SAMURAI Judo Club marked its 40th anniversary during its annual get-together last week.

A hundred players of all ages from six to 70 were on the mat, including 40 black belts and a fantastic six sixth dans.

Sixth dan is the belt above black belt, the coveted red and white belt which very few judo players get to wear. This year the Samurai were able to announce that a fourth full member of the club had been awarded the grade.

Roy Muller, now aged 72 and still training hard, has been a member of the club for over 25 years, Already a quality player of many years standing, having started judo in the 1960s, during his time at the club he has won many major medals, but most memorably took the silver medal in the 2004 World Veteran Masters Championships in America, and also the bronze in the open category despite only being a lightweight. Currently he is one of nine Samurai players so far who will be competing in the Commonwealth Tournament at the end of September and so is training for that.

The promotion, which has to be discussed and approved by the British Judo Association Board of Directors, came as a complete surprise to Roy. The club had applied secretly on his behalf. Roy said he was “delighted” with the grade and paid tribute to both the atmosphere at the club and the way the club looks after all of its members.

Another surprise presentation was a Gold Star Award to Olivia Turner. The club runs an internal star award scheme and the three top awards, bronze, silver and gold, are extremely demanding, requiring an impressive range of skills beyond the knowledge level of the coaches of most judo clubs. Only five Gold Star Awards have ever been awarded by the club and three of the recipients, Martin Whiteside, Ben Newbury and Kate Walker were on hand to present Olivia’s to her.

It being the club’s 40th anniversary, a special set of awards were commissioned for “Great Moments in the Club’s History” and many members from years ago who were present received such awards. There are members from all of the decades of the club who attend the event each year, but this year’s attendance was the largest to date. And most of those players were not only there but on the mat having a go.

For details about starting judo, telephone 0776 1122977 or visit the Samurai website on or their Facebook page.