By: Captains Ryan Quek (22S03C) and Rei Koh (22S07A),
Vice Captains Colin Low (22S03I) and Jennifer Liu (22S06G)
While browsing through the various sports being broadcasted during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics earlier this year, you may have caught a glimpse of a Judo match. If the electrifying throws and skillful grappling didn’t catch your eye, maybe the Abe siblings did instead. Japanese judokas Abe Hifumi and Abe Uta are a brother-sister duo who each clinched a Judo Olympic gold medal on the same day. Their story, talent (and looks) stole the hearts of people all around the world, and showcased the spirit of discipline and respect in Judo.
How much do you actually know about Judo? Judo (kanji: 柔道) is a martial art that originates from Jujitsu, and is dubbed “the gentle way”. Judo was founded by Jigoro Kano Sensei in 1882, and became an official Olympic sport in 1964. Judo practitioners (judokas) learn how to use minimal effort to take down opponents much larger and stronger than themselves. The main objective of Judo is to use throws (tachiwaza) to take down opponents, and subdue them with groundwork techniques (newaza) like holdings, chokeholds or joint locks. While judo throws look and sound painful, judokas protect themselves by practicing breakfalls (ukemi).
Morote Seoi-nage: two-handed shoulder throw
Ko-uchi-gari: small inner reap
Tomoe Nage: circle throw
These techniques are not only fun to learn and cool to witness, but also practical and useful for self-defence! When you are armed with an encyclopaedic knowledge of throws and submissions, people would think twice before picking a fight with you. Throwing people can also be an effective form of stress relief! (Disclaimer: The above statement is a joke. We do not take responsibility for any assault committed or injuries caused by an untrained individual, please do not attempt without professional supervision)
So what does Raffles Judo (RAJU) have to offer?
Who are we?
The RAJU family *Picture taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.
RAJU is a close-knit family which spends our days training hard together, forging warm, genuine friendships that last long even after graduation. After all, it’s pretty hard to remain strangers when we spend countless hours a week grappling with each other. We train at our dojo, located in the Gymnasium in the Y1-4 campus, in the comfort of air conditioning and soft mats while being wrapped in our judo attire, the judogi. Just wearing the gi will make you feel super cool and professional :)
The AIR-CONDITIONED dojo (find us at the year 1-4 side!)
But don’t expect trainings to be a breeze! Our coaches, Mr Tan Yi and Mr Low Chee Kiang, will push you to your limits to improve your skills and fitness, giving you a chance to constantly challenge yourself.
There are 3 main areas we work on during training:
- Physical training: for building up of our fitness, as what you would expect in sports CCAs
- Technique refinement: learning and practicing new throws, holdings, chokes and armlocks
- Sparring (randori and shiai): applying what we have learnt through friendly competition with our cca-mates
Like every martial art, one’s skill and experience is denoted by belt colour, beginners start with a white belt and gradually make their way to a black belt. To be promoted to the next belt colour, we go through gradings which take place roughly every 6 months. Learning and mastering the syllabus of new throws with your batchmates is extremely fun and enriching, making grading one of the most memorable and anticipated experiences in RAJU.
In 2021, we had training twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. Our training schedule may be subject to changes next year so keep your eyes peeled for updates!
Every year, RAJU looks forward and trains hard for the National School Games (NSG), where schools around Singapore gather to compete for the coveted champion trophy. Each judoka will each have their 3 minutes of fame on the mats to fight (literally!) to win a gold medal in their respective weight categories for the team.
In every NSG, RAJU exemplifies the school’s “One For All, All For One” motto, as well as the guiding principles of Judo “精力善用， 自他共荣” (maximum efficiency with minimal effort for mutual welfare and benefit). Regardless of the result of our judokas’ matches, we all recognise one another’s efforts and encourage one another to return to the mats stronger than before.
Since you’ve already scrolled this far, why not give Raffles Judo a shot and come join us at the trials? Most of our judokas begin with a white belt; no prior experience is required! Before learning tachi waza and newaza, beginners first learn how to breakfall properly so as to ensure their safety. If you’re worried about taking up this as a completely new sport, fret not as there will be friendly coaches, teachers and seniors who are willing to guide you along every step of the way!
What are you waiting for? Throw aside your worries and join RAJU today! See you at the trials!
*Cover image taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.