Judo – Through the eyes of a Dad

  • 13th May 2015
  • Conor McCarthy

My son Niall has been playing judo for several years now and the majority of this time has been with the Kookatkei judo club. Niall was one of the original members.

The club is superbly run and whilst there is a great family feel to the training session the coaches are always extremely professional.

Niall started playing judo aged about nine, he showed an interest, and as a dutiful father I ferried him to and from classes. Naill’s enthusiasm waned every now and then in the early days, and on more than one occasion he had to be dragged to class. That is all in the past now and Niall looks forward to his training sessions.

I am delighted that Niall has stuck with judo, I believe it has helped mould him into the young man that he is today.

Judo has played an important part of Niall’s development, there are the obvious side effects such as fitness and self defence, but there are other areas that may not be so obvious. Through judo Niall has become friends with a wide spectrum of people from different backgrounds, different countries and a range of ages,this can only be a good thing. A huge benefit is that these people are not just friends/followers on social media, they are real live people. I believe that in order to succeed in life, the ability to interact with people is paramount; judo helps encourage this interaction effortlessly.

Judo also helps to instil a sense of respect for the coaches and other players, the players subconsciously take this respect for others with them when they leave the mat. Niall has also developed a level of confidence from his time on the mats which helps him in his day to day activities, whilst not being overconfident, the players are well aware that there is usually a better Judo player out there somewhere.

As a ‘Judo dad’ there is a lot of running to and from class and tournaments. There is a huge amount of coffee drunk, sandwiches eatin and sitting about at tournaments. There is also a huge emotional rollercoaster at the tournaments. I still remember the first tournament that my wife and I took Niall to, it was frightening and hard to watch my wee boy being thrown around the mats by bigger better players, there was also a feeling of huge admiration for Niall as he kept getting back up and continuing. This was the first and last competition my wife attended. I came away form the early tournaments emotional drained and hoarse on several occasions. Niall has won several medals and as a dad it gives me great pleasure to see him win a fight. I look forward to him attaining his black belt. He will have done all the hard work, but, as a Judo Dad I like to think I have helped a wee bit in getting this far in his judo career.