The members of the Jiu Jitsu Society arriving in Northampton on Friday 24th February were a bit on the tired side, after a long drive down on the M1. For several members it was their first time going away with the club for the bi-annual Nationals weekend, which was jam-packed with two full days of training and competition. Gathering in one of the hotel rooms on the Friday night however, spirits were high and the jitsuka (Jiu Jitsu members) were full of anticipation for the weekend ahead.
Nationals really start when you first step onto the mat and join the five-hundred strong crowd of jitsuka, and begin the morning period of training. From the very first session of Jiu Jitsu we are taught arm locks, throws and break-falling – how to land safely after a throw and protect vulnerable parts of the body.
At the Randori Nationals in Benham Sports Arena in Northampton however, you could learn almost anything about self-defence over the weekend. The entirety of British Jiu Jitsu gathered into one room to learn from the most senior 3rd and 2nd Dans in the country; over the weekend you could observe how one person defends against three simultaneous attackers, how to bring an attacker to the ground by breaking their elbow and wrist, and how to counter throws with a throw of your own.
The Randoris is all about the sport of self-defence on the ground, and for Matthew Chivers – despite it being his first time competing in the alternative brown belt category – he rapidly established himself as a formidable opponent on the ground and brought back gold for Leeds Uni. Another Jiu Jitsu newcomer, Sophie Browne, smashed through her competition on the first day but unfortunately was beaten to a medal, being hampered by an injury.
The category that Leeds Uni won the most medals in was the green belts; all four of the competitors made it through to the finals and three of them brought back medals. Jonathon Fearnley and Paul Stead had a considerable number of opponents – they even fought against each other multiple times over the weekend – with Fearnley earning a silver in his kneeling fight and a bronze in his standing fight, and Stead earning a bronze in his kneeling fight.
Xenia Mutter and Chinyere Wokocha both entered the finals for the mixed green and purple category on the second day; the latter dominated her competition in all her fights. One of the people to train hardest both on and off the mat, Wokocha won bronze in her standing competition and gold in her kneeling competition.
Leeds Uni’s very own Sensei Joe Dalzell entered the alternative Dan category, and fought some of the top judokas in the country to bring back bronze medal for the club. Here and throughout the competition, the club members bonded together to support and cheer for our competitors. Leaving Randoris closer than ever, LUU Jiu Jitsu came back to Leeds on a high, aiming to bring back even more medals from the Atemi Nationals later this year.
Featured Image: LUU Jiu Jitsu