Neil Adams MBE

Neil Adams

The national coach of the Welsh Judo Association and double Olympic silver medallist talks about the wider skills that judo can provide.

Raise Your Game: Why judo?


Neil Adams MBE

Neil was so fondly regarded in Japan that he was given the nickname 'Happo Bigin' meaning 'Everyone's friend.'


National coach, Welsh Judo Association.


  • Appointed MBE (1983)
  • Olympic Games - 2 silver medals (1980 & 1984)
  • Gold - Judo World Championships (1981)
  • Gold - 5 European Championships (1979-1985)
  • First British male ever to win a world judo title and the first British male to simultaneously hold a world title and European title.
  • Promoted to 8th dan at the age of 49 on September 20 2008.

Neil Adams: My father first introduced me to judo when I was seven years of age. It was really an introduction to all sports, not just judo. I chose judo because it was the sport that I excelled at.

RYG: What was it about judo that got you hooked?

NA: It was the whole ethos that comes with the martial arts. It teaches self-control as well as the specific skills that are unique to the sport. It's also a great physical contact sport which makes it good for conditioning and fitness.

The physical contact aspect of the sport and the fact that it is controlled by very strict rules means that it is a very safe fighting sport.

RYG: What are the wider skills that judo can teach?

NA: Judo is great for fitness but it also requires you to have self-discipline and focus. The philosophy of Dr Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, was that judo is not just a sport, it is an education for life. You practice your fighting within the dojo (a school for training in Japanese arts of self-defence) not outside of it.

RYG: What would be your advice for any young people looking to get involved in martial arts?

NA: It's so easy now, especially using the internet. Search for 'judo' and you will find a list of all the different judo clubs and organisations available in your area. Just get involved!

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