A group of lucky judo players from schools across Bath recently took part in an intensive training session in the University of Bath’s impressive dojo judo training hall. The session, which was organised by Finn Gleeson of Gleeson Judo, included pupils from schools including St Stephens, Weston All Saints Primary School, King Edward’s and Newbridge in Bath, as well as children from Bristol Grammar School, Redmaids School Bristol and Hazlegrove Prep School in Yeovil.

As part of the sessions, the children – all aged between 7 and 13 and with at least two year’s judo experience – were given the chance to train with current and former British international judo players including Ottavio Razzino, Charlie Bond and Jemima Duxberry.

Finn explained, “The objective of these special sessions is to give our higher graded students the opportunity to practise with others of a similar level, from all our other schools. Practising at a higher level, over a longer period than the usual duration of a school session, is particularly beneficial.

“To intensify this learning opportunity, we engaged some of the high performance judo players from the international standard judo programme at the university. The chance for young judo players to experience the highest level of judo skills first hand is a very rare thing. The learning benefits of this kind of training are immense!”

“Hearing the children talking about how they learned a particular manoeuvre or technique from these top players was a real highlight for me,” added Finn. “Yes, it was a hard physical session, but also a lot of fun and something that the children who took part will always remember.”

Finn is planning to run another similar session towards the beginning of the summer.