|We asked him if he had done any judo before and he replied that he run the Seeboard Judo Club at Tunbridge Wells and was a 2 ND Dan black belt, his name was Sensei Graham Baldwin. He was the first instructor we had for months and really put us through a hard workout, at the end of the lesson he invited us to attend his club in Tunbridge Wells.
Myself and one or two other members from Edenbridge went to Tunbridge Well on a regular basis, were I met other judo players who went to other judo clubs, which I them attended through out my judo career. After two months the Tunbridge Wells club were holding a grading, which I attended beating all comers and three green belt who were going for their blue belts, for a novice this wasn’t to bad.
I was awarded the grade of orange belt. By this time there were now only 3 adults and 2 junior members at Edenbridge judo club. We had no instructor so I used to teach the members on Wednesday the techniques that I was taught on Monday at Tunbridge Wells Club. I used to attend all the courses and workshops I could and started to make My way in the judo world, by this time I had been given the nick name of “Tiny” because I was a heavy weight.
This when on until I received my club coaching award in May 1973 and my referees certificate in June the same year. I was so intensely interested in the sport of judo that I was travelling over 400 mile a week, and practicing 6 times a week and going to most of the clubs in Kent, Surrey, London and Sussex. I attended every grading which I could, (I had 2 broken big toes when I fought for my brown belt, which I achieved at Rochester, Kent, and nothing was going to stop me fighting at the grading).
I have required several injuries over the years, the worst was when I fought in the Europeans, where I received 2 broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder, but the determination was always there and after an 8-week break I returned to judo. In August 1993 I attended a weeks-intensive training course at summer camp in St Mary Bay where we were taught for 9 hours a day, with a grading at the end of the course. I had to compete against 8 other brown belts, I lost the 1 st 2 contests but I won the next 6 and I was awarded my 1 st Dan Black Belt only 11 month after starting judo.
Later I achieved my international referee certificate and have refereed all over Europe.
Henry Maber who was soon to retire and the floor of the function room was giving way with the repeated pounding of bodies hitting the mat, and so the club decided to move to its present head quarters St Paulinus Church Centre, Marlpit hill. Using the name of Ohkan Judo Kwai (Crown Judo Club) in honor of Henry Maber, were the club as been ever since.
I have had many juniors past through the club over the past 35 years including my Son Paul, Daughter Kerry, and nephew’s who still practice and help me instruct. I have many juniors go on to become very good judo players and achieve high grades, My Son Paul, Daughter Kerry, Paul Baxter,
Chris Bastow, Derek Pitfield, John O’Neill & Mark Champion to name just a few all reaching the top grade of judo black belt masters.
The clubs have 2 brown belt judo players who soon will become black belt Dan grades.
Now I am teaching grand children of juniors I taught over the years.
The club always wins lots of medals when we go to championships and the members do them selves proud at gradings, which are held every 6 months.
Sensei is the Title of a judo instructor