Randori National Tournament: Groundfighting Our Way to Victory

On Friday 23rd February, the LUU Jiu Jitsu Society attended the annual Randori national competition, based in the Benham Sports Arena, Northampton. The Randori nationals consist of training and competing with different Jitsuka from different clubs, where the event is run and taught by the most senior instructors in the country. We travelled to Northampton on Friday to get a good night sleep, as we had to leave for the centre at 8:15 AM on Saturday. We got there nice and early to change into our gi and help put out the mats, which is needed since Jiu Jitsu involves a lot of throwing.

During the morning of training, you are firstly placed with Jitsuka of the same grade level as you, and have the opportunity to learn techniques that are appropriate to your grade level. Techniques may involve a mixture of breakfalling, locks, throws and weapon defences. Following this, you are then thrust into a session that contains a mixture of different grades. Usually, higher grades can then pair with lower grades in order to assist them through moves that they may find difficult. This part of Randori is great, as you not only develop different skills but get to meet a range of new people. In the afternoon, the competition officially begins.

The competition involves competing against competitors of the same grade, weight and gender as you. There are two elements to the competition. The first is Ne Waza, also known as ground fighting and all grades can do this. For more experienced grades, there is the Tachi Waza element, which is a more traditional form of standing Randori fighting. Depending on your category, there were a required number of fights to be entered for the finals. Leeds had some strong performances on the first day, with Elizabeth Bush, Emily Knight, James Letton, Krzysztof Ko and Rory Crawford finishing some of their fights in less than 30 seconds by employing the “Penny” technique.

The second day consisted of more training and competition, which included The Open. Once again, Leeds performed strongly in the competitions, winning a number of medals. Matthew Chivers was placed in the alternative Dan competition, winning himself a gold and silver medal. In addition, Penny Eaton put her own technique to work, winning her final ground fight in 24 seconds. The quality of Tachi Waza finalists was strong, resulting in Anastacia Kruglova, Siân Cook and Ethan Berg all winning medals and Emma Wilson showing a strong performance despite injury.

We were fortunate to see a number of our own instructors compete in the open competition. Our very own Sensei Juniata Bellham, Simon Pickersgill and Joe Dalzell all competed, with Joe placing 4th in his category. Leeds had an amazing end to the competitions, resulting in three fourth places, five bronze medals, three silver medals, and four gold medals, which in turn led to the LUU Jiu Jitsu Society winning second place in the TJJF Randori Club Shield.

This has been the best performance for the club in 10 years and we aim to continue to build on this success.

By Alice Roscoe