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Judo is for everyone - Derek Morris’s Nationals Experience

ACT Judo Representative and Vice President of the ADF Martial Arts Association, Maj Morris competed at the recent Australian National Championships that were held in Carrara on the Gold Coast. The 49-year-old brown belt judoka competed in the Masters event and went on to win a gold and a bronze.

For Derek it was his first time competing at the national level. “I turned up there with the mindset that my achievement was simply qualifying for, and attending the event, and I was going to be very happy to have walked away having just enjoyed the atmosphere of the Nationals,” Maj Morris said.

“It was also the first time that the ADF brand had been worn at the Nationals.”

Maj Morris competed in the under 66kg Veterans K4 (45-49 age bracket) and also in the under 66kg Veterans M4 (inclusive of black belts).

Maj Morris attended the tournament after qualifying for inclusion in the ACT State team. The team’s coach, Moe Sakio, is a successful Japanese Judoka, as well as being part of the National Coaching team. She provided insight into lightweight judo that worked for him.

“The very first match of the day for me was definitely my stand-out, I won that match by Ippon (throw),” Maj Morris said “I walked into that match with a game plan. I had competed against my opponent previously, and I knew his vulnerabilities.”

“The match was won with a solid Tai Otoshi (body drop throw). It was a glorious moment for me.”

Looking to the future, Maj Morris believes the 2021 Nationals will be his last Shiai tournament as his focus shifts to perfecting his techniques with Kata and refereeing.

“Kata is about knowing exactly where that little finger sits on someone’s judogi (uniform),” Maj Morris said. “It is about demonstrating the perfect technique and requires a deep understanding of the purpose and execution of that technique.”

“It is also less taxing on the body. Refereeing will also provide a pathway for me to remain actively involved in the sport well into my 70s.”

Modified from Lee-Anne Cooper story Technique hits the mark


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