Edinburgh judo coach recognised for 50 years' service

HE's inspired hundreds of people in the Capital with a love of judo since becoming a coach nearly 50 years ago.

Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 9:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 9:40 am
Andy Malcolm with his red and white belt for 6th dan status. Picture: Greg Macvean

But Andy Malcolm – who turns 72 today – has no intention of retiring just yet and has now received a top honour in recognition of his devotion to the sport.

The judo coach, who runs Edinburgh Bushido Judo Club based at Carrickvale Community Centre, now holds 6th dan status after being given the accolade at the Scottish Open Championships.

He was presented with the coveted red and white belt by British Judo Association president George “Mr Judo” Kerr, one of just a handful in the world to hold 10th dan status – and one of Andy’s very first coaches.

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Since taking up judo in 1964, Andy has been a competitor, coach, qualified referee and senior examiner in the sport.

He said: “To have been involved in judo for so long is an honour in itself, but to receive the 6th dan feels very special.

“Judo is a terrific sport and, since I first stepped onto a judo mat at the old Tora Scotia club in Leith in 1964 I haven’t regretted a second.

“It’s a tough sport – physically and mentally – but it builds character and friendships to last a lifetime.”

A retired pipe-fitter who lives with his wife Jane in Broomhall Crescent, Andy admitted he’d lost count of the number of people he’d trained over the years.

But among them is up-and-coming judoka Michael Gray, who joined the Scottish team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as well as several winners of the Scottish Schools Championship.

And helping athletes make progress is one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching, Andy explained.

He said: “When they come into my club they can’t even do a forward roll.

“Then four or five months down the line we are putting them in junior competitions and they win a medal and it gives them a wee boost. I strip them down to the bare bones and then build them up.”

James Matthews, from Shandon, started training at Bushido ten years ago and, with Andy’s expert help, secured a black belt six years later.

Paying tribute, the 52-year-old said: “Andy is a tough coach but then that’s what you need in a hard sport.

“He’s always constructive and no matter what your age, stage of development of general ability he gets you there in the end.

“To see our own coach given that accolade is great for him and does justice to his 50 years of commitment to the sport and his students.”

Andy said the reaction from his pupils and fellow club members had been “phenomenal” and that he was “very proud” to have been given the honour.

He said: “It’s a great accolade for me. This isn’t a retirement gift – I’ll keep doing this until the day I die.

“If you really take it up seriously judo is a sport for life.”