JFAUK President Sampson Sampson (8th Dan) has just returned from Gibraltar, where he spent two days training with team Gibraltar and talking with Charles Conroy (7th Dan), President and founder of the Gibraltar Judo Federation.

The two training sessions drew on Sampson’s international experience to assist with team Gibraltar’s preparation for the XVIII Island Games, a multi nation sporting event set to take place this summer in Gibraltar. Assisted by JFAUK National Team member, Sam Sampson, Day 1 focused on tachi-waza and looked at how to turn into a strong, restrictive opponent alongside competition strategy based on the Island Games ruleset. Day 2 continued the competitive focus and instead focused on ne-waza, looking at transitions from juji Gatame as well escapes from the armlock.

The exchange, however, was not solely initiated for training. This exchange took place to create a link between the two federations and to establish new opportunities for all Judoka involved. As a small island with a complicated political history, Gibraltar is often denied access to a number of international events and its judoka are therefore left largely isolated and without opportunity to test their judo on an international stage.

This exchange therefore aims to be the first step toward a turning point in the history of Gibraltarian judo. The result of Sampson’s visit now connects The Gibraltar Judo Federation to the World Judo Federation and as a result will provide a new platform for all Gibraltarian judoka. These judoka will no longer face barriers and restrictions on their international judo integration and will now have equal opportunities to practice, participate, compete with and most importantly enjoy their judo with judoka from across the world.

This connection not only creates an opportunity for Gibraltarian judoka to travel across the WJF international circuit, however will now provide an opportunity for Gibraltar to host its own competitions and training courses which will have the full support of the World Judo Federation and its judoka. During the exchange, Sampson was shown a handful of potential venues and talks will soon begin with an aim of setting dates for these events to take place.

As per our name, we believe that judo is for everybody regardless of age, gender, race, religion or residence and firmly believe that everybody should be given an equal opportunity to practice and enjoy the benefits of judo. Together with the World Judo Federation we aim to continue providing opportunities for all Judoka to practice judo along the Japanese tradition and aim to continue to break down barriers that sepreate us and truly work along Jigoro Kano’s vision and extend judo as more than a sport or martial art, but as a catalyst for mutual benefit and mutual development.

We are extremely excited to work with the Gibraltar Judo Federation and cannot wait for the next few years to unfold as we engage more students with the beauty of judo.