My Fathers Judo club was called ” The Balbirnie Judo club ” a cold, cold place in the winter, as this place was far too expensive to heat up, as it was a old big building.
My first competition was the Fife Championships, both me and my brother won Gold in our weight categories and for the next couple of years, we won gold again.
The next big competition was the Scottish Championships- both me and my brother were in the same weight category, but unfortunately I won bronze on that day and my brother took the gold medal
Twice we entered the “Meadowbank Open” competition open for the rest of Europe, and on both occasions, myself and my brother won a bronze medal.
Judo was my life and I wanted to be the best and get into the Olympics
Then I saw in a Judo magazine a competition down in England, ” The English Open ” I wanted to go down there and compete, so I saved up all my pocket money- well all my milk money, as I was working as a milk boy – sent in my entrance fee and travelled down by train all by myself to London.
I think I was only 15 years of age, so this was a huge adventure for me, travelling all alone with my new Adidas duffel bag, not knowing what what a head of me.
I booked myself into a Bed & Breakfast the night before the competition, didn’t sleep at all that night- could have done with a wee whisky, but I wasn’t drinking at that age- but before I knew it, it was morning and time to eat a small breakfast and head down to the advent.
I can not remember how many fights I had, but I got into the final and I was facing a good fighter from England and he had all his club supporters with him- cheering him on and I think there were a few people there wanting me to win.
Anyway, this is one fight that I gave it all and the fight went right to the end & in my heart I knew I had done enough to win this- but Nope !!! English referee and English linemen- gave it to the Englishman – so a Silver medal in the English Open it was & back on the train with my trophy and back home to Scotland- still proud.
A couple of months later, I received a letter from the English Judo Association, asking me if I was interested in taking part in The English Select V East Germany & of course I accepted their invitation and went back down to London along with my Brother Robert, and we both competed in this advent.
Then came my first Television appearance on the BBC Sportstown, representing Glenrothes in the Semi-final against Easton ( England ), I won my fight and Glenrothes cruised to the final to meet Bridgend down in Wales.
The guy I was fighting was much bigger than me- but I fought well and the judges gave my fight a draw.
I was probably one of the best Judo fighters at my age and I was only going to improve and win more titles, but in the back of my head, I was wanting to become a pop star.
So I took a break away from Judo and started a band with my brother – you can read more about that episode on my web site.
I think leaving the Judo mat has always haunted me- as I could have went pretty far with this sport- but I followed my heart and spend around 12 years playing in a band.
I remember taking on the instructors and beating them in front of their students, with all those years away from the mat, I hadn’t lost my skill, but the drive and ambition wasn’t there with me anymore – so I kept a hold of those memories & the medals and I could only dream, what I could have achieved.
Judo will always be the best sport I have ever had the pleasure to take part in- I just wish I had never left the Judo – as I could have went to the Olympics and ran my own club and gained so may blackbelts – but I can not look back and say ” I wish I did this ” – know what I mean ?
Plus there were so many more challenges ahead of me and many more doors I will open – doors that will lead me to many more achievements and the love of my life.