Athens Olympic Games marked a significant change in the way Judo is presented including the introduction of Blue Gi’s and the introduction of back patches. He has continued to support the interests of British Judo at the Olympic Games and hosted dignitaries at the London 2012 Games.

Speaking of his time in the sport, George says ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in judo and upon travelling the globe, I am proud to say I am Scottish. Having learnt to speak Japanese and through my time in Japan, I built strong relationships between Japan and Scotland which continue today. Judo is a truly wonderful sport and I wish JudoScotland all the best in continuing to inspire future generations to take part and enjoy it as much as I have.’