On the afternoon of Saturday 10th November, Maurice Puechel, a member of the German national judo team and a serious contender to represent Germany at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, held Judo Master Classes at Ware’s Wodson Park Judo Club (run by Tanigawa Martial Arts). Maurice was helped by his sister Fabienne (who also represents Germany) and his mother Nicole. All are judo “black belts”, of course.
The event comprised a class for Under 13s (the youngest was only 5 years old) followed by a class for teenagers/adults. Members of other judo clubs were also able to take part in the training, which started with exercises and (for the younger group) games to warm up for the actual training. Maurice gave instruction in various throwing and groundwork techniques, demonstrating on both his sister and mother.
Each attendee was awarded a certificate signed by Maurice and at the end of the sessions, as they came off the mat, it was clear that they had had a very good workout!
The Mayor of Ware, Councillor David Oldridge, came along and agreed to be thrown by Maurice, whilst wearing his mayoral chain!
The event was organised by Ware Town Twinning Association (WTTA) to bring the judo clubs of Ware and its twin town Wuelfrath (Germany) together, with the hope of stimulating exchange visits between the two clubs. Nicole Puechel is the president of Wuelfrath’s sports club, whose Director of Judo, Roland Thoemmes, also took part in the visit to Ware, where they made contact with Mandie Price, the leader of Wodson Park Judo Club. Mandie is keen to set up exchange visits with Wuelfrath’s sports club.
In the evening, the German party was able to try authentic fish and chips with British ale in the Punch House pub, along with members of the Ware Park Judo Club and Ware Town Twinning Association.
Barry Parkin of WTTA, who had a leading role in arranging the visit, believes it is especially important in the current political climate that we do all that we can to encourage our young people to have contact with youngsters in other countries, with a view to understanding each other better.
Barry points out that Ware Town Twinning Association is a community association run entirely by volunteers. Whilst it is supported by Ware Town Council, the association receives no money whatsoever from public funds. The majority of WTTA’s funds, which are used to support twinning events between Ware and its twin towns of Wuelfrath and Cormeilles-en-Parisis, are provided by Ware’s participation in the Wuelfrath Christmas market each year.
Wodson Park Judo Club: 01327 706287, 07531 256461
Ware Town Twinning Association: 01920-420881