It’s my final day! While it’s been fun for the last few days, I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and just stay in bed. But before that I have my last sport – Judo.
If I’m totally honest, I don’t really know what Judo is. I’m aware that it’s part of the martial arts family of sports, but my knowledge ends there. Instead of researching beforehand I decide to turn up blind and see what happens.
Arriving at Budokwai I’m given a Judo suit and pointed to the room upstairs for the class. Putting on my suit, I set down my bags and step into a bright room.
“OUT,” shouts a loud voice from the other end of the room. I see fifteen men in similar Judo suits and one woman with her hair in a tight bun. “NO SHOES, OUT,” she shouts again, coming towards me.
I dart back out the room and kick off my trainers, before timidly sticking my head back round the door.
“I’d kick you out for that normally, but today I’ll let it slide,” says the woman in a cockney accent, shaking my hand. “I’m Jacqui, have you done Judo before?”
“Regardless of her short stature, no taller than 5”2, she commands the respect of more than a dozen big burly men”
Not even a little bit, I say, will I be able to keep up? She smiles, seemingly amused and enjoying my nervousness. “We’ve just finished the warm up, you might have some problems from now on.”
She runs back into the middle of the room and gathers the men around her, I can’t help but smile at how regardless of her short stature, no taller than 5”2, she commands the respect (and clearly terrifies) more than a dozen big burly men.
I quickly realise through the demonstration that Judo is nothing like the Karate class I was expecting, rolling around on the floor, it seems to consist mainly of cuddling your opponent and trying to bend their arms.
As I watch quietly from the side, Jacqui walks over. “Ok, get on all fours, I’ll be your partner.”
Getting on the floor, she put one arm through the underneath of my body, holding the other on my chest and other my shoulder and flips me over.
“You see the move?” she asks, I definitely don’t but with her weight on me and my face against hers I smile and nod. “OK, then you flip me….”