After being awarded his 3rd Dan at Carnegie judo club, Peter McCann spoke to JudoScotland about his journey in judo so far.

Peter turned to judo initially for self-defence, prompted by his registration as blind and his apprehension about the area he grew up in. Reflecting on those early days, he recalls, “I was registered blind around 25 years ago and because of the area I grew up I felt vulnerable, I was worried someone might do something. I ended up being quite anxious and I felt something had to change. So I felt if someone does try anything I’d have a chance against them with judo. But I soon got the bug.”

His initial foray into judo quickly blossomed into a deep love for the sport. Peter found solace and empowerment on the judo mat. “I fell in love with judo not long after,” he shares. “I loved the people there, the independence it allowed me to have and how I was treated as an equal. I’ve pretty much been doing it twice a week for a long time. I’ve always been interested in martial arts from before I was blind.”

Peter’s journey in judo is not just about personal fulfilment; it’s also about setting an example for his daughters. “I’ve got two daughters,” he explains, “I wanted to show them that if you want to achieve something you can go and do it.” This drive to inspire others extends beyond his family, as Peter actively mentors a young visually impaired member at Carnegie Judo Club, sharing tips and techniques from his own experiences. “I try and pass on as much advice as I can and give him some cheeky bits and pieces that have helped me. I’m not the biggest or the heaviest so I have to depend on my technique and movement.”

Throughout his journey, he found unwavering support from mentors like Jim Feenan, who encouraged him to pursue his goals. “Jim is so encouraging and kept at us to do it (achieving his 3rd Dan). He’s forever pushing me forward and telling me there are no barriers”.

“I do judo the same as everyone else, I don’t get any special treatment.” His accomplishments speak volumes about his tenacity and skill, including participation in GB squads, earning medals in the British, Lithuanian, and German Open, and achieving a remarkable 3rd Dan.

Peter's a regular at the Veteran sessions at the JudoScotland National Training Centre.

As he continued in the sport, Peter began to embrace the theory side “I like the technical aspect of judo,” he shares. “It is adapted for me slightly but I really enjoy learning the mechanics of the sport and finding ways in which I can adapt it to suit my body type.”

Beyond judo, Peter leads an active lifestyle, regularly cycling and kayaking. Yet, it’s the camaraderie and sense of community within the judo world that truly resonate with him. “It’s a friendly bunch,” he emphasises. “Everyone is out there to help you.”

Jim Feenan, head coach of Carnegie Judo Club, added: “Peter, together with his training partner Stan Shaw, is a stalwart of the Carnegie Judo Club and the JudoScotland Veterans sessions. He is known for his technical understanding of Newaza, and I often invite him to demonstrate alternatives to the main techniques practised.

I guess I pushed him quite hard over the last year, but Pete’s promotion to 3rd Dan acknowledges his determination and commitment to achieve this significant grade. He is an inspiration to anyone wanting to overcome difficulties, a mentor to many and a trusted adviser. Well done Peter, proud of you!”

Peter being awarded his 3rd Dan by Jim Feenan.

As Peter reflects on his judo journey, he offers words of encouragement to aspiring judokas: “I’d say go for it, there’s no limit in judo. First and foremost enjoy it, and once you start to do that it will lead you to bigger and better things.”