Sunday, September 04, 2016


Sukata Judo and Dan Grading

18 hrs · 
When I got my 1st Dan in Judo 10 years ago it was still classed as an accomplishment.
In one day you had to do tge full Gokyu left AND right handed, if you passed that then it was Katame-No-Kata AND Nage-No-Kata COMPLETE. If you passed that you had to complete a line up against 4 other Judoka going for the same grade; you had to win ALL fights by IPPON, any lower score resulted in you not getting the grade and having to do it all again.
Thats when being a Dan Grade meant something. Now you can "earn" a Grade over years, one section of Katame-No-Kata!!
Top of Form

Bottom of Form
This article was on Facebook and I found it very interesting let me tell you a little bit about my 1st Dan Grading:
I started Judo at the age of 5 in 1955 under the direction of my Father Nobby Clarke and Mother Margret Clarke both who gained their 1st Dan in 1962 examiner Kenshiro Abbe 8th Dan. There was very little junior Judo in the 1950’s hence the reason my Mother and Father started the Young Judo Club Sittingbourne in 1957 one of the first clubs to cater for Children. My father would organise some of the first junior Judo competitions in the area during the 1960’s. The junior judoka in those days were not of the standard of today and neither did they have the numbers. Many clubs did not have proper Judo mats our own club started with old feather mattresses with heavy canvas. I loved competition and at 13  was training with adults. My first major tournament win was at the BJC Open in 1967 held at Maidstone where as a 1st kyu I won the Heavyweight Brown Belt section and then won the Open where I beat all the Dan grades.
Why have I told you this simply this would lead to me getting my 1st Dan in 1971. Being young and conceited I loved the idea of being a Brown belt and beating Black Belts was a great rush but was to create many arguments with my parents who tried to explain that Judo was more then winning a competition and embarrassing Dan grades. Eventually my father told me if I did not take my Dan grading I would be banned from the club, needless to say I took my grading. The competition side was no problem BUT the theory side i.e. Kata was alien to me. Yet when I received my 1st Dan I began to understand Judo and by 1974 I was a 4th Dan

My 1st Dan grading was with the BJC (MAC) and all candidates were expected to attend 2 weekend courses at Elliott’s J C Rochester normally organised by Bob White, which covered Nage No Kata, Refereeing and Theory the 3rd weekend would be the Southern Area Grading at YMCA Maidstone where there would be literally hundreds of Judoka. I had to take a line up of 10 Judoka who were 1st Kyu and 1st Dan, which I won all of them.

At the time I did question whether the Examiners were expecting more from the Candidates then they had achieved themselves? A few examiners do sometimes make a grading exceptional hard so they can enhance their own reputation.

In the International Budo Federation UK we still expect certain standards for Competitive Judoka i.e. Good standard of Shiai, Nage no Kata, Gokyo, Counters & Combinations we no longer do Line Ups for two reasons we no longer have the numbers and secondly Line Up do not judge a players competitive ability it only judges a players stamina and always favours the bigger Judoka. The IBF also recognises that not all Judoka wish to or able to compete so we do organise Non Competitive Examinations but I can not remember the last time we have done this for 1st Dan but as Judokas with years of experience do they take this examination route and to be honest these are the judoka who keep Judo alive by running clubs etc.

What we have to realise Times have changed back in the 1960’s and 1970’s the main Grappling/Martial Art was Judo with a little bit of Karate and Jiu Jitsu, now we have hundreds of different Martial/Grappling Arts. It obvious that many Martial/Grappling Artists no longer want to be thrown like we do in Judo and Sambo so we have to adapt. The late Great Geoff Gleeson used to attend Sittingbourne and would give courses and one thing he said was that we should cater for as many people who want to do Judo as possible so if need be we should concentrate on aspects of Judo which different people want. Working on this basis I recently spoke to one of my senior Dan Grades and said if people do not want to box they learn boxersize why can we in Judo not do the same and develop a section where no one get thrown but can be used an exercise, balance plus learn how to work in partnership and the obvious answer for this would be the Ju No Kata. I have asked him to start a Ju No Kata Club

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