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Grandfather awarded his fifth Judo blackbelt, at 78

27 Nov
By David McCann
Published on Tuesday 18 October, 2011
News and images excerpted from

First there was Karate Kid but now it is the turn of the judo geriatric.

While most of his peers are taking things easy in later life, dedicated Donald Hughes is still busy throwing opponents to the mat – and racking up his fifth black belt in the process.

At 78, the Muirhouse grandfather-of-two has become the oldest judo master in Scotland to hold a 5th dan, which he received at a surprise bash at one of his dojos at Drumbrae Leisure Centre.

The pensioner’s commitment to the martial art over 50 years was honoured by scores of guests who slipped into his class as he gave a lesson to youngsters.

A shocked Mr Hughes was then presented with the coveted 5th dan black belt by technical director of the British Judo Association, Colin McIver.



Mr Hughes said: “It gives me a great feeling to know I have achieved something.

“I knew from the minute I started training that judo was for me.”

The septuagenarian only took up the discipline at the age of 28, but from the moment he entered his first dojo in Gorebridge in 1968, he was hooked.

He was drawn to the Japanese martial art during his national service having watched a soldier of slight build overpower a much larger man.

He said: “This big guy, who was like a ploughman, was thrown to the ground by this normal guy who later turned out to be an orange belt in judo.

“Later, when I was back in Edinburgh, I saw a poster for judo classes and decided to go to one in Gorebridge. When I came back from it, I told my wife, ‘this is for me and I think it was one of the best days of my life’.”

Mr Hughes, who previously worked as a BT engineer before qualifying as a physiotherapist in his 50s, reached the rank of 4th Dan in 2005 but feels he may now have hit a ceiling in his judo career.

He said: “It’s more than just a sport. For me, it’s a way of life and I try to pass that on to people.

“But I doubt I can go much further than this. I would need to wait six years or something before I could get up to another grade and that’s very unlikely to happen. However, I have no plans to give it up and still feel I have something to give and am only too happy to be instructing.”

Speaking about Mr Hughes’ achievements, Mr McIver said: “He has given a lifetime to the sport.

“I’ve known him since 1968 and have been impressed by his passion and dedication to introducing new people into judo.

“This was just really our way of saying thanks for a lifetime of volunteering in judo. He has set up many clubs all over Edinburgh and has been involved at all levels. He is the ideal volunteer and every sport would like someone as dedicated as Donald.”


Joint Locking

12 Jun

By Yee Jin Cheng

A friendly joint-locking exchange in Penang, Malaysia.

For all the people…

8 Jun

<<A video shared by my friend in facebook>>

To all the people that worked hard for something.

Without number 1 doesn’t mean fail.

Never give up half way.


Turn it Loose

27 Apr

“Give up is never an option”

Breakdance has evolved into an international phenomenon since 30 years ago, it is an unique form of non-contact combat.

2007 in South Africa, 16 bboys were battling each other for the title of Redbull BC One. There will only be one winner, the remaining will turn it loose.

This film narrates the six bboys from different cultural background about the way they view bboy as part of their lives.








My anecdote of Chinese Martial Art

3 Feb

By Yee Jin Cheng

Foreword: This ain’t gonna’ be a lecture nor academic piece, so take it easy, folks! : ) No sources quoted (if you discredit Wikipedia, that is). It’s all to my knowledge.

Chinese martial arts have a long history dating back more than 4000 years ago. The earliest form of Chinese martial art recorded is Jiao Di (角抵), which is a combat sport involving contestants wearing head gears with horns and butt each other out. Legend has it that the Yellow Emperor employed Jiao Di in his armies as a way to brawl rebels in 2697 B.C. Without the head gear, this combat sport would later form the basis of Shuai Jiao (摔跤) or Chinese wrestling and many Chinese martial arts styles. The term Kung Fu (功夫) is often used to refer to the arts, but it can also be used to refer to skills in other non-martial contexts eg: cooking, carpentry. On the other hand, Wushu (武术) is a more precise term. The character Wu carries a martial meaning while Shu means skill. However, as of present, the term is more commonly used to refer to the modern Wushu sport.

Shuai Jiao from Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 – 907)

Shuai Jiao from Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 – 1912)

Modern Wrestling Match

Chinese martial arts encompasses many different styles. Along with that, there are many different ways to categorize them. One of the most commonly used category is via geographical location. The Yellow River crosses through the heart of China in the centre. Styles originated from the northern part of the river would be deemed as northern styles while styles from the southern part of the river be deemed as southern styles. The term “southern fists and northern kicks” (南拳北腿) was commonly quoted to refer to the differences between the arts from both regions, that the northern style specializes in kicks while the southern style in hand techniques. However, such differences are not absolute.

Northern Chinese martial arts are commonly practiced in northern parts of China such as Henan province, Beijing, or Shanghai. Generally, northern styles emphasize on swift footwork, large, circular and powerful blocks and attacks, acrobatics, as well as deeply extended stances for conditioning of the body. It is said that such aerial and grand movements suit the often mountainous terrain of northern China and were historically meant for battling against Mongolian horsemen. Influences of northern styles can be found in Korean martial arts like Taekwondo, with their emphasis on high kicks.

Examples of northern styles included:

Tai Chi (太极拳)

Eagle claw (鷹爪拳)

Northern Praying Mantis (螳螂拳)

Southern Chinese martial arts are commonly practiced in southern China such as Fujian (Hokkien) province and the Guangzhou. In contrast, southern styles generally emphasize low, rooted stances, short and direct hand techniques and lower kicks. It is said that such characteristics were due to the dense urban population and flatter terrain in southern regions of China which made close combat more feasible than large movements typical of northern stylists. Influences of southern styles could be found in Goju Ryu Karate, a Karate style from Okinawa, Japan.

Examples of southern styles are:

Wing Chun (咏春拳)

White Crane (白鶴拳)

Hung Gar (洪拳)

Chinese martial arts contain a vast arsenal of hand and leg techniques. Different styles have their own set of techniques respectively, such as forming the fingers into tiger claws in Hung Gar or mantis hooks in Northern Praying Mantis. In general, all Chinese martial arts employ striking, kicking, felling, throwing, and joint-locking techniques in order to kill, immobilize, or paralyze the enemy with the least effort yet maximum efficiency. Throughout the styles, training always consist of the basic stances, forms, combat application.

Stance training are meant to strengthen the fighters’ body. Stance training is often practiced statically by remaining in the position for a set period of time and dynamically, which involves moving in between different stances. Notable stances included the horse stance and the cat stance.

Horse stance (马步)

Cat stance (虚步)

Forms or tao lu (套路) are pre-arranged sequences of movements which are meant to teach martial applications of the respective style and also to build proper body alignment. A style usually consists of several empty-handed and weapons forms and drills as well as 2-person fighting sets.

Application refers to the use of the forms into combat. Each movement in a form often corresponds to at least a particular combat situation, such as a punch or a kick.



Photos courtesy of Aw Win Chan

At higher levels, practitioners would incorporate the use of Qi () or internal force. Qi is often defined as the energy that supports every living being and the Chinese believe that by utilizing internal force, more powerful blows could be delivered without the requirement of brute muscle strength, a believe which in turn is very common from the western scientific paradigm. Internal force is often generated via Qi exercises, better known as Qi Gong (气功), or through stance training. In addition, the abundance of Qi builds healthier bodies and minds and increases life span.