Judokwai - Fighting fit! JM stage 21st birthday bash

PUBLISHED: 12:17 04 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:57 12 May 2010

JM Judokwai members look on as John and June Massmann cut the club’s 21st birthday cake

JM Judokwai members look on as John and June Massmann cut the club's 21st birthday cake

JM JUDOKWAI Club celebrated its 21st birthday with a presentation evening at Roysia School, last month. Around 100 current and former members attended the evening, and co-founder John Massman was able to welcome back one of the seven members who trod the

Back row: Neil Smith, Emma Reid, Charlotte Roser, Leonie Hall. Front: Sophie Francombe, Jack Freeman, Edward Shannon, Kristofer Francombe

JM JUDOKWAI Club celebrated its 21st birthday with a presentation evening at Roysia School, last month.

Around 100 current and former members attended the evening, and co-founder John Massman was able to welcome back one of the seven members who trod the mat back in December 1985.

The member concerned was Tracey Knott who became the club's first national winner the following year.

The club has grown immeasurably over the years, and at one stage boasted over 100 members, but currently stands at half that number. Massman also praised the loyalty and dedication of the instructing team at JM which includes eight fully qualified Dan grade instructors.

The night was also about rewarding those members who had shone during the year and the first award went to Lauren Freeman, while the most improved player was Leonie Hall who had shown such commitment during the year in her contest outings.

The Special Effort award presented by the donor Janet Hughes made to a person who faces some adversity in the sport was won by Charlotte Roser, who had demonstrated that the size of the heart overcomes the physical size.

The Terry Suequien Trophy presented in honour of a friend of the Massmann family killed in a motor crash many years ago was won by Neil Smith, who has been off the mat recently owing to a medical condition.

Sportsman of the year was a hugely applauded trophy, presented by the donor Clare Massmann, the winner was Emma Reid who continually demonstrated that winning was not always the goal in competition, but learning.

The club hold their membership dear, and when one such members reaches five years of membership a special plaque is awarded, and this year the recipient was Chloe Fisher who was also surprised to be awarded her green belt subject to her final syllabus examination.

The Fighting Spirit award was presented by visitor Danny Anderson, a 4th Dan from neighbouring St Albans club who had recently come fifth in the World Masters Championship, and he presented the award to Sophie Francombe - who retains the trophy for the third consecutive year.

Rebecca Bayliss received a special award as she became the first member of the club to go from novice level to black belt.

She received the black belt that John Massmann had been awarded in August 1986. At this time he promised that he would pass it on should a member rise all the way up the grading ladder, and Rebecca promised to continue the tradition.

The two major awards of the club were then made, and the Primary of the Year presented by Peter Feilden went to Edward Shannon, who only joined in April 2006 but has shown great promise in his theory and contest skills.

The Judoka of the Year award presented by the other co-founder, June Massmann, was made to Kristofer Francombe, who had shown during the year the one vital commodity needed in any sport to succeed, that of natural ability, making Kris a great prospect for the future.

However the presentations were not finished there, for a major surprise came to June Massmann when her 3rd Dan certificate was presented by Danny Anderson, on authority of the highest officer of the BJC - Otani Sensei - countersigned by Kodokan 8th Dan Hosaka Sensei for her years of loyal service to the club.

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