What a way to start a week than a day with our fantastic Ambassador Nekoda Davis and a full day of Judo! We are so pleased that our week started at Hazel Leys Academy with our Commonwealth champion and Olympian Nekoda!
On the first day of a very important ‘Sports Week’ for Hazel Leys Academy, Nekoda kickstarted a weeklong celebration of sport and physical activity, with an inspirational presentation about her journey into judo and the highs and lows of her sport. It was a great start to the morning as the pupils got to see and hear from Nekoda and watch her Judo montage that gave a snapshot of what it is really like to be a professional athlete.
Nekoda covered several areas in her presentation, including some of the key themes for the school, manners, respect and integrity. Within Nekoda’s presentation she talked about how she had started judo at a similar age to some of the students in the room. One of Nekoda’s messages was that you need to ‘train hard, win easy’. A lesson that the pupils will hopefully take with them throughout their school and home lives.
Towards the end of the presentation the students had the opportunity to ask Nekoda any questions. This was an invaluable experience and the perfect way to learn as much as possible about our Olympian. Some of the best questions from the morning were:
Who inspired you to go to judo?
Why did you learn self-defence?
Which has been your favourite country to travel?
How many medals have you won?
What are your most memorable moments in judo?
Have you been in a match when anyone has cheated?
How many different colour belts do you have?
It was a jam-packed schedule of judo coaching sessions for all of the students at Hazel Leys Academy, which we started straight after the inspirational presentation had finished. Every year group in the school had a go at learning some new judo skills and techniques, as well as some of the Japanese phrases used in competition. It wasn’t long before all of the students were practising their ‘pins’ and ‘throws’ under the safe guidance of Nekoda. The pupils had a lot of fun learning the techniques and showing Nekoda their new skills.
During some of the sessions, selected students were invited to show Nekoda and the group how they would throw their partner and keep them from getting free in a competition. A couple of lucky students also had the chance to throw Nekoda, to prove if their technique was correct. An exciting moment for the students involved in the session to see what it is like to pin a Commonwealth champion!
During our day we also got to visit the Nursery school children, that were extremely excited to see and hold Nekoda’s World Championship medals. The children and staff also had the chance to watch some of Nekoda’s highlights from her excellent Judo montage video. Although the pupils didn’t try any ‘throwing’ or ‘pinning’, they did have a lot of fun watching one of their teachers being pinned by Nekoda.
At the end of each session, the staff selected their pupil of the week to have a photo with Nekoda, along with the rest of the class who smiled and cheered in their class group photographs with Nekoda. The Mintridge Twitter frame and props made another appearance at the end of each of the coaching sessions, as we tried to capture a glimpse of the fun we had had throughout the day.
Nekoda selected one student from each class to receive a Mintridge certificate and medal for their hard work, listening skills or general effort in each of the judo coaching sessions.
It was an exciting day full of activity and learning which we were so pleased to be a part of.
Thank you to the staff and students at Hazel Leys Academy, for inviting Team Mintridge to be a part of your special day and to kickstart what will be a great Sports Week.
If you would like to see the photos or video from our day at Hazel Leys Academy, please contact the staff at the school.
We look forward to working with you all again soon.