The Borders Sumer School has been going for 16 years and has had guest instructors that include two Kodokan 8th Dan, amongst many. For the sixteen years of its existence it has never failed to provide top quality instructors from across the Judo organisations. People have travelled far and wide to this beautiful part of Britain to enjoy the scenery, the Judo and the social inclusion.

Innerleithen is a small village, meaning that wherever you stay you will be in striking distance of both the dojo and the various places where judoka can re-fuel and re-energise after a days practice.  From  Thursday evening people converged on the Borders village from across the UK. Newbies mingled with previous attendees happy to regale stories of courses been and gone, the laughter rate rising as the evening passed by.

The judo began on Friday with a full day of training. JFAUK Midland Area Representative Dave Hammond (5th Dan) led the session, assisted by guest instructor James from the BJC, who ran the morning session. Although a JFAUK event, the Borders Summer School has always attracted instructors and participants from across the Judo spectrum. Thus, Saturday opened with a full mat and the lead was taken by Judo Scotland 6th Dan Andy Malcolm from Edinburgh Bushido. 

Andy is known across Scottish Judo and his no-nonsense style of teaching was well –received by Judoka from such diverse places as Dundee, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, London and Worthing. Showing his own slant on entry methods for some basic techniques Andy enthralled the mat for the morning session, before Dave Hammond once again took control, running through a number of slightly more complex strangles and turn overs. 

Come 4 O’clock and it was time to head back to the St Ronan’s, where the socialising bumped along as various people came and went. As the evening went on, the social side was in full swing. Darts and pool both played a part in the evening entertainment, but the real fun was had mixing with judoka from different parts of the UK, and locals, who couldn’t help but gravitate to our location to see what all the fun was about. 

The Saturday night revelry does not, however, stop the mat from opening as usual at 10 the following morning. Sunday saw a trio of JFA instructors take the mat, with Dundee’s Jason Baird (2ndDan) taking a session on ne-waza and Club Judoka’s Ross Elliot (2ndDan) making his Borders debut taking a very well received session on harai-goshi. Both Jason and Ross are seasoned competitors on the international scene, so their input was greatly appreciated. 

There was still time for Dave to once again take the mat, laughingly inflicting pain with arm and wrist locks. It has become a staple over recent years that this course includes techniques of Judo that are not part of contest Judo – all of which are well received.

And so, the event wound down, but not before three individuals had earned new grades. Long journeys home were contemplated, but the likelihood of those in attendance returning next year with more friends is likely.