14 September 2012 Pelkhil Students Siddhartha and Jigme Gyeltshen, RBA soldiers Jaku, Phub Dorji and Lungten Tshering and Pelkhil Security Guard Pema Dargay were all nerves today as they faced the challenge of earning Bhutan’s first blackbelts in Judo. All of them are long term members of the Pelkhil Judo Club.

The exam itself was no ordinary exam. It was a one-time exam especially sanctioned for Bhutan by an organization no less than the Kodokan Judo Institute, the very founding institution of Judo. As Bhutan is not a member of the International Judo Federation, this exam is not normally allowed.

The exam was conducted by six Judo Masters led by Professor Shunsuke Yamasaki (7th Dan) of Konan University, Japan. Accompanying him were Nagai Sensei (4th Dan), Kimura Sensei (6th Dan), Nakae Sensei (7th Dan), Sugiura Sensei (5th Dan) and Kamono Sensei (5th Dan).

The exam consisted of quality of techniques in falling (ukemi), ¬†throwing (nage waza) and grappling (katame waza). This was followed by Nage no Kata or ‘forms of throwing’. Finally, the exam was concluded by actual competition where all techniques were put to the test.

The scores will be compiled and taken back to Japan to the Kodokan. After a final analysis the results will be declared at a later date. All the same, the Senseis were very gratified by the quality of the students and highly encouraged about the future prospects of Judo in Bhutan.

Also see Kuensel picture story

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