In April 2023, Accord provided training kits for 10 Aberdeen kids (ages 13 – 17) going on a 13-day learning trip of a lifetime with the Ultimate Judo club to Tokyo, Japan.
To prepare for the visit, they attended monthly training sessions focusing on technique and discussing Japanese culture. The visit was led by Gordon McCathie — an experienced Judo coach and Vice Chair of Judo Scotland.
While in Japan they visited the home of Judo at the Kodokan (translated as “a place to teach the path”) where they watched Judokas train and were honoured to attend a junior training session.
During two visits to Yokohama they were put through their paces by Sensei Michihiro Omigawa – an accomplished Judoka and mixed martial artist (who is known for using Judo as the foundation of everything he does). Omigawa has a signature throw – Tamoe Nage, a sacrifice throw where one opponent is thrown over the other opponent's head as they fall onto their back – which he taught to the kids. Omigawa is the Sensei for the Neo Judo Dojo.
In Kamakura, the group visited the Great Buddha of Kamakura and took a bus trip to the base of Mount Fuji — visiting many small villages and experiencing traditional wagyu beef for lunch. They also took a trip up the Tokyo Skytree tower, visited several shrines (including the famous Zojoji Temple in Shiba Park where the grand funeral in The Wolverine (2013) movie was filmed), visited the Imperial Palace and the Nippon Budokan (where the Judo events for the Tokyo Olympic Games were held).
Over the final weekend, they finished their visit with a trip on the Bullet Train to Takahama to stay with a local judo club. While there, they stayed in a traditional dorm along with several of the kids from the host club. Along with training, during their visit the group watched and participated in a Japanese drumming session, a tea ceremony and were shown how to make Japanese sweets.
The Accord team were delighted to hear news from the trip and see some of the photos shared — an amazing experience for young Aberdeen judo players and we are proud to have supported it.
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