PNGAA Library

Judo: Charles Betteridge

I write in reference to an article by Rod Noble on page 41 of Una Voce No.1, 2015, about Rothmans, reading in part:

two expat school girls handing out free cigarettes to locals in 1964

The Port Moresby Judo Club benefitted from Rothmans in November 1964, but in a much healthier way. The Port Moresby Judo Club was the very first sporting organisation to benefit from the Rothmans National Sports Foundation. It paid for two senior Judo players/instructors to travel to Port Moresby and teach advanced Judo and perform grading examinations of all members of the Judo Club.

The two very experienced Judo players/instructors were John Peters, 3rd Dan, Black Belt, from Sydney, and Yoshinoru Takeuchi 5th Dan, Black Belt, from Japan, who was also the world Judo champion at that time.

During their five full days with the club we were put through a very rigorous training schedule and I remember nearly felling Takeuchi during a contest with him. It was his very quick reaction that countered my throw that prevented him from falling down altogether. He was ‘stunned’ for a moment, and I was only an orange belt. I joined the Port Moresby Judo Club in January 1961 when it was barely a couple of weeks old and had only six members. Over the next few years it expanded dramatically and we ended up around 1967 with close to 100 junior and 70 senior members.

We practiced on Monday and Thursday evenings. By 1966 we had to move from the club room under the grandstand at the Boroko Rugby League grounds to St Joseph’s Hall in East Boroko which was much larger and we were able to expand our tatami mats for our Judo training.

By the late 1970s membership had fallen a lot as a lot of expat players left PNG to return to Australia and other moved to other parts of PNG. Many friendships that still exist today were made during those early years. The photos were taken in November 1964.