On Saturday 2nd September 2023, eighteen students from Kokoro Kai took part in this year’s British Championships. The venue was the Walsall Sports Centre in the grounds of Wolverhampton University. Some members of the team arrived on the Friday evening to enjoy the comforts of the Park Inn Hotel in Walsall. Here they soaked up the exciting atmosphere as all the competitors and various groups began to arrive from all over the country. Others chose to rise early and journey up on the Saturday morning.
The Championships began promptly with Pairs Demo, Empty Hand Kata and Weapons Kata . After a short break for lunch, we then proceeded with all the Random Attack, Advanced Randoms and Continuous Fighting categories.
Team members this year came from our Hornchurch, Rainham and Stanstead Abbotts clubs. Chief Instructors and Senior National Referees Mark and Claire Fitz-Gerald were joined by Coach's Martin Hunnable, James Cottee and Chris Ward from the Fenlands and Peter Newby from Stanstead Abbotts. A mention also to our trained Officials from Kokoro Kai - Edd Peaty, Nigel Clark and Michael Smith for successfully puting theory into practise. Great job everyone! Fantastic results were produced once again, with a total medal tally this year of 19 medals, with several of the team competing for the first time.
The annual Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony took place at Walsall Football Club. The Board of the British Ju-Jitsu Association thanked all present for their huge efforts in making this year's Championships a huge success. Various high grades from accross the country were then presented with their 5th/6th/7th and 8th Dan's. Kokoro Kai are proud to have three new 6th Dan's in Rob Green, Martin Hunnable and James Cottee. It's hard to remember a time when these three have not been around and to say we are proud of them is an understatment. Finally, it was then time to unwind with friends after a long day and to celebrate with our Ju-Jitsu family.
What an honour and a privilage it has been to work with such a wonderful team of people and to play our part in helping to produce another successful Championships. Thank you to all our competitors - keep up the good work!
We look forward to doing it all again on 31 August 2024!
Well done and thanks to everone for their support.
Mark & Claire Fitz-Gerald, 7th Dan
Chief Instructors, Kokoro Kai Ju-Jitsu Association
Directors, British Ju-Jitsu Association, Governing Body
Full results of the day can be found below.
Kokoro Kai & Wakarishin Ju-Jitsu
International Course & Championships
Saturday 27 May 2023
Saturday 27th May and here we were ready to host our 15th Annual International Ju-Jitsu Course & Championships with our partners from Wakarishin. The year seemed to have gone in a flash and we were back. This year we had a few new clubs mixing with the old regulars. We also had a brand new back drop which was very kindly sponsored for us by Nest Management.
A special thanks as always to Dave James from Wakarishin for his superb planning skills and to his Sensei and our joint host Ian Arbon for the provision and collection of so many mats! Thank you to all our Friday night set-up team of helpers - a superb job. The enormity of the task really hits home as we begin to display the lists of competitors and their categories upon the walls of the hall. The shear size of the championships is laid bare for all to see.
Sensei Mark Fitzgerald opened the event and introduced an impressive line up of instructors to start proceedings. From overseas this year we were very pleased to welcome back from Belgium - Sensei Leslie Ottoey, 9th Dan ,Sensei Danny Hendrikz 6th Dan, Sensei Peter Thoon 5th Dan Sensei Stephen Black 7th Dan from Northern Ireland, USA Sensei Tyrone Abdul 6th Dan.
Instruction was of the highest quality and a golden opportunity for everyone present to learn and witness for themselves true Ju-Jitsu without the constraints and rules of competition. It was also great to see so many on the White to Yellow belt mat and enjoying the course for the first time.
This year, our Kata Team was ably lead by Sensei Andy Monty 6th Dan. Our scorer for morning was Sensei John Ward.
Competition began at 1pm sharp.
Our 8 Competition Mats worked furiously throughout the afternoon and we would like to express our gratitude to all our officials and helpers. We simply could not get through this monumental task if it wasn't for such a magnificent team effort. The spectator stands were full and families had a great time cheering on their little one's - well done to those of you who remembered your cushions and picnics!
Once again, our Kokoro Kai students achieved some excellent results which can be viewed on our Result Sheets below. We are very proud of everyone who took part, especially the lower grades who were competing for the first time. Remember, win or loose, you gained valuable experience for next time. Everyone who took part showed amazing courage and sportsmanship throughout the day.
Over 180 guests enjoyed a tasty hot buffet, plenty of drinks and partied until the early hours back at the Park Inn Palace Hotel, Southend-On- Sea! A great weekend shared with great company. SEE YOU ALL NEXT YEAR - DATE TO BE CONFIRMED!
Host Instructors:- M & C Fitz-Gerald, 7th Dan/ Kokoro Kai & I.Arbon, 7th Dan/ Wakarishin
Guest Instructors:- Sensei's: K.Blundell, 10th Dan/ P.Geoghegan, 9th Dan/ L.Ottoey (Belgium), 9th Dan/J.Angotti 8th Dan/ J. Rake 8th Dan/M. Holden 7th Dan/R. Asbery 7th Dan/C. Shaw 7th Dan/ A.Pryce 7th Dan/ S. Black(N.Ireland) 7th Dan/A.Galloway 7th Dan/P. Rhodes 7thDan
D.Henrikz (Belgium) 6th Dan/ T.Abdul (USA)6th Dan/ / M.De Bono 6th Dan/ M.Hunnable 5th Dan/ J.Cottee 5th Dan/ A.Kane 5th Dan/P.Thoon (Belgium) 5th Dan./P.Turner 5thDan/A.Byne 5th Dan.
Mark & Claire Fitz-Gerald, 7th Dan
UNITED NATIONS OF JU-JITSU
27th CONGRESS ~ COURSE ~ CHAMPIONSHIPS
OSTEND - BELGIUM
7-10 OCTOBER 2022
Congratulations to Team GB for a fantastic performance at the United Nations of Ju-Jitsu Championships, Course and Congress in Ostend, Belgium at the weekend. After a break of almost three years, our international Ju-Jitsu family finally got the chance to meet up again and indulge our shared passion for Ju-Jitsu. Old friends came together again and many new friendships and connections were made.
The weekend began with weigh-in's upon arrival and our traditional Opening Ceremony in the evening, where all the various Teams were introduced to the tune of their National Anthems. Countries present included Uk, USA, Denmark, Belgium, Gibraltar, Hungary, Italy and Germany. The evening was rounded off with some Team Demos from the Uk and Germany.
The Championships began in ernest on Saturday with 9 mats fully operational. First up were Randoms Attacks, Empty Hand and Weapons Kata. This was followed by Ground Fighting and Continuous Fighting. Great skills were demonstrated throughout the day by both Junior and Adult competitors and a mention must go to the fantastic team of Officials who's stamina and professionalism kept the mats running smoothly throughout the day. Team GB put in a superb effort with amazing results and many, many medals!
Sunday was the day for the various countries Sensei's to share some of their awesome skills with all of the students. A fantastic atmosphere was enjoyed by everyone who went away bruised, but happy! This was soon forgotten once everyone celebrated on the dance floor at the Gala Dinner Sunday eveneing. What a great night - and a very late one as always!
Sad farewells on Monday morning as everyone prepared to make their way home. Some sore heads on our coach, but a shared satisfaction of a wonderful celebration of Ju-Jitsu.
See you all in Hungary 2024!
Mark & Claire Fitz-Gerald, 7th Dan
Chief Instructors, Kokoro Kai Ju-Jitsu Association
It has been a time coming but Sturday and Sunday the 19 & 20 of February 2022 saw Kokoro Kai Ju Jitsu get back to holding official gradings how we used too before all the lockdowns. Juniors from the Barking and Hornchurch clubs graded on the Saturday followed by seniors from all the clubs on the Sunday. Both days were a huge sucess due to the effort put in by all who were grading , also from all the help from the Dan grades helping throughout the days.
Danish Open Course & Competition
On Friday 15 November a team of two Instructors and six students had an early morning start as they set of too meet up with the rest of the British team heading to Denmark to train and compete in the Danish Open Course & Competition. We were met by our hosts at the airport and our luggage taken away to allow us all a day in Copenhagen. The course started at 9.30 am and was attented by Instructors and students from Britain, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and our hosts from Denmark. After a short break in the afternoon the Competitions began With Random Attacks, Ground fighting, Continous Fighting and finishing with Kata and Weapon Kata.
The team from Kokoro Kai managed to bring home 3 Gold, 1 Silver & 1 Bronze.
The weekend finished up with a party night on the Saturday evening and most people making their way home on the Sunday. As usual a great weekend of Ju Jitsu and friendship, and a big thank you to Sensei Hans Demont and his team for looking after us all.
International Ju-Jitsu Course & Competition
Aalst Belgium 2019
Friday 15th March a team from Kokoro Kai set of to join the rest of the British squad in Aalst Belgium for a Ju-Jitsu course and competition. The course had instructors from 8 countries, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Sicily, Sweden & Hungary. With 300 students supporting the day, the course flew bye, with many varied Ju-Jitsu techniques being taught by the Instructors two of whom were our own Sensei's Mark & Claire Fitzgerald. After a short break the afternoon then had the sport Ju-Jitsu competition with Juniors & Seniors taking part in Random Attacks, Ground Fighting, Continuous Fighting, Empty Hand Kata & Weapons Kata. With medals being won in many events by the British competitors it was a great end to a long day. It was then back to the hotel to get ready for the evenings meal and party. A big thank you must go to Sensei Leslie Ottoey 9th Dan and his team for organising such a great weekend.
Northen Ireland Course
Friday 9th November saw the executive of the British Ju Jitsu Association make there way to Bangor Northern Ireland to attend a training weekend put on by Sensei Steven Black 6th Dan and Sensei Mark Noble 8th Dan. The course was attended by Instructors from Ireland , England,Scotland, America and Australia. Instructors from the BJJAGB were Sensei's Martin Dixon, Kenny Blundell and Paul Geoghegan all 9th Dan. Sensei's Mark & Claire Fitzgerald, Ian Arbon and Mike Holden also Introduced everyone there to the sport side of Ju Jitsu, which was new to lots of the students there, but was warmly received. All in all it was a great weekend , new friends made, and fantastic hosts.
UNITED NATIONS OF JU-JITSU
26th ANNUAL CONGRESS & CHAMPIONSHIPS
On Friday 28 October 2018 , Kokoro Kai's Chief Instructors Mark & Claire Fitz-Gerald, 7th Dan, together with sixteen students and their families, travelled to Gibraltar for the United Nations 26th Annual Congress and Championships. The event was hosted by Sensei Anthony Joagquin, who proudly accepted his 7th Dan at the Opening Ceremony from his instructors Sensei James Pape, 10th Dan and Sensei Paul Geoghegan, 9th Dan from Bushido UK. Countries in attendance included Associations from all over the UK, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Tangiers, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, USA and South Africa.
Team GB proudly sported their Team GB Polo's at the Registration on Friday evening. We had a huge Team this time with some 150 participants, competitors and instructors. Everyone was raring to go and it was great to meet up with old friends and new from all the various countries taking part.
Saturday 29 October and Team GB got down to some serious training on the Course, learning from the various Country Representatives which included our very own Chief Instructors Mark and Claire Fitz-Gerald. The Championships then followed the Course in the afternoon on Day 1 and began with Kata's/ Weapons/ Pairs Demonstrations/ Pairs Empty Hand/ Pairs Weapons Kata and Random Attacks. Day 2 commenced promptly at 9am with Sparring/ Continuous Fighting/ Ground Fighting and finishing with the Team Demonstrations. Sensei's Mark and Claire tested their Refereeing skills to the full, as did many other well known faces from the UK. It was fantastic to see all of our officials testing their skills and this just proved how valuable our National Officials Courses have become. Team GB put in a cracking effort and we are very pleased to say that Kokoro Kai students played their part and did a fantastic job representing their Country and bringing home the bling!!!
Celebrations went on into the night (and the morning!) as everyone enjoyed a great party on the Sunday evening.
Whilst some students had to depart the following day, most of the Kokoro Kai Team and supporters enjoyed a few extra days of rest and relaxation. It was also a chance to explore the famous Rock of Gibraltar, its Caves and Tunnels and of course to meet it's cheeky residents - the Barbary Apes! Hold on to your ice creams though - they particularly enjoy these!!
"Well done to all of Team GB and our Kokoro Kai students - we are very proud of all your achievements!"
The next United Nations of Ju-Jitsu will take place in Valencia, Spain in 2020 (details to follow). Hope to see you all there!
Chief Instructor Sensei Claire Fitz-Gerald celebrates her 7th Dan promotion with husband Mark, and the technical committee of the BJJAGB who attended the British Ju-Jitsu National Championships and Gala Awards Ceremony. A fantastic and memorable night for everyone.
A truly well-deserved promotion to a truly dedicated exponent of Ju-Jitsu
Fenland Kokoro Kai
Course & Competition
Sensei's Mark & Claire Fitz-Gerald paid a visit to the Fenland clubs, to help with a course & competition for theirJunior members.
The clubs are run by Sensei Martin Hunnable with the help of Sensei James Cottee.
The course started at 10.00 sharp, and the kids were put through a great warm up by Joe Jones one of the Dan grades helping on the day. Some very novel and great warm up games. The Little Dragons then went onto one mat with Sensei James and Claire Hooke. The other children were with Sensei Mark & Claire who put them through their paces with various drills to help them with competition skills. Before we new it two hours had passed and a well deserved lunch break for all. Every body taking part received a participant medal and a certificate. All the children showed great effort and skills with all the drills shown to them.
The competitions in the afternoon were an inter-club comp with the children showing their skills in Kata, Randoms, ground fighting, Continuous fighting, Sumo, and a new one for the very young Wacky Wakers.
All the children again showed great skills and determination. Before we new it the comps were over and a great sucess. A big thank you to Sensei Martin for the invite and to all the Dan grades who helped throughout the day.
The day finished with a great meal attended by the Dan grades.
South Africa 2016
On March 3 we set of on our visit, to Sensei Sam Tonkin 8th Dan of Jikishin International
South Africa. Also on the trip with us was our instructor Sensei Terry Parker 10th Dan.
We first visited and met Sam, with Sensei Parker some 29 years ago, and this was the first time
since Sensei's stroke that he had been back.
Whilst we were there we taught classes for Juniors and seniors, and also an early morning class
for CMS Security firm, who train at Sensei Sam's dojo every morning under one of his 5thDans Sensei Paul. We spent the morning on control and restraint plus ground defence.
As sensei Paul said these guys are using their skills every day for real.
It was great to catch up with old friends and also make plenty of new ones from every one we met and trained with. The weeks flew by and ended with Sensei Parker and ourselves attending the Jikishin International gradings for 200 students.
To Sensei Sam and his lovely wife Fiona, we would like to thank them for their hospitality, friendship and lasting memories. We hope to be back soon.
AA Adam Asenjo
Bushido Ju-Jitsu Northern Championships
Airbus Sports Club - Broughton
Saturday 10th October 2015
On Friday 9th October, Chief Instructors Mark and Claire Fitz-Gerald travelled with a team of Kokoro Kai students to Chester for a Training Course and Championships the following day. The Team included Lee and Matthew Vincent, Nigel and Tahlia Clark, Tomming Manning, Robbie Hunter, Paul McKelvey and Peter Newby. We travelled in style thanks to Bob Hunter, who was able to commandeer a luxury mini bus for the trip and ably chauferred the team for the whole weekend. Thanks also to Alison Hunter for providing the sustinance for the long journey!
Upon arrival and with everyone settled in, we enjoyed a nice meal at the Hotel and was made to feel very welcome by all our Bushido friends. The following day was an early start and our venue was the Airbus Sports Club - yes - this is where the wings of the famous Airbus are made! A very enjoyable course ensued in the morning with a variety of instructors from Bushido and the BJJAGB. The Championships took place in the afternoon and all Kokoro Kai students put in a great effort and gained valuable experience. A tally of 8 medals were won by the following students:
Robbie Hunter & Tommy Manning - Silver Pairs Demo
Tommy Manning - Silver Continuous/ Bronze Ground Fighting
Tahlia Clark - Silver Continuous/ Silver Ground Fighting
Peter Newby - Bronze Random Attacks/ Gold Weapons Kata
A special "Congratulations" must go to Kokoro Kai's Peter Newby, 2nd Dan who was awarded Bushido's coveted Charles Allmark Trophy for most impressive student. "Well done Pete"!
A huge note of thanks must go to Bushido's Chief Instructors - Sensei James Pape, 10th Dan and Sensei Paul Geoghan, 9th Dan and to also to Phil Rhodes, 6th Dan and his team.
REST IN PEACE
PROFESSOR JANET HAZEL PARKER, 7th Dan
23.06.1950 - 12.12.2014
Loving memories we shall always treasure of a very special lady, our mentor and dearest friend.
Thank you for putting the Joy in our Ju-Jitsu.
Sensei Rami Sasson 7th Dan Training Course
On the 2nd August we had the honour of hosting a course for Sensei Rami Sasson 7th Dan from Jikishin International Israel. This was a three hour course in which Sensei Rami instructed in self defence , Ju-Jitsu and some Krav Maga, and then moving on to ground fighting after a short break. This was a quality course taught in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere by a very knowledgeable instructor.
Pictures from the course.