On January 15th, the Starrett Judo Club hosted a tournament at the Brooklyn Sports Club for those in the age group of five to twelve. Students were dressed and ready to compete in the tournament. Boy did they compete. In this tournament, each of the students who participated placed either first, second or third. This is a great accomplishment especially since there are a number of students who were competing for the first time.
The students have practice three times a week for two hours each day. They have very rigorous practice routines which includes; Judo, running, and Plyometrics (which is also known as jump training, which is an exercise that exerts maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power. This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid “explosive” manner.) That is only part of the practices that the children endure. They also go through a series of warm up exercises, they learn Judo techniques along with Judo philosophy and they learn Grooming (how a judoka should act both on and off the mat).
Judo creates a discipline which is why many parents put their kids into Judo. Other parents enroll their children into Judo because they have spoken with parents whose children are currently in Judo and the parents talk about how there have been changes in their children’s behavior since they have started Judo. The parents have said that there are many benefits that Judo has had on their kids. In addition, the teachers in school have also recommended Judo to parents for their children because Judo helps to strengthen the children’s behavior and allows the children to focus better in school.
Isiah, who is a first year Judo student, who is nine years old said, “I enjoy being in Judo because my mom was in Judo, as well as my whole family and I want to follow in their footsteps. Judo is fun and I enjoyed competing in the tournament.”
What is very interesting about this Judo Club is that there are two sets of siblings and there is also a set of fraternal twins.
Jerrail Billups, who is six years old and his sister Kelsey Billups are first year Judo students. Jerrail said that he likes how people fight in Judo and enjoys going and practicing Judo. This amazing sixyear old won an award for the Most Outstanding Athlete in the entire tournament. Not bad for a first year Judo student!
Coach Parnel Legros said, “The future looks very bright for this group of students.”
These students will be heading to a tournament in Long Island on March 19th.
Photos courtesy of Parents of Judo Students and Pamela Stern