Why I do Judo

My name is Brian Dowling, and I have been doing judo for maybe a year or so now. I was first introduced to combat sports at a young age; my brother was a black belt in karate. Throughout the years I bounced from sport to sport – boxing, Muay Thai, rugby – but the lack of combat bored me. I was sixteen when I started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Samson Martial Arts. I instantly fell in love with the idea of grappling, and of prioritizing technique over power and skill over speed. While learning here, I became totally enamoured with the grappling world, and soon found myself subscribed to multiple dedicated magazines.


One such magazine featured an article about how various other sports could improve your overall game, and ultimately make you a better fighter; naturally, judo topped this list. When I attended the UCC Clubs open day I witnessed the judo team in action, and when I found out that their training times didn’t clash with my other training times I figured I’d give it a go. As soon as I walked in, I was blown away by the sheer level of skill already present in the club, as well as the welcoming atmosphere. I even ran into a few friends from jiu jitsu! The number of skilled fighters who have trained, and continue to train, with us here is incredible.

Even as a white belt I was able to hold my own in combat, due to my knowledge of throws and ground work from BJJ. In my first ever judo competition, the 2015 Intervarsities – which were held in UCC that year – I was immediately thrown into the deep end, finding myself up against two black belts in the team event. There, I lost by an ippon and points, but it was the belt and weight category in which I truly hit my stride. I ended up winning gold in both, which was surprising as my weight category had me up against three black belts! I had managed to accomplish all of this with only four months of judo training.


Fast forward to the present, and I have earned my green belt, and am aiming for a blue belt this February. Not only has UCC Judo allowed me to improve my skills, but it also became a key pillar in my social life. I developed friendships that I hold very close to my heart and, when we’re not trying to kill each other with our bare hands, I do my best to see them whenever I can, even if it’s just for a chat.

Though at first judo was just a tool for me to get better at BJJ – a fact which I never tried to hide – I can now say with certainty that it has become a part of my life upon which I wouldn’t soon turn my back.

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