New Year Message from Chair

To all members of Southern Area judo family.

I started to draft this message several times… but what to say in these very difficult times when everyone’s lives have been turned upside down and there’s more changes and challenges to face for some time. So I went back to the principles of judo… and found a Japanese proverb of “Fall seven times and stand up eight” – what a great phrase that sums up resilience. And this year we’ve seen resilience and determination in spades … from the coaches who have shown amazing creativity in their training sessions for judoka of all ages and skill levels, to the parents and carers who have continued to support their children to access those activities. And let’s not forget the ‘other halves’ of coaches who have supported their stressed-out judo volunteers through the numerous changes.

In November this year the International Judo Federation celebrated the 40th anniversary of the First World Championships for Women by hosting seminars and publishing memories of competitors. What comes across from these memories are the principles of our sport that make individuals confident and resilient, that provides opportunities for people to achieve more than they thought possible and that creates life-long friendships around the world. Below are some examples from the IJF website:

“Judo reinforces the values that are transmitted to you in the family, where you are educated to be honest, decent, respectful and never harm anyone. I am judo.”

“Very close friends. Lots of encounters. A way of moving through life; a way of flexibility.”

“A big family inside judo; friends and a love of helping others.”

“A philosophy of life.”

The Southern Area has always been strong in judo . Yes – we’ve lost a lot of clubs and players over the last 20 years and nowadays there’s a wider range of sports to choose from. BUT we are resilient… The County Committees continue to focus on ‘local’ support and news, and the main SA committee and specialist Committees have been working on ideas and plans to help deliver judo in ways that will meet the needs of players and volunteers. The timetable for our ‘Back to the Mat’ keeps changing due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, but the ideas and willingness are there.

So on behalf of the SA Committee and specialist committee volunteers, I wish you all a safe and happy New Year

Best Regards
Marion Woodard
Southern Area Judo 30.12.20