Wednesday, 5 December 2018
I want to quickly talk about the sport of judo. Judo was invented in 1882 by Jigoro Kano in Japan. It's a modern martial art. It's an Olympic sport and has been for many years, and will soon be a Commonwealth sport for good. I started judo when I was seven at the local Scout hall down the road from where I lived. It really had a big influence on my life. It taught me a lot of things. It taught me about keeping fit; it helped me to be competitive; and it helped me to look after myself. My coach at the time, who was a great woman—she was a fourth dan black belt herself—gave us all a set of rules that my parents hung up behind the toilet door, believe it or not. It was there for many years. One of the first rules was never to lie, even if it means punishment for telling the truth. That was the first rule. It also said to look after your body and treat it well. It spoke about cleanliness before you go onto the mat—washing your feet and so forth—respect for coaches and senseis and people in leadership. One of the other things it said was to always maintain an interest in judo even after you've finished competing. I got my shodan, I represented Queensland at national titles, and I still have a strong interest in it today.
I was down at Judo Australia, representing the sports minister at the national titles in my home state. I was at the official opening and watching the competitors there. We've got some great judokas who will represent Australia at the Olympic Games and at the next Commonwealth Games. There are also all the state bodies that do a great job. So I want to say to people: get into judo; get into martial arts. Judo, in particular, offers great self-defence for men, women, boys and girls. The fact that it is an Olympic sport and it teaches you about discipline is really important. In fact I landed my first job when I left school because I'd stuck at judo for 20 years. The guy that employed me said, 'If you can get your black belt, represent Queensland and stick at a sport for 20 years, then that's really important.'
So I say to those young people in my electorate that are thinking about a sport, perhaps look up where your local judo club is and get involved in the sport of judo. It is a great sport. For those judokas that are competing, they might like to apply to their federal member for a Local Sporting Champions grant. It's a grant where the federal government can help local athletes with a base grant of about $500 for sportspeople aged between 12 and 18 years if they have competed at a state, national or international championship. They can apply for that grant through their federal member.