Down A Gate Community Centre
This is where the club was founded. John Barton approached the committee of the centre for a loan to buy some mats, which he paid off as the club became established.
In the club's early days the centre had a very active committee, and annual galas were held in the summer, often tied in with other attractions such as raft races along the River Eden to Wetheral, a fairground, and so on. The judo club often put on some type of display at these events.
Over the years, a few different mats areas were used, and in 2000 the club was awarded a Millennium Awards for All grant, and purchased modern judo mats.
The club remained at Down A Gate until the cente was flooded in January 2005. Any mats that were above the waterline were salvaged, and the club made a temporary move to Laversdale Village Hall.
Laversdale Village Hall
Mere months before the flood of 2005, two of the club senior members were interested in opening a second club in the Carlisle area, and so mats were purchased from a club at Nottingham, and transported to Laversdale Village hall for storage.
This meant that when Down A Gate was inundated, the club moved seamlessly to it's second home without missing a single night of training.
As the hall was considerably smaller than ideal for a dojo, our training shifted focus onto aspects of judo that Akinori Hosaka was teaching, such as kuzushi (breaking balance)and tai sabaki (evading your opponent's attack and using their movements to your own advantage)and while at Laversdale our judo was transformed. It proved to us that a large modern centre was nice, but unneccessary. All that was really required was a mat and people willing to learn. We also consoled ourselves with the fact that when Jigoro Kano first opened the Kodokan it only had a dozen or so tatami.
While we became settled, we could never stay at Laversdale for too long. Watanabe Kai regularly hosted area events, and Down A Gate's revamp wasn't ready in time for us, so we had to look for another venue.
Crosby On Eden Parish Hall
By sheer coincidence, the club moved here the week of it's twentieth anniversary, at the beginning of March 2006. An open night and demonstration was held, and our judo skills of kata and randori were shown off to an appreciative audience of locals.
Our brand new mats (delivered with hours to spare) were paid for with a couple of small grants from the Cumbria Community Foundation and the Hadfield Trust, some club savings, and a large amount was raised by the club's members through a sponsored championship while at Laversdale. This summer team championship has now become a regular fixture in our annual calendar.
The club has put down roots at Crosby On Eden, and in 2010 it welcomed 300 local school children to practise judo as part of their Japanese Week project.