First Ever Virtus Judo Training Camp Concludes in Japan

For the past two weeks, Japan has been the epicentre of a groundbreaking training camp, bringing together judoka from Japan, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Australia. Hosted at Nihon Bunka University by the Virtus Judo Committee members, Rudi Verhagen (NED) and Tomoo Hamana (JPN), this camp aimed to foster camaraderie, share knowledge, and enhance skills among judoka of all backgrounds, including all three Virtus eligibility classes, II1-II2-II3 and mainstream categories.

The camp kicked off with a bang as Norway’s Stale Wikadahl and Australia’s Lewis Willing led the first of four sessions, focusing on technical groundwork and standing techniques. Participants had the opportunity to learn from world-class instructors, exchange insights, and forge new friendships.

As the camp progressed, sessions were led by renowned coaches Rudi Verhagen from the Netherlands and Tomoo Hamana from Japan. Each session delivered valuable lessons and techniques that enhanced the participants’ judo skills and understanding.

The end-of-camp sessions were led by Tomoo Hamana in the morning, followed by Great Britain’s Kerry Tansey and Laurie Rush delivering the final session. With a diverse range of coaches and perspectives, participants are poised to gain a comprehensive understanding of judo principles and strategies.

The highlight of the camp’s finale was a friendly groundwork (newaza) tournament, where judoka from all countries competed for pride and recognition. Regardless of the outcome, every participant received a medal and certificate, symbolizing their dedication and participation in this remarkable event.

‘It’s been a great experience for our judoka, current and developing II judoka to catch up, make new friends and embrace the culture looking forward to and planning their next adventure. Thank you to Mr Hamana & Rudi Verhagen for planning and hosting this great opportunity for our athletes to experience a performance training environment of this capacity.” said Kerry Tansey, Virtus Judo director.
“This is the first training camp that has been organised in any Asian country. The Virtus Judo committee is considering more such types of camps in the future across the world. There is a potential development of working relationships with the European Judo Union creating and showcasing judo for athletes with intellectual impairment at its best”

As the camp draws to a close, participants look forward to the final leg of their journey—a visit to the hallowed grounds of Judo, The Kodokan. With memories made, friendships forged, and skills honed, judoka departs Japan with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, ready to conquer new challenges on the tatami and beyond.