Having re-established themselves on the university’s sporting scene, the University of Stirling Judo Club is making a name for themselves. Brig’s Jessie Hosking spoke to club secretary Rebekah Cranney.
When did you first start doing judo?
I first started doing judo when I was around 13 or 14 after being forced into it by my dad. Saying that, judo is now my life and I’m so glad he introduced me to the martial arts.
What standard have you reached?
I am currently a brown belt in judo and coach at my local club. I’ve also received a bronze and a silver medal at the SSS [Scottish Student Sport] competitions.
Do you know if there was a previous judo club at the university?
Yes, there was one ages ago but it was stopped because it was difficult to keep going and maintain numbers.
Was it easy to set up the club?
Fairly easy, yes! Myself and Min (another committee member) met at an SSS competition and decided that we wanted to start up a university judo club. Initially we were focused on getting together at least 10 people (the required number to start up a club), but loads signed up for our GIAG session in September and we’ve gone from there.
I know that you take in all standards, so what’s the highest standard at the club and is there anyone we should be keeping an eye on for the future?
One of our committee members, Rachel Tytler, is a black belt who received a bronze medal at the BUCS Judo Championships in Sheffield. She’s the standard we’re all aiming for!
We also have a guy on our coaching team called Panagiotis Galosias from Cyprus. He’s a black belt like Rachel, and it’s fascinating to see the different coaching techniques that he brings given that he is not from Great Britain.
What are the aspirations for the future of the club?
At the moment fundraising is a big problem. We need to buy more mats for training sessions, as well as for any competitions that we hope to arrange against other unis.
I would also like to get members of the club through the different grades, and we hope to be able to get a team together for the BUCS Judo National Championships next year.
What does judo mean to you and why should others try it?
It sounds cliché but at my local club we were like one big family; I used to call the older guys my uncles. We were all really close and I have tried to bring this aspect to the university club.
The judo club hold their training sessions on Mondays at 5.20pm-7pm and Wednesdays 7pm-9pm at the squash courts in the Gannochy Sports Centre.
This article first appeared in the November 2017 edition of Brig.