British Judo Council


Kenshiro Abbe 8th Dan

Masutaro Otani 8th Dan
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The recorder of which is perfectly willing to be corrected on any mistakes contained therein, subject to the usual constraint of provided fact etc.
In the mid-sixties the Lancashire Area did not include the clubs located on Merseyside; they were under the umbrella of an Area designated as 'Merseyside and Wirral' with the Area Representative being Eric Crebbin 3rd Dan and the senior grade who was I believe Norman Brown.

With the retirement of Eric Crebbin about 1969 there was a reorganisation of this arrangement and the Cheshire Area was formed with the Wirral within its boundaries  and 'H', as Harry Mundy was then known appointed by the Late M. Otani as the Area Rep for Cheshire.  This of course left the 'over the water' Merseyside clubs in limbo as they had little or no contact with the Lancashire Area or its officials.  However inquiries made of Head office situated in 10, Stuart Road, Acton, London resulted in the Merseyside Clubs being declared officially as part of the Lancs Area BJC.

These clubs contributed numerically to the Lancs Area as, at that time there were quite a number and I list only the ones I can recall, eighteen in number: I am sure that there are people out there who will remember other than the ones I list and no doubt they will provide information and then they can be included. Sadly many of them are now defunct, as are many of the former Lancs Area Judo Clubs.  Due to passage of time there were retirements, closures, demise of instructors and transfer to other Judo groups.  Plus of course the incoming of various Martial Arts, Kung Fu, Karate, Twai Kwan Do, Ninja etc etc. it was amazing that some of these arts after introduction, were within two or three years sporting 9th Dan etc.

Merseyside (Liverpool) Located Clubs prior to 1970
And taken into the Lancashire Area 1970.
A.Y.A.C Judo Club
B. Rennard
Chorely Judo Club
M. Mucha
Edge Lane J.C.
K. Parker
English Electric Judo Club
K. Bigley
Ford Judo Club
Huyton Judo Club
K. Gellispie
Jacobs Judo Club
R. Hamilton
Liverpool Uni
L. Johns
Mossley Hill Judo Club
Adrian Holland
Netherton Judo Club
J. Cunningham
Ormskirk Judo Club
Red Triangle Liverpool J. C.
W. Redman ?
Shiel Park Judo Club
L. Drillsma
Southport Judo Club,
G.R. Mealing
Waterloo Judo Club
E. George
Yamamoto Institute of Judo
G.R. Mealing
YMCA Liverpool Judo Club
Les Williams ?
YMCA Southport Judo Club
R. Bannister
R.A.F.A Freshfield
A. Hopkins
Clubs  that joined the Lancashire Area after 1970
Chikara J.C.
Kobukan Nelson J.C.
F. Brown
Kano Kwai
R. Rogers
Kobukan Liverpool
F. Garner
New YMCA Southport J.C.
W. Youlton
Our Lady Of Lourdes S'port
A. Newton
Raku Kan Wigan
A. Clayton
St Sebastians
D. Brooks
J. Doherty
Worsley J. C.
Lancashire Area Judo Clubs Prior to 1970.
Atlantic Judo Club
Reg Stone
Ashton Boys Club
Les Hobson
Ashton J.C.
F. Taylor
Blackley Judo Club
B. Jepson
Bredakwai J.C.
P. Smithson
Brookdale Park
Clayton Youth Club
Denton Judo Club
J. Cregg
Heywood Judo Club
T. Hodgkinson
Horwich J.C. B.
B. Ross-Nichol
Hyde Boys Club
Les Hobson
Hyde J.C.
Macclesfield J.C.
Malpas J.C.
B. Malpas
Mirlees J.C.
K. Rimmer
Monton Judo Club
A. Carlisle
Moorfield J.C.
John Ryan
Otanikwai J.C. Bolton
E. Singleton
Proctel J.C.
H. Knowles
Sale Hotel J.C.
T. Crebbin
Spa Judo Club Bolton
J. Armstrong
St Bonniface J.C.
P. Crooks
Swinton Judo Club
P. Adams
Turf Lane Chadderton m
T. Kelly
Yew Tree J.C
G. Hatton

The Lancs Area Representative at that time as Bert Jepson 3rd Dan and he was running the Blackely Judo Club together with Roy Hamilton 4t Dan. There was no Area Committee in those days, but there was a loosely formed Yudansha that sort of run the Area. They sorted out gradings, courses, Area Squad Training and held the occasional meeting. It was all very ad hoc but things did happen and in general people were content with what was going on. This was changed to a more formal note in August 1975 at an AGM of the Area held at the Y.M.C.A. Southport., this done by G.R. Mealing 4th Dan in response to pressure from Mr. M. Otani who wish an element of democracy to be kindled in all Areas of the BJC. Head office had kindly supplied a number of addresses of members thought to be located in the Lancashire Area, they were all written to advising of the AGM including one who resided in Derbyshire! surprise, surprise he turned up;  his name I believe was H. Lane and I have heard he is still active. The meeting resulted in a democratically elected Area Rep, Don Roberts 3rd Dan, an Assistant Area Rep Les Hobson 3rd Dan, a Treasurer and a committee.

The first Southport Summer School was organised by G.R. Mealing in 1972 at the Southport Y.M.C.A. and proved to be a great success.  Otani Sensei was the guest instructor ably assisted by Peter Garside 4th Dan. This event was moved to the Yamamoto Institute of Judo Southport in 1980 And later to ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ Judo Club, Birkdale, Southport, were it is still an annual event to this day.

1973 saw the first publication of the Lancashire Area Newsletter the Editor being Ernest Singleton of the Otanikwai Judo Club Bolton. The Newsletter was published 10 times per annum with a summer break and a winter break. Subscription to the publication was not confined to the Lancashire Area and at one time there were over 80 persons from various part of the U.K  including Yorkshire, Kent, Hampshire, North Wales, Cheshire, Sussex etc all who were happy to pay the subscription charge of £3.00 per year. Mr. Singleton carried on with his work as Editor until his untimely demise in January 1993. Twenty years! The editing and publishing of the Newsletter was then undertaken by G.R. Mealing and continued, in A5 format with eight pages until April 2000 when due to the lack of copy/information etc coming in G.R. reduced the output to a ‘Newsheet’ and finally gave up the ghost and ceased the work in April 2001.

Yoriyuki Yamamoto 6th Dan Kodokan a resident of Argentina was invited to the Lancashire Area by G.R.Mealing in 1975 and whilst there visited a fair number of the Area Clubs including Swinton, Otanikwai, Waterloo, Southport etc.  It was noted that the arrival of Mr. Yamamoto at Manchester Airport, was greeted personally by M. Otani who made the journey from London to Manchester and back in one day, specifically to welcome him (Mr Yamamoto) to the United Kingdom and to invite him to attend the Midlands Otanikwai Championships, an invite that he gratefully accepted.  I mention this to lay to rest the story going around at that time that Mr. Otani was very much opposed to the Kodokan.

D. Roberts elected as the Area Representative for Lancashire in 1975, was replaced by G.R. Mealing at the AGM that was held in Freshfield on the 6th of November 1977.  This was an interesting AGM as the election for the Area Rep and Assistant Area Rep had been by a postal vote.  The postal vote had been organised just to prove that it could be done, and it was done.  It was a lot of messy work and so the exercise was not repeated!  Member clubs of the Area had been written to, requesting that they supply the Area Committee with a list of senior members of their club, together with the club members BJC Licence Book Number.  The memberships of the names supplied were then checked with head office, also the clubs they were registered with.  Once all that was done the secretaries of the clubs were supplied with Ballot papers with the names of their authenticated members on; the club secretary then distributed the papers to the members.  Yes the name on the ballot paper was a tear off slip so protecting the identity of the voter. The returning officer for th postal vote election was A. Hopkins

G.R. held this position until the AGM of the 27th February 2000 when the Single nomination for the position was Mrs. M. Newton who served for one year. In 2002 Mr. A. Newton was nominated, elected and is serving to this date June 2011.

During the time 1975 to about 1985 the number of clubs registered in the Lancs Area exceeded 30.  The Area Committee comprised of 12 members and the committee meeting were held in various parts of Lancs.  The Area was loosely divided into districts and members of the Area Committee were designated as District Officers who chaired the Area Committee meetings that were held in their particular local.

About 1978 a number clubs under the collective name of Kobukan and overseen by Frank Garner 4th Dan applied for membership of the BJC and were enrolled in the Lancs Area.  Their memberships lasted about five years and then they moved on to another Judo group which I believe was the I.M.A.F

During the time 1975 to about 1985 the number of clubs registered in the Lancs Area exceeded 30. The Area Committee comprised of 12 members and the committee meeting were held in various parts of Lancs. The Area was loosely divided into districts and members of the Area Committee were designated as District Officers who subsequently chaired the Committee meetings held in their particular local.

About 1978 a number clubs (4) under the collective name of Kobukan and overseen by Frank Garner applied for membership of the BJC and were enrolled in the Lancs Area. Their joint memberships lasted about five years and then they moved on to, I believe I.M.A.F.

June 1982 saw the official introduction of the wearing of Blazer etc by Referees in the BJC thus replacing the tradition of wearing Judogi when officiating. This was done first in Lancashire on a trial basis and then taken on for National Championships and is now accepted as the norm for both National and Area Events. Some one somewhere, is going to contradict this but I don’t care!

It is interesting to note that various clubs of the past enjoyed a dominance of ascendancy for periods of time in the competitive field and I list a few that were leaders in Medal Tables of many events held in Lancashire other Areas and Nationally. They are neither in order of merit nor year merely in order of remembrance; Otanikwai Bolton, Heywood J.C., Chikara J.C.  Monton J.C., Sheil Park, Fords Widnes.

It is interesting to note that at the Annual General Meeting of the British Judo Council  (BJC) in 1979, it was formally proposed that Constituted Areas of the BJC be permitted to nominate a maximum of two members to serve on the BJC administrative body, known as the Headquarters Committee (Hqc). Since that date two members of the Lancashire Area in every year bar one, have been elected to  service; the most consistent member being G.R. Mealing, still serving today (2011) at the ripe age of 83!

In 1979 or 1980 the Lancashire Area in partnership with the Cheshire Area (Area Rep H. Mundy) staged the BJC National Junior Championships at the North Gate Arena, Chester. It was a resounding success due the amicable cooperation of the two organising bodies Cheshire and Lancashire. There were well over 600 entrants; at least six mats were in use (it was a big venue), provided by Cheshire members who were laying those mats with Lancs Area volunteers until two o’clock on the Sunday morning.
The event started 15 minutes late (10.15), there was break for lunch 12.30 to 1.30, a break for tea 4.30 to 5.30 and then finals were run, medals presented and the hall was empty at 7.30 p.m. How was it done? Well for a start, in those halcyon days there were only seven categories for boys and seven for girls! Factor that in with the six mats, a full complement of referees and table officials etc and you have a good chance of a competition finishing on time etc. Fourteen categories in those days against present day Nationals with a minimum of 26!

1979 or 1980 Cheshire and Lancashire were responsible for the staging of the last Official BJC Inter County Team Championships at the same venue, Northgate Arena. The teams comprised of Junior Girls, Junior Boys, Female Kyu, Male Kyu, Female Dan Grades and Male Dan Grades. Although a total fourteen Areas were involved, not all of them entered a team in each category.   However I do recall that there were six Dan Grade Teams entered as to the rest I cannot remember; but if you think about it, fourteen Areas including Kent, Cornwall, Lancs, Cheshire, Hertfordshire, and West Midlands etc it was some event.

In 1981 the Lancashire Area staged a BJC International event at the Everton Park Leisure Centre, Homer Rd, Liverpool. Overseas representation was by Provincial Teams from France, Greece and Italy. The home teams were, one from Wales a BJC National Squad A Team and finally a BJC National Squad B Team.

The same year saw the success of a young lady, Jane Bridge (also known as the ‘clockwork orange’) in taking a gold medal in her category at the Ladies World Championships staged in New York. I seem to recall that she was also presented with an award for Technician of the day. Jane Bridge was a student of the Otanikwai Judo club (British Judo Council) and her club coach was the late Ernest Singleton. I believe that Ann Hughes of the Waterloo Judo club (formally a BJC Club) also enjoyed medal success at the same event but what the medal was escapes me.

The Area Committee agreed to sponsor members of the Area who had achieved membership of the BJC National Squad. Following a long debate in committee it was agreed that the sponsor ship would be by providing the necessary funds to obtain a full British Passport for each of the Lancs Area National Squad Members.

1984. The BJC had planned for some time to have a new Logo as the one that was current the Butterfly, the design was not protected and of course there was no financial benefit to the Council to be obtained from sales of that particular badge. Consequently BJC members were invited to submit samples for adjudication by the Headquarters Committee of the BJC, who in their wisdom accepted one of the three submissions from Eric George. I mention this because Eric George was a member of the Lancashire Area. Another of Eric’s important contributions to the BJC are his excellent line drawings in the Kata Booklets published by the BJC.

To be continued hopefully with other contributions. Please if you have anything then e-mail to