Little club fighting well above its weight

COMBATIVE: New Ginkan Judo School instructor and recent national champion Hanä Shimazaki embraces several of her enthusiastic students at the Sidmouth club. Picture: Supplied
COMBATIVE: New Ginkan Judo School instructor and recent national champion Hanä Shimazaki embraces several of her enthusiastic students at the Sidmouth club. Picture: Supplied

Sidmouth barely would rate a mention should it not be for its convict-built Auld Kirk church and somewhat of a peculiar corrugated-iron lighthouse that once warned the dangers of shipping down the Tamar River.

But the small town’s judo club, down the road from Beaconsfield, found its next significant discovery in new instructor Hanä Shimazaki.

The Japanese third Dan black belt is fresh from the national championships.

“That’s why we’re so excited,” Ginkan Judo School president Cassie Arnold said.

“We’re just a little club based in Sidmouth.”

Shimazaki, who is set to join current instructor Terry Hjort, graduated from Nippon Sport Science University and won gold in the women’s under 48kg division.  

We’re just a little club based in Sidmouth

Ginkan Judo School president Cassie Arnold

Arnold said it was “totally brilliant” to lure Shimazaki on the cusp of launching new women’s judo classes.

But the adopted Tasmanian’s key role will be to further develop the emerging judo base on the big stage.

“It’s all just a huge coup for us. The club has been really successful in sending juniors to the nationals,” Arnold said.

“Hanä will be able to work with those juniors so well and in further competition.”

Three Sidmouth juniors had already competed in the state team at the nationals. 

“She will give our juniors a real edge to be able to have someone of that calibre training them,” Arnold said.

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