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Iain Abernethy
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Alan Petherbridge (WCA Head of Budo) talks to Neil Adams

Alan Petherbridge (World Combat Association Head of Budo) talks to Neil Adams about the state of modern judo, coaching, honorary grades, and his career highlights. Well worth watching!

All the best,


Peter Consterdine 9th dan on  Alan Petherbridge

We are very pleased to announce that Alan Petherbridge MBE 10th Dan has accepted the position of Head of Budo within the Association. Alan has been the British Combat Association’s senior Coach for many years and it’s an honour to have Alan keeping an oversight on the Budo elements of the WCA. However, as you’ll see from Alan’s abridged CV below, his skills, and experiences are not limited solely to the martial arts arena, having had a very extensive career in the security industry, both from an operational and teaching perspective.

Alan Petherbridge 10th Dan  Budo,  9th Dan Judo

Alan began his Judo/Jujitsu career when serving with the British Army at Spandau Barracks in 1945, subsequently joining Swansea Judo Socirty in 1949, as well as the famous Budokwai in London in 1950, when it was based in Lower Grosvenor Place.

In 1953 Alan represented Wales in the Home International, becoming Captain of the Swansea Judo Society, winning the Baron Matsui Challenge Cup, the first time we think that the Budokwai had lost it. Alan holds the distinction of being the first person to obtain a 1st Dan Judo in Wales, which in fact was the first dan grade in Wales in any martial art.

After winning the Goldberg Vass Memorial Trophy at the Royal Albert Hall in 1955, Alan was chosen to represent Britain in the European Championships in Austria in 1956, but with the events in Hungary causing the meet to be cancelled. He went on, though, as a member of the British team to win the European Championships in 1957/8/9 – the first country to achieve this feat.

In 1961 Alan was on the British team to compete in the 1961 World Championships in Paris and also chose, at this event, to represent Europe in the Intercontinental World Championships in which Europe won Gold. Alan went on to secure four European Championship Gold, two Silver and one Bronze medals, and was both a team member and Captain in numerous internationals during this period.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics saw Alan attend as Captain of the British Judo team and although he retired from personal competition in 1956 due to injury he was appointed the first official British  Judo Team Manager, and Chairman of the Technical Board of the British Judo Association (BJA) as well as being Britain’s representative to the European Judo Union (EJU). Within the BJA Alan was appointed the Senior Examiner’s Examiner and the Senior Coaching Awards Examiner’s Examiner.

Alan also holds the distinction of founding the Welsh Judo Association, becoming the Welsh and British National Coach. He was also Honorary National Coach to the British Police Judo PSUK.

In 1977 (Queen’s Silver Jubilee) Alan received the Queen’s award for services to Judo.

On a commercial front, Alan, together with his daughter Sharron has run one of the countries most successful training delivery consultancies, specialising in conflict management, with particular emphasis on the UK Health Services. Developing the practical aspects of martial arts has been Alan’s passion translating both through his professional career and his teaching of Judo and Jujitsu. 

Jon Jepson
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Hi all .

What a great informed interview . Alan , and for that matter Neil , have a very good understanding not only of Judo , but of the whole martial arts world , great comments on the grading system and the Dan grades in particular . I agree that grades should be worked for , ive been on gradings where the examiner wasnt even watching the grading students performance ! .

Alan`s (paraphrased) suggestion of returning to the old values of having a instructor who has earned rather than been gifted there grading has validity , as Iain (i think) said , It does`nt make you any better however many stripes you have .

One last thing , im not sure about Alans favorite moment in his Judo career :-) .