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KU Jiu Jitsu club strike gold at nationals

By River Reporter Mar 11, 2016

Oda Ottesen

Kingston University’s Jiu Jitsu club regained their title as national champions by winning 24 medals at the British Randori Nationals earlier this month.

The Cougars lost their title to UCL at last year’s nationals but picked up 13 gold, five silver and six bronze medals this year.

Saeed Jabbar, who has trained Jiu Jitsu at Kingston University for 25 years, said: “I am massively proud of everyone’s contribution to the team. It’s not easy to win.

“We are a good team because we do everything together, we do the hard things together. This year, we had 30 competitors and everybody has won a match.”

As well as winning a gold medal in the ‘Women’s Heavyweight Yellow-belts’ category, Lisa Zimmo, a law alumni, won the open competition where students of any weight or experience can fight.

Zimmo said: “I knew that I was fighting one of the best female black-belts, so I was terrified.

“I thought there was no way that I could actually win that fight.

“It is one of the best mental challenges that I have ever experienced. This is why I’m so passionate about it and I love it so much. Jui Jitsu challenges your fears,” she said.

The nationals had 76 competing clubs with more than 400 members, and there were over 1,000 fights.

Charles-Jean Boucher, a music alumni, sprained his ankle during his final standing competition, but his competitors helped to keep him on his feet as he received one gold and one silver medal.

Boucher said: “There are always going to be some challenges.

“I always have it in my head that the other guy is going to be stronger than me, so even though I did well on the first day I didn’t let it get to my head,” he said.

The club won 12-3 at varsity on Wednesday at Surrey Sports Park against their rivals Surrey University’s combined martial arts team, and are still undefeated in this competition.

“No other sports teams at university have the Kingston University spirit,” said Hamid Panah, a second year psychology

“I think our team is more like a really big family. I know once you’re out there, we all have each other’s back.”

Lauren Hand, president and third year product and furniture design student, won a bronze medal at the Nationals and was one of the 15 people to compete at varsity for Kingston.

“Many of us are still feeling the buzz after winning nationals, it’s a wonderful experience,” said Hand.

Jabbar said: “Excellent performance by the Kingston team in a multi-disciplinary competition. We took on specialists and won.”

The club trains twice a week at Penhryn Road Fitness Centre, and welcomes any student regardless of fitness or experience.

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