Hanley Judo Club

Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent

Your story

An affordable sports club for adults in the Stoke-on-Trent area, providing martial arts training and opportunities to compete.

Group introduction

Hanley Judo Club is run by myself, and we train every Wednesday evening. I am a 4th Dan black belt, ex international competitor and a Level 2 Judo Coach. The club was started in October 2014 and for a long time only had a handful of members. I would often turn up to train 2 or 3 people, however over time we have grown and now regularly have 12-14 people training. Our membership includes people aged 15 - mid 50s, but the majority are in their early twenties. We only charge £3 for a training session (14-15 year olds train for free), which just covers the club’s running costs; I volunteer my time for free.

I think that the club is helping to keep adults in the Stoke-on-Trent area active and enables them to train in a friendly and encouraging environment. Most martial arts clubs focus on providing children’s classes and I feel that adults are often forgotten about when it comes to training opportunities. Many of my club members did judo, or other martial arts, when they were younger but dropped out when in their teens. I am pleased that we have been able to grow as a club and engage many people in judo, who may not be involved in the sport otherwise.

The club is affiliated with the British Judo Association (BJA), therefore members are able to complete gradings which are recognised by the sport’s national governing body. This year two of our members have achieved their black belt, which involves attending a BJA national grading to compete for the grade and pass a knowledge test. I also expect one of our other members to achieve his black belt by the end of the year. Our club members have also experienced success in competitions, most notably winning medals in the midland area championships.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

We would use the money to purchase two safety mats to practice judo throws onto. This would allow us to practice more dynamic throwing techniques without having to hold back in fear of injuring opponents, as we do when practicing on the thinner mats we train on. This would be very helpful in preparing members for competitions as they can practice using 100% of their strength.

With the club growing in recent months it would allow us to make more effective use of the space we have available, as many people can be involved in a throwing practice on one safety mat. The mats can also be utilised for fitness training and circuits to prepare members for physical demands of the sport.

The mats would help everyone in the club (we currently have a membership of 18) to train more effectively and prepare for gradings and competitions. They will also add more variety to the training sessions, making training more interesting for everyone. I would make a lot of use of these safety mats and they would allow me to achieve more as a coach. As the club continues to grow, more and more people would benefit from this funding.

""Hanley Judo Club is the best place for adults in Stoke-on-Trent to learn the Olympic sport of Judo." Danny Roberts, club coach, 4th Dan."

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