The Museum of East Asian Art – Judo Exhibit ‘Field trip’ report.

Hello everyone, Adam here with another ‘field trip‘ report.

On Monday we shared on Facebook and Twitter about an exhibit at The Museum of East Asian Art in Bath. As I have the week off from work for half term, I decided to visit myself, which I did yesterday (Wednesday 27th October.)

Now for once I’m not sure what to actually say because…. there wasn’t really that much to see. The exhibit itself was just one room, and the photo below shows maybe 40% of it.

Image copyright Museum of East Asian Art, Bath, UK.

What they do have was interesting to look at, with my favourite thing being a letter from Sarah Mayer to Gunji Koizumi during her visit to Japan. It was interesting to read because it shows how she felt about Judo, her own doubts at her ability and her perspectives on the Japanese way of life.

But I can’t escape from from the simple fact that there just wasn’t a lot to see in the museum as a whole. I don’t want to disparage the museum. It’s clean and well presented, but I spent probably a total of 40 minutes at the museum, 20 minutes in the exhibit and the other 20 looking around the rest of the museum. And I saw everything.

What might be the most disappointing thing is finding out later on how much is in the larger collection. According to the University of Bath archives, the Richard Bowen Collection has over 2000 items in it! To quote the Museum of East Asian Art website:

“This exhibition features material from the most significant judo archival collection in the UK, which is now housed at the University of Bath. The collection was assembled by Richard Bowen (1926-2005), who represented Great Britain at the first World Judo Championships in Japan. The valuable photographs, rare books, old posters and other important documents illustrate the history of judo in the UK as well as provide fascinating insights into Anglo-Japanese relations, the role of gender in sport and the popularity of judo around the world.”

Unfortunately it appears that aside from what is on show at the Museum of East Asian Art, the rest of the collection is in the University of Bath archives and not available to the public. Which is a shame, because it looks like quite a lot more could have been shown diving more into the history of Judo in the UK.

In conclusion? I would say if you’re in the area (the Royal Crescent is nearby) and have an hour to kill, go for it. Otherwise, don’t go to Bath exclusively for this exhibit. To be honest, after I left the museum I spent the rest of the day just walking around the city of Bath being a tourist, and had a better time for it.

Links
The Museum of East Asian Art website – https://meaa.org.uk/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MEAABATH
Twitter – @TheMEAA

An unexpected surprise – Sensei Adam awarded ‘Nidan’ (2nd Dan)!

Hi guys, Sensei Adam here.

You may remember back in October of last year I travelled up to World Ju-Jitsu Federation headquaters in Liverpool to do my 2nd dan (Nidan) grading, where I came close to passing but fell short.

Immediately after hearing the news, Kyōshi Robert Howes (7th Dan) offered to let me re-try my grading at a later date at one of his classes in Norwich, including ‘volunteering’ the services of one of his club coaches, Sensei Jack Stapleton (4th Dan), to uke for me. In case you forgot, Kyōshi Howes is the sensei who has visited us to adjudicate our club gradings in the past, and whom I trained under last summer.

After our last club gradings back in November, we decided that the best plan was for me to join them at their next club gradings which was set for Saturday 21st March 2020, but then that pesky Coronavirus meant all their classes and the grading got postponed.

You might now be wondering, why would I bring this up now?

This morning I received a surprise package from Kyōshi Robert Howes, containing a letter, a Nidan belt and my certificate.

Yes, I have officially been awarded my 2nd Dan black belt! I was not expecting this and was still waiting for when I could re-try my grading. At this point I don’t really know what to say, other than to thank everyone from Kyōshi Robert Howes, Kancho Robert Hart and of course our Sensei Julia! There are probably other people I need to thank too so if I’ve missed you, thank you!

Roll on October 2023 when I should eligible to attempt my Sandan (3rd dan) grading!

Not a 2nd Dan quite yet

If you’re reading this you probably want to know how I got on at yesterdays grading. In short, I’m not a 2nd Dan quite yet.

The World Ju-Jitsu Federation holds a high and exacting standard for all of it’s gradings, to which no one is exempt. On this occasion I fell just short of the passing grade.

Now to clarify I have not failed, but I haven’t passed either. I have been deferred, which to most of means “resit the exam” so at some point I will have to attempt it again.
I won’t have to travel back up to the HQ in Liverpool but I will still do it in front of senior coaches, and at the moment the current plan sounds like I will travel to Norwich to do it at Haya-Ashi Ju-Jutsu who I trained with over the summer.

In the mean time I have been given excellent feedback on what I did well at and where I didn’t, which was given to me by 2 of the 3 senseis who sat on my adjudicating panel, namely Kyōshi Russ Walsh (7th Dan) and Shihan Simon Jones (7th Dan). I was also fortunate in that my Uke for the day was Sensei Paul Daley (6th Dan) who also gave his own advice.

On that note, I would like to thank all of the sensei’s mentioned above again, as well as Kyōshi Robert Howes (7th Dan), Sensei David Howard (5th Dan) and Kanchō Robert Hart (7th Dan), who had unpleasant job of breaking the news to me. Everyone I spoke to agreed that I can do it, it just needed more polish than I presented yesterday.

I never walked in expecting to pass. I knew I had to earn it and knew the standards were high, so also I knew there was a chance I could have failed. When it unfortunately happened, it wasn’t a crushing defeat. I don’t even consider it a setback because I haven’t lost anything that I need to regain.

People say you learn more from failure than success, and I plan to use myself as an example for our students. Sure you can train hard and still fail. But you take some time to assess what went wrong, work on those issues and you try again.

I’ll close out this post with a quote that’s served me well in the past and served me well yesterday:

If you’re not prepared to fail, you’re not prepared at all.

I will earn my 2nd Dan, it just hasn’t been quite yet.

Haya-ashi Ju-Jutsu, Summer 2019

For the last 6 weeks of the summer holidays, I’ve been travelling to Norwich to join the Haya-ashi Ju-Jutsu club twice a week for some extra weapons practice ahead of my 2nd Dan grading in October.

I would like give my thanks to Kyōshi Robert Howes (7th Dan), Senseis Jack Stapleton (3rd Dan), Martyn Webster (3rd Dan) and Jason King (2nd Dan), as well as everyone else at the club who took the time to help me and make me feel welcome at the club.

At the start of the summer I had ear-marked 6 dates I would be attending, in the end though it I attended 11 classes back to back! Even though I was just a visitor, by the end I didn’t feel like one, more a home away from home.

They are of course more than welcome to join in at our classes in Aylesbury should they ever be in the area!

Also finally, good luck to Steven Newson who is going for his 1st Dan black belt on the same day I’ll be doing my 2nd. Chances are one of us will end up playing Uke for the other at some point!

International Martial Arts Seminar, Manchester – 3rd August 2019.

Hello everyone, Adam here with my little ‘report’ of yesterdays seminar in Manchester.

As you might be aware, this was my second seminar, my first being the ‘Soke Clark Seminar‘ held back in February of this year. This weekends seminar was hosted by Hanshi John Greenhalgh, who holds the mightily impressive rank of Jūdan (10th Dan!) This was also different in that it wasn’t a WJJF seminar, rather it was open to all regardless of sporting affiliation. But plenty of WJJF members were in attendance.

After a mildly intense warm-up on an already warm day, we started with some Kickboxing! This opening segment was conducted by Former W.K.A. Full Contact British Kickboxing Champion Chris West of “West Freestyle Martial Arts” (Website | Facebook).

I got to work with Claire, herself a champion kick-boxer, who was quite happy to let a me kick her directly! It’s honestly surreal when you kick a stranger in the stomach without them holding a pad of some sort, and they reply with “That was good, try it again!
In all seriousness, Claire was really patient and gave lots of tips on how to improve my kicks and strikes. Speaking of which we started with simple but efficient strikes and kicks, and gradually worked up to more complex spinning kicks and multiple attacks.

After that we moved on to classic Ju-Jitsu, and I changed partners. For the remainder of the seminar I paired up with Sensei’s Peter and Graham, both 8th Dans. We worked on a nice variety of locks, counters and pressure points. What I enjoyed most was that both Peter and Graham showed their experience and how they would modify a move to a given situation.

This is the sort of thing seminars should be all about. Those with experience passing it on to the next generation.

As I posted on our Twitter after the event:

“That was another excellent seminar. I really enjoyed working with the senior belts who don’t just show you how to do a move, they show the technical side as well.
Leaving feeling a bit battered and bruised, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

In fact we got so carried away, the seminar actually over-ran, with the Worsley Leisure Centre staff waiting for to leave to they could lock up. Somehow I don’t think they were going to argue with the 30 or so black belts in attendance.

Manchester Seminar Group Photo
Photo via ‘Muga Mushin Ryu Ju-Jitsu HQ Liverpool

But all in all, it was well worth the 350 mile round trip, and I look forward to the next seminar. Though up next will be my 2nd dan grading……..