Samurai Judo Academy students once again rose to the occasion at the 2011 NSW State Judo Titles at Olympic Park on the weekend, claiming Gold, Silver and bronze medals to add to the impressive tally in recent years.
Daniel Villani was a force to be recond with, taking out the Junior boys Under 30kg division in style.
"Daniel looked like a consumate professional on the mat" said Samurai Judo Academy Chief Instructor or Sensei, Ken McKenzie. "He looked like a focused champion from the second he stepped on the mat".
Having recently won the Sydney open, another NSW state team selection event, Daniel qualifies to represent the state at the National Judo Titles over the Queens birthday long weekend in June.
Beau Baxter won the silver medal in the same division as Villani and also placed 2nd at the recent Sydney Open, qualifying him for the NSW State Team alongside his training partner. "Beau actually beat Daniel at the Sydney open” said McKenzie, “but was beaten overall on points in a hard fought round robin division”
Beau's twin brother Brody Baxter also shone at the right time with a display of persistence and style, taking bronze in the junior boys under 34 kilogram division. "Brody still has a chance to make it to the National Titles if he trains hard" said McKenzie
McKenzie also paid tribute to Mitchell West, who had already beaten Beau, but had to bow out gracefully after a bump to the head."Many people commented on Mitchell's ability and performance" said McKenzie "and everybody agreed that he was a strong medal contender on the day, which would have likely meant all medals going to the Hunter”
Judo means "the gentle way" and so does not involve kicking or punching but more moving with an opponent's body weight so they are thrown or wrestled without hurting them. Students are not allowed to use their skills off the mat and this is disciplined quite harshly.
"I was very proud of them" said Beau and Brody's mother Anna McDonald, who herself trains regularly at the Academy in judo and self defense for women. "They only commenced judo 6 months ago at Samurai Judo Academy and now train 3 times a week"