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Chairman and head coach Pete Salter is a big part of Dowty Judo Club success story

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 09:00

Dowty Judo Club has about 50 members across juniors and seniors Dowty Judo Club has about 50 members across juniors and seniors

Dowty Judo Club has a long and proud history.

It’s one that stretches back some 50 years or so but while the club has plenty to look back on with pride it also has plenty to look forward to as well.

And one of the club’s constant themes – certainly for well over 40 years – has been Pete Salter, who is Dowty’s chairman and head coach.

The now 75-year-old was also recently awarded his 6th Dan, the only judo player in Gloucestershire to achieve this status.

“I joined the club in the early 1970s and became chairman in 1981,” said Salter, who has been chairman of Gloucestershire Judo for close on 40 years as well.

“I learned my judo at Cheltenham YMCA, I was there about 10 years after starting when I was 18 in 1962.”

And judo has been a huge part of his and his family’s life ever since – his wife Chris is treasurer and secretary of Dowty Judo Club and treasurer of Gloucestershire Judo.

So why has judo been so special for Salter?

“It’s a very disciplined sport,” he explained. “It teaches you self-discipline and confidence.

“We’ve had loads of youngsters who won’t look at you and won’t talk to you when they first join, but judo brings it out of them.

“It develops your self-confidence because it’s just you versus the other guy – it’s individual, there is no team to support you.

“It’s a sport that when you start it’s a sport for life, I’m living proof of that.”

Gloucester-born Salter no longer competes these days – “I’m a bit old for that now,” he chuckled – but there are plenty of players of all ages at the club who do.

“We’ve got about 50 members across juniors and seniors which is a good number,” said Salter, who lives in Hucclecote. “Whichever way you look at it, judo is a minority sport, especially in this country, but it is a good sport.

“Three of our seniors – Chris Andrews, Dean Douglas and Martyn Davis – have just come back from competing at a Masters event at the British Judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall.

“All three started as juniors and many years later they are still doing it. We’ve got members who started at the age of 10, 11, 12, got married and now their children are at the club.

“It’s part of our culture, it’s part of our continuity.”

The club, which is based at Dowty Sports and Social Club in Staverton, was originally located in part of the Staverton Cricket Club pavilion before it re-located to the main Dowty clubhouse.

The year 1981 was a hugely significant one in the history of the club because that was when the club moved into its own purpose-built dojo with a permanent mat area.

And what makes the dojo – a room or hall in which judo and other martial arts are practised – so special to the club is the fact that it was entirely a self-help project undertaken by judo club members.

And the club has certainly gone from strength to strength over the years and enjoys an excellent reputation within the judo world both at area and national level, producing players who have been consistently successful at junior, senior and veterans level, including national junior and schoolboy champions, national police champions, along with West of England champions at both junior and senior level.

And that’s not all because the club has also produced some 78 Dan grades at various levels, while in 2007 the club was awarded the Sport England Club Mark Bronze award, which it revalidates every three years.

The club has three level 3 coaches – Salter, Dean Douglas and Don Quinn; three level 2 coaches – Dave Williams, Bryan Butler and Gary Foley; and three level 1 coaches – Mike Woodham, Maria Ritchie and Ben Rudman.

The club is proud of the fact that it is all inclusive and caters for junior and senior players for both the competitively minded and recreational player. For more information, call 01452 610401.

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