SAMURAI Judo Club not only hosted the British Judo Kata Championships but topped the medals table with three golds, two silvers and two bronzes, including a clean sweep of all four medals in the junior section.

Kata is the demonstration form of judo, where precision, timing, direction and accuracy of technique are scored, with the two players working as a team. It is the judo version of Strictly Come Dancing. With the top kata teams from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all taking part, the opposition was strong.

First up were Olivia Turner and Jake Ashen in the Gonosen-no-kata, the demonstration of counter techniques, which includes a fiendishly difficult slow motion element. As the pair who produced the video used by the British Judo Association as their standard, Olivia and Jake were hot favourites to win and did not disappoint, their demonstration on the day being judged considerably better than their previous versions.

Next up were Matthew Martin and Stuart Lane for Nage-no-kata, the demonstration of throws. Normally Matt partners his wife Emma, and two years ago they astonished many by taking bronze in this kata, but Emma was injured and so Stuart, one of the club’s foremost kata experts, stepped in as Matt’s partner and they went one better than two years ago, taking silver. Only an outstanding pair from Scotland edged them out of the gold medal position.

Samurai are considered British leaders in junior kata, and they swept the board here, winning the gold, silver and both bronze medals. As most expected, the pairing of Cerys Jones and Sophie Davis took the gold, but the pair of Katy Jennings and Jake Ashen were not far behind with the silver. Bronzes were picked up by Alannah Martin and Poppy Bowman, and Edward Martin and Harrison Flello. Alannah and Martin are the children of Matt and Emma, but also Poppy’s mum Gemma White (as she then was) was also a kata champion at the club many years ago.

There was one more trophy to come for the club, as Head Judge Duncan Kinnear selected Cerys Jones and Sophie Davis as the recipients of the trophy for Most Promising Pair.

For details about starting judo, telephone 0776 1122977 or visit the Samurai website on

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