Johanna Puustinen

Brunel Jiu Jitsu Club brought back gold from February’s Randori Nationals for the first time in several years. Randori Nationals, held in Northampton on the last weekend of February, brought together over 500 jitsukas from 75 clubs across the country. Overall, Brunel University placed 20th at the tournament with just seven participants.
White belt Madeleine Difford joined the club late in the year, but fought her way to bronze in women’s lightweights. Likewise, yellow belt Miljana Stankovic won bronze in her lightweight category. Men’s yellow belt middleweights competitor Kieran Waite brought Brunel silver.
Gold medalist Matt Crouch was eventually crowned yellow belt men’s heavyweight champion, and managed to smile through the aches and pains. “The competition was very tough and I’m just relieved it’s over. Winning definitely made my weekend,” he said.
Club treasurer Benjamin Drabble was meant to fight in the brown and black belt open tournament, but could not participate due to an ankle injury. White belt Hishaam Bin Masood dislocated his shoulder during his bronze medal fight.

Despite various bumps and bruises, the team was proud to break the news to their club, which has been constantly struggling with lacking training facilities and busy instructors in the last few years.

“We’ve only just re-established ourselves as a proper club after a couple of tough years, and it feels amazing to have such success,” Drabble said. The club was adopted this year by one of The Jiu Jitsu Foundation’s most senior instructors, Steve Donaghy. Together with the committee and enthusiastic new members, sensei Donaghy seems to have accomplished his goal of turning the club around. “The club was absolutely fantastic, and the only way is up. We’re looking forward to Atemi Nationals in November and are hoping to do even better next year."