Judo champion, Londoner #344, Tomek

My name’s Tom, I’m 22 years old, I’ve being doing judo for about 19 years, and competed for about 10, and been professional for about 5. What made me come to London? I think it’s the opportunity to have a better life, and improve my situation as to where I was in Poland. Whenever I go abroad or anywhere else, after probably about 2-3 weeks I feel like I want to go back home, and by home I mean London. Well, Judo is obviously a sport, there’s Olympics and you can compete in various categories. The difference between other sports is, well, when people think fighting, they think of punching, striking and everything. Judo is completely the opposite, it’s the other sphere of martial arts, it’s grappling, ground work, it incorporates arm locks, chokes as well, so I think that’s the biggest difference. I was a national champion for Poland, I was in a national team for Poland, I once got the European Championship, and those are the things that I achieved. If we’re talking about the national sort of level, or European or even Olympics, you have to have talent, you have to work hard, and it’s years and years of hard work. To train, just to keep your fitness up, I think everyone can do it. I’ve seen there’s blind people doing Judo. I’ve seen people who can’t walk and do Judo. It’s a sport for everyone. Every competition there’s about 4-5 fights that you have depending on whether you win or lose. If we’re talking about how many fights I’ve had competitively, it’s probably hundreds, 600-700 fights. My best achievement is European Champion in Warsaw, Judo Open. Yes, and a couple of times national champion as well, but when it comes to how many won, I would probably say 95% I won. My best fight was at my first national. I went against a guy who was already known in Poland, and nobody knew who I was, and when I came to fight him everyone just expected him to win very quickly, because no one knew me, and I think I beat him in about 15 seconds, and he was the national champion at that time, so that was a big thing for me. I remember like all the people got up and they started clapping their hands as well, so it was pretty awesome. There’s nothing to stop you from doing it. Find your local club, go and google, whatever, and just go and do it.

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