The Samurai Judo Club was formed in 1979 by Andrew Haffner – then only 19 years old – as a club dedicated to the pursuit of improvement. The philosophy behind the club was and remains to strive to be as good as you can, and to be aware of all aspects of judo as well as just the competitive aspect. Although the club’s competitive section has attracted the most publicity, the other fields in which the club is involved such as kata, refereeing and general technique remain very important. We are widely regarded as having perhaps the best record of offering a wide range of accomplishments in the country. At the 2012 Olympics in London, no less than eight Samurai officials were involved, more than any other judo club or even area or home country in Britain, and also two former club members competed.

The National Governing Body for judo in Great Britain is the British Judo Association (BJA). The Samurai Club is a member (club number 555) of the BJA. The BJA has around 800 clubs as well as approximately 200 other clubs via affiliated bodies. Out of that total of 1,000 clubs, when the BJA produced a Club League Table at the end of 2014, based on performance at National events, Samurai Judo Club finished in SECOND place, narrowly behind Berkshire’s Pinewood Judo Club. We are also one of only two clubs, Pinewood being the other, to win at least one medal for each of the last 25 years running at the British Championships. In 2019 we won six medals at the Commonwealth Tournament, including two gold medals. Meanwhile, when the BJA produced a case study of an ideal judo club which caters for all types of members, they chose Samurai as the role model.

More locally, we have been Wyre Forest Sports Club Of The Year 9 times in the last 12 years before the awards ceased, and won the County Sports Club Of The Year award twice in that time – the only club to have ever won the award twice. We have dominated Worcestershire judo for the last 40 years and been a major part of the Midlands Area in judo.

Competitively we have a long history of success, including two former members going to the Olympics (London 2012), a number of players winning European Cup medals, several Commonwealth Champions and many British Champions. Over 100 members in the history of the club have gained black belts, up to and including 6th dan.

We also follow other pathways to achievement, with many British Kata Champions, many qualified referees including three international referees, many tournament organisers including five Competition Controllers, the highest level of competition organiser, and many competition officials and first aiders. Some of those include parents whio have never stepped on a judo mat!

In 2012 the club stepped up to a new level by building our own premises in Zortech Avenue, Kidderminster, costing around £400,000, making it one of the best judo facilities in Britain and certainly the best in the Midlands. Each year now sees us going to new levels: in 2013 we became the first judo club to host two back-to-back British National events, at the Glades, and in 2014 we ran three National events. No other judo club in Britain has the expertise and strength in depth to run events of this magnitude and quality. We are financially very secure and all money raised goes toward the premises work and the running costs – all coaches and officials are purely voluntary and unpaid. The club is a Registered Charity and belongs to its members.

We are doing our best to support our players, whether those who are traveling all over the country, Europe and sometimes even further, flying the flag for the club and Great Britain, or those who just come for a recreational sport. Onwards and upwards!

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