Global Gypsy Confession-Island

More judo battles

Dr. Chandana (Candi) Jayawaldena D Phil
President – ​​Chandi J. Associates Inc. Consulting, Canada
Founder and Administrator – Global Hospitality Forum

… Continuing from last week’s column: “Battle of Indian Judo”.

When I traveled to India as a member of Sri Lanka’s national judo team in 1982, I enjoyed various experiences of train travel and fun interactions in Madras, Sonipat, Ghaziabad and Delhi. After the main tournament in Ghaziabad, the first national judo team with 10 members in Sri Lanka assumed that the combat part of the trip was over. Before returning home, I was happy to plan a few days of sightseeing in Delhi and its suburbs.

A simple connection between Taj and Oberoi

In 1982, the largest hotel in Sri Lanka was managed by the Indian company Oberoi. The Taj Hotel, owned by Tata Group, India’s largest conglomerate, was building a five-star hotel in Colombo. After the judo tournament in Ghaziabad, I planned to visit the famous Taj Palace Hotel, Oberoi in New Delhi, and the Oberoi Hotel Management School. Unfortunately, as the team’s travel plans were changed at the last minute, I didn’t have the opportunity to see these iconic hotels managed by two of the most famous Indian hotel companies.

Later on, I worked for both of these Indian hotel companies. From 1983 to 1985, I worked part-time at two Taj hotels in London. The Bailey’s Hotel and Bombay Brasserie were ranked as the best Indian restaurants in the UK when they opened in 1982. In London.

In 1989, I was hired as Food & Beverage Manager at Hotel Babylon Oberoi in Iraq. From that standpoint, I made my second trip to India. I managed 10 eateries in the center of Baghdad. My team of Indian managers and chefs also opened and operated an Indian restaurant. Most of my restaurant management team was a graduate of The Oberoi Hotel Management School. My experience in India on a 1982 judo trip gave me a good understanding of Indian culture. It was beneficial to me when I was working at Taj and Oberoi.

Additional battles and fun in Hyderabad

Shortly after the tournament in Ghaziabad, the Hyderabad Judo Association invited us to a special judo tournament at the regional Army Council. When the team manager asked, “How long does it take from Delhi to Hyderabad?”, The Indian judoka who started the additional tournament said, “It’s very close to 26 hours by train!” After a brief chat between our teams, we decided to go to Hyderabad to compete and accept invitations to explore.

I was disappointed to hear from a railroad cashier who looked angry at the station in Delhi that the next train to Hyderabad was full. Our new Indian friend from Hyderabad told Upari: Talk to this angry cashier and solve this problem amicably. After a brief chat with the cashier, he returned with 11 train tickets with his seat number confirmed. I was surprised and happy. “How did you do it? Upari asked.” Only a small bribe of 15 rupees! “Our friend said. As we entered our compartment on the train, the cashier now said with a big smile, “Enjoy your trip!”

The train ride was in many ways similar to the 52-hour previous marathon train ride from Madras to New Delhi. We passed through beautiful, lush mountainous areas, mostly between hot and dry areas. Hyderabad is a unique city. It is the capital and largest city of Telangana, India, and the capital of Andhra Pradesh. It occupies a large area of ​​the Deccan Plateau along the banks of the Musi River in the upper part of South India.

Most of Hyderabad is located in the hills around the artificial lake. Hyderabad is the sixth most populous city in India. In 1982 it had a population of over 3 million (it grew to over 10 million in 2022). We were housed in a military camp in Hyderabad. They held a good judo tournament. Due to an injury, team manager Upari Sahabandu decided to fight in the team category. He fought hard in a long match, and our host was impressed. At the award ceremony, Upari was awarded a special prize for his fighting spirit! We were all lined up to receive medals. After that, a tea ceremony was held by an excellent team from a nearby estate.

I also loved Hyderabad food. Since the conquest of the Mughal Empire in the 1630s, the Mughlai tradition has merged with local traditions to create a unique Hyderabadi dish. This included a very popular Biryani dish in Sri Lanka. The day after the judo tournament, when I went on a sightseeing tour, I attended another ceremony. It was a sari buying ceremony in the city. Some members of our team wanted to buy sari for their mothers, sisters and wives. Upari and some of the team showed expertise in Sally, but most of us were tired of shopping.

Tiruchirappalli, final destination in India

After taking a longer train (more than 21 hours), I arrived at the last station, Tiruchirappalli (also known as Tricy). This is an ancient city in Tamil Nadu, southern India. In 1982, it was a relatively small city with a population of 600,000 (doubled in 2022). It is known for its sacred Hindu ruins, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple with its intricately carved gopuram, and the Jambu Keswalal-Achillandeswari Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

At Trichy, I visited several historic sites. Most striking was the Tiruchirappallilock Fort, which rises in the city centre. It is a complex of historic fortresses and temples built on ancient rocks. The name “Rock Fort” comes from the frequent military fortresses built there by Indian kings and later by British colonists for centuries. The oldest building in the fort is the ancient cave temple.

After a short flight from Tricy to Colombo, we arrived at Katunayake International Airport to receive the hero’s welcome in the wreath. The two weeks we spent in India in 1982 as the first tournament tour in another country by the Sri Lankan judo national team were truly impressive.

Member of the first national judo team 40 years later

Recently, when I looked up where they were now, I was saddened to find out that three members of the Sri Lanka national judo team died in 1982. It’s nice to notice that the four members of the team are still very active in judo sports. The four members of the team also served as president of the Sri Lankan Judo Association.

= Upali Sahabandu (Team Manager) – Fifth Dan Black Belt. He died in active duty as a deputy inspector of the Sri Lankan police.

= Kithsiri De Zoysa (Captain) – Currently the 4th Dan Black Belt. President of the Jiu-Jitsu Federation Sri Lanka. A major referee for various martial arts sports.

= Raja Fernando – Currently the sixth Dan red and white belt, and the highest ranked Sri Lankan judoka. Teaching Swedish judo.

= Hemakumar Jinadasa – Currently the 5th Dan Black Belt and the highest ranked judoka in Sri Lanka. He teaches judo at Colombo YMCA and many other judo clubs.

= WK Godwin – Now the 4th Dan Black Belt. Although he retired as an assistant superintendent, he is the head of the judo department of the Sri Lankan police.

= Gamini Nanayakkara – The fifth Dan black belt. He died in active duty as Lieutenant Colonel of the Sri Lanka Army.

= Gamini Rupasinghe – Currently the third Dan Black Belt. I live in Australia.

= K. Navarathnam – Currently the third Dan Black Belt.

= DH Ranjith – Now the second Dan Black Belt.

= MFM Izamudeen – Now the second Dan Black Belt.

= TB Koswatte – 1st Dan Black Belt. died.

= Chandana Jayawaldena – Retired from Judo in 1983 and focused on a global career in the hospitality industry as the 1st Kyu Brown Belt.

Further success with judo mats

When I returned to Sri Lanka, I focused on passing the judo grade test. Usually, judoka faced one promotion test at a time. In my case, 10 years have passed since the last grade promotion test, so I was able to take three grade tests one day in 1983. It was an advantage to represent Sri Lanka. Received the first brown belt cue. Based on the syllabus created by the Japanese Kodokan, the first judoka had to master 45 different aspects such as hand throwing, hip throwing, foot throwing, hold, rock and chalk. The hardest part was learning all 45 Japanese terms (covered by 5 grade promotion tests).

After that, my goal was to face the first black belt grading test as soon as possible. Since I moved to the UK in 1983, I put that goal in the backburner for my graduate studies in international hotel management. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the time to face the judo grade test. In the late 1980s, when I worked in Colombo for three years as Food & Beverage Director at a five-star hotel in Le Méridien, I could only occasionally find time to practice sessions at Colombo YMCA.

My last judo battle in 1993

One of the songs I wrote in Bangaram, India in 1993, “Fitness Fever,” was very popular. I was able to arrange the top 20 Western musicians in Sri Lanka to sing this song. It surpassed the island pop chart for 3 weeks. Encouraged by the success of the song, I decided to direct a music video for it. It was taken at the Ramadar Renaissance Hotel in Colombo. This video includes a judo battle scene. I was one of several take fighters in the judo fighting scene. That was my last judo battle.

After that, there was no more judo fight. However, I practiced karate for a short time in Jamaica in the mid-1990s. My purpose at that time was to motivate my eldest son, Marlon, who started karate at the age of 10. I was very proud of Marlon when he won the Karate Black Belt in Sri Lanka when he was 15 years old.

A tribute to Ceylon / Sri Lankan judo pioneers

To conclude the series of three articles on judo, I would like to pay tribute to the judo pioneers introduced to Ceylon around 1953. Founder and Chairman of the Amateur Judo Association of Ceylon in 1953. He held that position for 19 years. After studying at three of the best universities in the world (Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard), he became director of the Ceylon National Museum. He was passionate about judo.

Until the mid-1960s, Ceylon did not have a formal judo rating system. When I started judo in 1970, in addition to PEP Deraniyagara, Ceylon had three other sports leaders. They were Lincoln Wijesinge (the first Ceylon to win a judo black belt from the Kodokan in Japan), Master Malcolm Attapatu (YMCA Judo Instructor), and Master MN Tenakuon (YMBA Judo Instructor). Because of their commitment to judo and diligence, the Japanese Kodokan chose Ceylon as a potentially good destination for sports.

These pioneers have developed a strategy to promote judo at schools and carnivals with the help of young judoka such as Peter Dalmaratne, Nihar Guneratone and Ashoka Jayawaldana. Japanese judo teachers stationed in Sri Lanka – Dr. Yoda and Dr. Sato helped set high standards for judo in Sri Lanka. Leadership of Ceylon’s Amateur Judo Association (renamed Sri Lankan Judo Association in 1974) Over the first 50 years, he has a diverse background including zoologists, supreme judoka, two senior police officers, senior army officers, and hotel owners. Provided by 9 judoka with.

I was fortunate to join the national judo team in Sri Lanka in 1982. At that time, there were only about 150 judoka members in only eight judo clubs in the country. Those clubs were Colombo YMBA, Colombo YMCA, Dehiwala YMBA, Dehiwala YMCA Gampora Judo Club, Army, Navy and Police. In that sense, the growth of judo in Sri Lanka over the last 40 years has been astounding.

Today, about 70 judo clubs in Sri Lanka have about 15,000 judoka (one-third of this in the Army). Currently, Sri Lanka has about 300 Kodokan black belts and 70 locally graded black belts. Growing 100 times within 40 years is a great success story for any sport. I am proud of the amazing dedication and love of this sport of my former judo colleagues. Great! Global Gypsy Confession-Island

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