Category Archives: Anglia Ruskin Judo club

Big changes……

Lots of people have asked me what is going on with “my job” at Anglia Ruskin so I thought it best to clarify my current position. I am a senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin and was not employed for the judo at all, this was all something I did “as extra”.

In 2009 I started a judo club at Anglia Ruskin University, I remember telling the SU staff that I wanted it to be the best university judo team in the country and being laughed at. In 2010 the European judo union moved the performance coach awards to Anglia Ruskin with me as the course leader and this was the start of a “judo programme” that consisted of a high performance coach education pathway, full-time athletes, a community programme, the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, recreational judo and a judo research group. I am quite proud of what was achieved here, predominately in my own time and with no extra pay. As much as I enjoy research and coach education my real passion is in athlete development and ironically it was this part of the judo programme that would prove its eventual downfall.

I set the target of providing 20hrs of training a week and we managed this with the same support as other clubs had (often less) for a sustained period of time but eventually things change. In my time managing and coaching the athletes at Anglia Ruskin they have performed very well in the British University and Colleges Championships, the results are shown below for this –

  • 4 x mens team champions at BUCS (the only Anglia Ruskin University team to win BUCS) plus one bronze
  • Women’s team bronze
  • 10 individual dan grade gold medals
  • 3 individual dan grade silvers medals
  • 10 individual dan grade bronzes medals

Over the years thats is 288 BUCS points for Anglia Ruskin University. Add to that around 15 peer reviewed journal articles specific to judo, three judo PhD students, countless students who have attended the university because of judo, income generated and the marketing i’d say it’s not a bad job.  Still the head of sport decided he didn’t want me involved in the judo anymore, this is his choice to make and I accept that decision.

So I move on! I will stay at Anglia Ruskin as a senior lecturer, a job I have enjoyed very much over the years to be honest and the one I am actually paid for. I think it is fair to say that my club that I have run for 18 years, Comberton Judo club, has suffered over the past 5-6 years with my main focus being on the Anglia Ruskin Judo Programme and the good news is that is changing and it is changing fast! Very fast! Comberton Judo club will now provide full-time training and many of the students who previously trained within the Anglia Ruskin Judo programme have moved to train with us.

I am now more positive and more confident in the judo I can deliver than I have been for a very long time, this might be a forced change but in many ways I feel it will be for the best. I would really like to thank the coaches and athletes who have stood by me throughout this two year period – Natasha Collins, Alex Hemming, Holly Newton, Ben Caldwell and Tara Fitzjohn have been particularly affected by all of this and have been strong throughout.

I will follow this post with another one about all the changes coming on board at Comberton Judo Club in the very near future (to be honest it might take more than one post!). In the mean time I wish the Head of Active Anglia and his new Head Coach, Michael Stewart, all the best for their venture into running a full-time training programme and we’ll see you on the mat!




Filed under AASE, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, Anglia Ruskin Judo club, Anglia Ruskin Judo programme, Anglia Ruskin Sports Coaching & Physical Education degree, British Judo, Coach Education, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo, Uncategorized

Some pics from BUCS….

Here are some pics from last weekends BUCS, more to follow soon….


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BUCS pre-training

So, it is nearly upon us! The British University and Colleges Championships 2014. Our men’s team are hoping to defend their three year reign and we’re also hoping our women’s team will medal for the first time ever. The good thing about judo is you just never know! Even through we’ve trained pretty hard we could go out in the first round. Anyway, below is the five weeks of training we have done in preparation. We’ve been pretty busy and just have to hope the hard work pays off 🙂 Unfortunately some of our key players are injured and won’t be able to fight but that’s just something we’ll have to get on with.

We have around 12 full-time athletes currently and we’re hoping this will raise to around 20. We feel 20 will give us enough to run strong sessions but few enough to be able to focus on individuals. Our full-time players are boosted over this period but he stronger kyu grades who will fight in BUCS, this year we’re taking our biggest team ever – 20 athletes and all have trained hard.

Here are some pictures of our training programme. Obviously we don’t just train like this for BUCS, our full-time athletes train throughout the year.

Microcycle 20 Jan - 3 feb 2014 Microcycle 3-9 Feb 2014

Microcycle 10-23 Feb 2014

Here are some pics of our training sessions throughout the five weeks 🙂

And here are some pics from the NHC open, one of our preparation events …

If you would like more information on the Anglia Ruskin Judo Programme please visit or email

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NHC Open

Today was the NHC open which is a GB ranking event. Anglia Ruskin took 15 players to this event as part of our BUCS preparation. We would usually only take dan grades to this level of event but all our players needed a ‘run out’ so we took the kyu grades too. The following players fought:

AASE players:

  • Tash GW – Gold in Junior and bronze in the senior
  • Sam – Gold
  • Ben Bronze

ARU players

  • Tara – gold
  • Mike – silver
  • Tash – Silver
  • Armani – Bronze
  • Matt – 5th
  • Chris – 5th
  • Claire
  • Nick
  • George
  • Henry
  • James
  • Ed

My highlight of the day was a cheeky little uchi-mata for ippon by Tash GW shown below 🙂


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Filed under AASE, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, Anglia Ruskin Judo club, Anglia Ruskin Judo programme, Coaching Judo, Judo

Living Sports Sports team of the year award….

A while ago I copy and pasted a news article about the Anglia Ruskin Judo team winning the Living sports Sports team of the year award and I started by suggesting I planned to blog with more details soon, so here are the details, a little later than expected but here they are!

The way the sports awards work is that anyone can nominate in any of the categories (athletes of year, team of the year etc) and then a panel sit and decide who should win and be runner up in each category. Living sports is multi sport and covers Cambridge and Peterborough.

The reason Living sport chose Anglia Ruskin was because of the structure of our judo programme, you see it is more than just a club, it is a judo programme that is so much more than just a club. The programme consists of six intwined elements:

  • A Judo club (recreational for beginners, recreational players, regional level players etc)
  • Full-Time training (athletes that train for 20hrs per week, usually alongside study but not always and compete at national or international level)
  • The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (generally 16-18yo apprentices who train around 15hrs per week alongside study)
  • Anglia Ruskin Judo research group (scholars from Anglia Ruskin and other universities who focus on judo research as well as post graduate students, this group is linked to the IAJR)
  • High Performance Coach Education (the university runs the European Judo Union level 4 and 5 coaching awards)
  • A community programme (the teaching of children from primary age to sixth form in the local area. This is soon to be expanded to include linking with clubs nationally in a type of satellite programme for mutual benefit)

So how does this win us an award? Well you could put it down to medals, we have won the men’s team competition at the British Universities and Colleges Championships for the last three consecutive years, but actually it is much more than that. It is more about the intwined nature of these elements and how these can be used as an athlete centred approach to athlete development. I will explain…..

Imagine a child starting judo in our community programme, she could learn judo throughout her life and stay within this structure regardless of whether she wishes to be a competitive or recreational judoka. If she wanted to become a competitive player at age 16 years she could train up 15hrs per week alongside her education, at 18yo she could train 20hrs per week alongside an undergraduate degree.

Whilst doing her undergraduate course and training full-time we have plenty of ways to support her. Our full-time athletes run our community programme (if they want to be involved) and we put them on a level 1 coaching course in year 1 so they can become an assistant coach, paid £10 per session. In year 2 the do their level 2 coaching award and then lead the community sessions with an assistant coach, this is paid at £20 per session. Doing this means we can ensure quality coaching and our athletes earn more money per hour than working in tesco or somewhere so it is more economical with their time.

So far we have only considered three elements, full-time training, AASE and the community programme. The others are also closely linked though. The research programme provides something after their undergraduate course (i.e. they could do post grad study or research) and more importantly it also informs what we do. Not only our own research but also following what others are doing, for example how many  British universities do you think were represented at the most recent judo research symposium in Rio? That’s correct, just one! And we presented five pieces of research there, I think more than any other single university. Our athletes all get physiological testing through the research programme.

The EJU coaching awards also help our athletes. This course has many guest lecturers including many world and Olympic champions. Our full-time athletes and AASE players get to attend these mat sessions. There is also fantastic networking on this course, we can provided training camps pretty much for free (other than the flight) in Japan, Romania, Germany, Turkey, Finland, Belgium and many more countries.

Anyway, I have waffled enough! This programme is only four years old and is growing all the time. There is more information at or you can email for more information. If you have any ideas on how we might strengthen the programme please add them to the comments or email us.

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Filed under AASE, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, Anglia Ruskin Judo club, Anglia Ruskin Judo programme, Coach Education, Coaching Judo, Comberton Judo Club, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo, PhD

Judo stars land Team of the Year prize

Below is a simple copy and paste from the university press release, I plan to blog about this award soon 🙂

Anglia Ruskin University’s judo team won the Team of the Year prize at the LIVING SPORT Sports Awards at a ceremony in St Ives last night.

 The awards saw talented sportsmen and women, coaches, volunteers, organisations and clubs from across Cambridgeshire celebrated. Awards were presented to 10 individuals and organisations in recognition of their successes and dedication to grassroots sport in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.


Left – right: Bob Challis, judo programme manager, Paul Banton, Managing Director at Ruddocks, Glenn Miller, judo club president.

 On presenting the Team of the Year award to Anglia Ruskin, the panel commented that the judo team’s innovative structure allows participants of all levels and ages to get involved in judo.

 Anglia Ruskin’s full-time judo athletes work within the community, coaching children in schools and sixth forms around Cambridge. They are able to pass on high-quality technical content that isn’t always available at club level.

 Bob Challis, judo programme manager, said:

“It is great to be recognised not only for performance but for all the other things we do as a team. Winning medals is great but having a structure where someone can start judo as young as five and then do judo alongside education all the way to postgraduate study is something very special. It is an amazing system and is only possible because we link with schools around Cambridge and Comberton Village College, where our large dojo is.”

 Simon Fairhall, Chief Executive of LIVING SPORT, said:

“The evening was a fantastic celebration of community sport and it was great to see so many individuals involved in sport from the entire county come together to recognise the achievements of our winners. I’d particularly like to thank all of the sponsors for their support in helping us deliver another memorable awards ceremony this year.”

Anglia Ruskin sponsored the Sports Performer with a Disability Award, which was won by triathlete Lauren Steadman.

A full list of award recipients is available on the Living Sport Website.

For more information on the judo programme at Anglia Ruskin University please visit or email


Filed under AASE, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, Anglia Ruskin Judo club, Anglia Ruskin Judo programme, Coach Education, Coaching Judo, Comberton Judo Club, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo, PhD

Anglia Ruskin Judo

The recent agreement of the university to fund a full-time judo coach post has got me to think more about the structure of the judo programme. It is a pretty large programme now and I have always envisaged it as a circular model where everything is even but now I feel I need to consider it from a more hierarchal perspective. This has also allowed me to consider how many people are currently involved in the judo programme and to consider where gaps are.

Here is how I have seen it previously…..

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 23.28.24

Now it is more hierarchal in nature…..

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 23.20.54

Some of these posts are not quite in place yet, for example the new head coach, the 10 postgrad students (currently two but will be 6-8 by Sept.), the two research assistant posts are probably a little way off although our current research assistant who is not a judo specialist is looking into some judo research. The AASE programme also doesn’t start until September (still time to sign up!).

The truth is that four years ago I went into the student union and asked to start a judo club, I new I wanted a holistic judo programme but I never thought it would grow so fast and this has only been possible because the university is so innovative and allows/supports it’s staff to develop their ideas.

From September the university should have roughly the following:

1 x judo programme manager

1 x full-time head coach

2 x assistant coach (one a member of lecturer staff and the other a Japanese visiting scholar)

2 x AASE coaches

15 x full-time athletes (Including those on AASE)

20+ recreational athletes

1 x judo programme administrator

150 kids being taught in our community programme

6-8 post graduate researchers (mainly doing PhDs or MPhils related to judo)

1 x team physiologist (intern)

1 x S&C coach

All of this in four years! Not bad 🙂 If you would like to know more about our judo programme then please have a look at our website or email

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Pre BUCS preparation…

I said I would blog about our pre-training and I wanted to do it before BUCS because I feel reflecting upon the training once you know the result sometimes affects you opinion but I can only do what time allows.

I would say I am very experienced in short term preparation for specific competitions. When I competed for the army it was common to have a 2-3 week intense preparation period for a specific competition and since these competitive days I have coached the army and combined services in a similar scenario, often for the combined services championships or the national team championships.

This year was slightly different in terms of our BUCS preparation. Firstly I now work with a group of full-time athletes, the train around 20hrs per week so their level of preparation is very different. Secondly BUCS was brought forward by two weeks to the end of Feb, whilst this doesn’t sound like much students generally do not return to campus until the end of Jan so that only really left about 4 weeks to prepare for some students. Most of the full-time players did return earlier though in order to prepare for the British trials and some local players train with us regularly.

When I designed the original plan it was very much around the full-time players so there was around 6 weeks of training prior to BUCS and I figured if the kyu grades dipped in and out of the training as much as they could then this would be more training than most kyu grades.

Inevitably things change though and the number of injuries meant I had to include the kyu grades more and more. To be honest I am surprised how much the managed.

Here is the overview of the training:



To be honest there is no real secret, for me it is about mat time and volume of randori. I get as many dojo sessions as possible and just increase the volume of randori each each microcycle. I use both 7 day and 14 day microcycles in order to achieve volume, intensity and rest. The preparation ended in an overload week – the aim was for athletes to achieve 60-72 randori’s in the week. The most we did in one session was 13 x 5mins, I nearly always use 2 minute rest periods for hard randori, this is something I have experimented with a lot and I find after about 90 sec players are ready to go again and facing their partner, this leave 30 sec with them thinking ‘come on, i’m ready’ and this means they seem to always feel like they can do more.

Here is an example of a microcycle:


I am fortunate enough to now be surrounded by some coaches and athletes who can challenge my thinking and during the overload week I was challenged by a few coaches who thought we were doing too much and people were too tired. I like to be challenged like this, it forces me to really reflect, a very deep and questioning reflection. I decided to persist, I expected more players to be struggling than were and although there was some emotion it just felt right to me. I have already thought about how I will change things for next year based on a conversation with Yasuke Hayashi (a Japanese judoka visiting us).

Anyway, this post is getting far too long! Next post i’ll talk about the competition itself 🙂

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Judo Scholarships at Anglia Ruskin

Anglia Ruskin University has confirmed that ten judo players will receive scholarships this year. The players, listed below, are a mix of players who train full-time at the university and players that are part-time students on the European Judo Union level 4 performance coach award.

Seven of the athletes train full-time at the Anglia Ruskin Cambridge campus, two of the the EJU coaching award and one studies at University campus Peterborough.

Name Year Course Results
Michael Stewart 3rd BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Physical Education Club president, Current BUCS champion u66kg, member of BUCS winning mens team 2011 & 2012
Glenn Miller 3rd BSc (Hons) Sports Science Member of BUCS winning mens team 2011 & 2012
Natasha Collins 3rd BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Physical Education BUCS silver medallist
Matt Kavannagh 1st BA (Hons) Law Current British junior champion
Tara Fitzjohn 1st BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Physical Education
Luc Bonnargent 1st BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Physical Education
Ronnie Plumb 1st BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Physical Education
Danny Williams 2nd BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching (European Judo Union) Selected to represent Team GB in London 2012
Adrian Markov 2nd BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching (European Judo Union) Current BUCS champion u81kg, member of BUCS winning mens team 2012
Josh Plant 3rd BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Physical Education Studies at University college Peterborough. Member of BUCS winning mens team 2011 & 2012

As well as scholarships all players will receive physiological testing, strength and conditioning, access to performance analysis, free gym access and two fighting films judo kits.

Four of these athletes will graduate in 2013 and are currently considering a masters programme led by Anglia Ruskin in partnership with Kanoya university in Japan, they will spend half the academic year at Kanoya and half at Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge.

Anglia Ruskin University also recently announced a research group dedicated to judo research that is linked to the International Association of Judo Researchers and hopes to forge collaborations with other universities around the world to develop judo research.

For more information on the judo programme at Anglia Ruskin, which includes coach education, full-time training, research, performance analysis and more please visit or email

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EJU level 4 summer 2012 block ends….

Following a very successful week one the second week of the summer block of the European Judo Union Level 4 coach award has ended. We have had a fantastic second week with two main guest lecturers – Prof Attilio Sacripanti and Prof Stanislaw Sterkowicz. Both of these are leading academics int he field of judo.

Attilio hold a PhD in Biomechanics and one in Nuclear physics, he is the worlds leading expert on biomechanics in judo. He taught three lectures over the second week.

Stanislaw has published 312 academic articles, including six books, he is the head of the department of combat sports at Krakow university and he also taught three lectures in the second week, both in physiology and biomechanics. Stanislaw is the creator of the Special Judo Fitness test that is used throughout the world.

Obviously the students also continued their S&C module with Core-Cambridge and the first years completed there Physiology modules.

Here are some pictures from week two:

The next block of the EJU level 4 coaching award will start in April. We will have a new intake that will stat their first module – Applied Pedagogy in Judo whilst our second year cohort do two modules – Planning for Sport and Technical Principles of Judo, our third year cohort will also do two modules –  Psychology for combat sports and Performance Analysis for judo. We will also hopefully recruit enough for a level 5 intake, they will complete a module in Long-term Athlete Development.

For more information on the EJU coach awards click here or email

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Filed under Anglia Ruskin Judo club, Coach Education, Coaching Judo, EJU level 4 & 5 coaching awards, Judo