SENSEI BILL STOPPS
A Brief History of my Judo Career
Harry Chapman and Bill Stopps demonstrating
Conservitative Club 1960
1946: In 1946 I received a short course of Judo
instruction under the late Mr. Gunji
Koizmi at the Budokwai, Lower Grosvenor
Place, Victoria London. I had been proposed
for membership by Mr. Ernie Deval and Mr. J. Turner who were both
Budokwai black belts, sadly I had to decline the offer of membership
as I had just started my apprenticeship as an Instrument Maker with
a very low basic wage, I just could not afford the fees so I had
to regretfully decline the proposal.
1947: I was residing in North Kensington, London,
I had heard of a Japanese Judo teacher a Mr. Matsustaro
OTani a Judo 3rd dan teaching in Harlesden
London. As his fees were remarkably modest I became a student in
his dojo. This same year I was called to serve in the Royal Navy
as part of my National Service.
During this time I trained whenever
the opportunity arose.
1949: I also trained at the South London Judo Society
for a brief period. I was now released
from my National Service commitment and
recommenced training at Mr OTani’s dojo. I
now began to travel around London practicing
at the various dojo’s
that were springing up as Judo became
more popular. Notably at Mr Sadlers Y.M.C.A.
club at Ealing Elstree Judo Club. Job’s Judo Club and Evening
Institutes in the London area. At Wornington
Road evening institute I trained under
Mr. Ian Morris 2nd dan. I also joined
Osram Judo Club at Hammersmith and trained
under Mr. Ted Mossom 3rd dan for a brief
1951: I met Mr. Harry Johnson 3rd dan, Budokwai
International and Olympic Games Gold Medalist ( wrestling ) I joined
his club at the Swaffield Road evening institute in Battersea London.
1953: I was proud to take part in the Seymour Hall
display and also at the Cardiff Judo
display, demonstrating Nage-no-Kata and
Kaeshi-no-kata with my teacher Mr OTani.
This display was under the auspices of
Mr. Chew and Mr. E. Dominy of the South
London Judo Society.
1954: I am awarded Black Belt - 1st dan by Mr.
OTani. Mr. Harry Johnson and Mr. A. Morton
( 2nd dan ) and Mr. W. Hampstead ( 2nd
dan ) .
This grading took place at the Jubilee Judo Club in Harlesden London,
where I defeated four first kyu’s brought in from other clubs.
I then took a “ line up “ of eleven assorted grades
and defeated them all in approximately 10 minutes.
1956: I took part in the great Festival of Judo
at the Royal Albert Hall, London, where I had the honour of performing
Kaeshi-no-Kata with my teacher Mr. OTani before many very important
guests including the UK Japanese Ambassador, but non to me more
important than Kenshiro Abbe sensei 8th dan and all Japan Champion.
In this same year I was awarded 2nd dan..
I also took part in the National Judo Championships at Cossington
Street Baths Hall Leicester , where I was involved in demonstrations
and assisted Kenshiro Abbe sensei.
1957: I was now honoured to be placed on the panel of the London
County Council Instructors and began teaching at Barlby Road , W10
and Battersea Evening Institutes.
This year I married and moved to Old Windsor.
In a randori practice in London I severly damaged my right knee
joint which entailed many weeks off work. This injury effectively
ended my competitive Judo career. I now joined the local Windsor
1959: Fortunately I heard of an Osteopath named
Mr. Mann who was also a Budokwai black belt instructor. After a
series of treatment he skilfully managed to get my knee working
again. Owing to the nature of the injury it remained weak and sadly
contest Judo was now over for me.
1962: I continued to practice and teach at Mr.
dojo at Roundwood Park, London.
This same year I was awarded my 3rd dan teaching certificate.
I continued to teach and support Mr. Otani for
1977: This was a sad time with the death of Mr.
OTani and the dissolution of the Roundwood
Park Judo Club. I now continued to practice and teach at the Windsor
Judo Club, I again injured my already weak knee in an over-enthusiastic
and foolhardy randori. I now decided to concentrate on groundwork
1981: I wrote and had published two articles for
a prominent Judo Magazine concerning my long association with the
late Mr. OTani.
1982: Awarded 4th dan for long service by the President of the
British Judo Council.
1984: I continued to study train and teach at the Windsor Judo
1985: I was now employed as Judo Instructor in Elective Studies
at Langley College, Slough, Berks.
1985: Appointed Senior Instructor at the British Judo Council National
Course at Bognor Regis.
1987: Appointed Senior Instructor at British Judo
Council Course, Woolacombe, Devon. This
same year I was awarded 5th dan and I
now decided to retire. I am still involved with the Windsor Judo
Club and follow with interest its progress. Sensei Bill Stopps