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European Judo Kata Championships in Pocetrtek

Europeans debut for promising GB kata pair

SSgt Lewis Hannington REME and Lt Col Jim Crompton AGC (ETS) have just competed at their first European Judo Kata Championships in Pocetrtek, Slovenia, beating competition from Azerbaijan and drawing on points with Austria. While this was not enough to get them into the final round, it proved a valuable development opportunity for the pair and they capitalised on this with a 2-day kata course delivered by the Kodokan.

Commenting on the week, Lt Col Crompton said:

“What an incredible week at the European Kata Championships and Kodokan seminar in Podcetrtek, Slovenia! As always with judo, moments of satisfaction and disappointment, but always opportunities to learn surrounded by other people wanting to help us go through the journey. On Monday we produced our best kata presentation. By Thursday, we already knew more and our performance had improved. Getting our kata diplomas awarded by the president of the Kodokan really was the icing on the cake. I am excited to see how much more we can improve before the British Kata Championships in September and then for the European circuit beyond that. What an amazing sport!”

Placing second in two katas at last year’s British Championships, the Army Judo pair have been focussed on developing their kata, training regularly and attending courses wherever they can to refine their skills. This year has seen them competing and training in France on two occasions to learn from one of the most successful kata teams in the world. Both are serving members of the Army, which has provided training facilities and financial support to fit judo around demanding work schedules.

Reflecting on his whirlwind kata journey so far, SSgt Hannington said:

“I started kata because I needed it for grading anyway, but once I discovered I was really good at it and begun to understand the deeper principles it actually improve my fighting too, leading me to also winning gold at the British Masters Championships. Kata takes focus and dedication and we have been lucky to have the support of our families, the BJA kata group, Army Sport, the Army Judo Association and REME Sport.”

The pair will now focus on the European Masters Games in Finland before getting back to kata at the Shizentai Kata tournament in St Albans on 2nd July.