Martial arts stars in the making

Hampshire Chronicle: Young Fleming Park Judo Club members are put through their paces on a training night. Young Fleming Park Judo Club members are put through their paces on a training night.

Have you ever considered yourself a martial arts expert? Well, Fleming Park Judo Club could be the perfect place to become the next star. The Eastleigh-based club, which already has over 100 fighters in their ranks, welcomes any abilities through their door from as young as five-years-old. The Olympic sport “is like a game of physical chess,” according to Fleming Park club coach Steve Kemmish, who is passionate about the valuable attributes judo can teach. The martial art demands fighters to throw one another off balance until a winner is decided, but it is much more than that according to Kemmish. “Judo teaches discipline through being on the mat and practicing, it teaches incredible respect to your opposition and your teammates, it helps people learn and concentrates the mind.

“It’s also about self control, it is a dangerous sport but helps you to control yourself without hurting anyone.

“For children, it’s a fantastic step in respect and supporting one another and working in a team.

“The sport has to be done correctly and rules must be followed, that is great for children to learn.”

The club has been nominated as one of the top community judo clubs in the country by the British Judo Association, with the awards ceremony next month.

The club has around ten fully-qualified instructors that have taught people of all ages and abilities along with teaching the disabled too. Kemmish has often come across autistic children who have been focused by judo, where the clear boundaries of the sport have helped them to develop. They have also helped the blind. “We also have a huge community spirit here, anybody from any walk of life is welcome, we spend a lot of time together and we are devoted to teaching everyone judo,” Kemmish said.

“The first session is free and there is no obligation to stay on. We are here for people if they want to learn judo in one of the best clubs in Hampshire.

“Unlike many other clubs, who have one or two coaches, we are lucky enough here to have 11 committed fully qualified coaches who can teach the sport to all ages.”

Judo was introduced to the Olympics at the 1964 Tokyo games for men and for women in Barcelona 1992. Gemma Gibbons won silver at London 2012, becoming the first British judo medallist for 12-years after Katie Howey at Sydney. To get involved, visit, flemingparkjudo.onsport.com/

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