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Vale - Rodney Cox. Judoka, Coach, Mentor and friend.

It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Rodney Cox, a beloved member of our judo family. Rodney's dedication, passion, and profound contributions to the sport of judo have left an indelible mark on our community.

As the Chair of Judo Australia, I extend our deepest condolences to Rodney's nephew Alan, his family, friends, club members, and all those who had the privilege of knowing him. Rodney's commitment to judo was exemplary, and his loss will be keenly felt by all who had the pleasure of his company both on and off the tatami.

During this difficult time, let us come together to honor Rodney's memory and celebrate the positive impact he had on our sport. His legacy will continue to inspire and guide us as we navigate the future of judo in Australia.

Please join me in offering our heartfelt sympathies to Rodney's loved ones and club members. May they find comfort in knowing that his spirit will forever live on in the judo community that he cherished so deeply.

Simon Read

Chair - Judo Australia

Rodney Cox: 60 years of “Just doing Judo”.

A tribute penned by Michelle Mathews.

Rod’s judo story commences at about the age of 12 when his grandfather gave him a book about Judo (A Textbook of Ju-jutsu as Practiced in Japan by S K Uyenishi). He was sold on Judo from then on. He tried to find a local Judo club, but the nearest one did not seem interested in juniors, so he was forced to practice by himself under his grandfather’s eye until he was able to join the Monash University Judo Club under Ray McMahon and Chang-yong Kim, where he fought intervarsity (half blue), and at the same time with the State JFA (JA) Judo Association. After Monash, Rod joined the Balwyn Judo Club under Dismas (Jimmy) Seitel. He joined Barry Thompson instructing the junior classes and Robert Burton instructing self-defense classes.

In 1968, Rod ran holiday judo courses at the Hawthorn Youth Club and subsequently started permanent classes there as the Hawthorn Judo Club which is now run by his student, Michelle Matthews.

In 1970, Rod was the club delegate to the State Judo Annual General Meeting. He left with a large headache, convinced that Judo people had no idea about running meetings. This caused him to study proper procedures and stand for the State Committee where he eventually became a Vice President and chair of the Referee Commission.

His favorite techniques – started with foot sweeps and sacrifices but developed a good uchi-mata which slowly morphed to harai-goshi and the development of his own throw, the o-harai. As his knees got bad this changed to hane-goshi to uke’s rear corner. His main love was ne-waza, in particular shime-waza.

Rod started his interest in Kata as a yonkyu (4th class) and attended courses with Keiko Fukuda and Donn Draeger, also receiving personal instruction from Andrew Fleming shichidan, OAM. This led in later years to him entering, with club member Ian Gillies, many national and international Kata championships including World Championships run by the World Masters Judo Association which preceded the IJF’s Kata championships. He attained his IJF Judge licence at the IJF World Kata Cup in Paris in 2008, judging at the first World Kata Judo Championships in Valetta, Malta in 2009.

A major boost to his refereeing came from Mr. Shoichi Shimizu (IJF Referee Commission – Japan) and Jaap (Jacobus) Nauwelaerts de Agé (foundation member of IJF Referee Commission and now 10th dan) when they came to Australia to train referees in correct refereeing procedures, and he modeled his refereeing on their example. After refereeing at National, Oceania, Pacific Rim etc events he achieved an IJF “A” licence.

The hardest period was just after he obtained his sandan, when it became obvious that the then State Body was unsustainable and he joined Dr Ern Knoop and Arthur Moorshead OAM in complaining to the JFA (JA), and after the old State Body was disenfranchised, setting up the body now known as Judo Victoria. To ensure that the new body was democratic and transparent he wrote the constitution (by hand in one afternoon), the form of which is still used today.

During this period Rod maintained a schedule of training, coaching, refereeing at tournaments at all levels, State, National, Oceania and IJF, and set up, for Victoria, one of the first State Judo websites. He held the position of State Secretary from 1982 (foundation) to 1999 and again from 2013 to 2019.

He held national positions as JFA(JA) record secretary (taking and preparing minutes for all JFA(JA) Annual Congresses and Presidential Boards), member of the National Referee Commission (one of the longest holders), Constitution Sub-committee, Judicial and appeals sub-committee and Junior grading requirements sub-committee.

He was also Oceania assistant secretary and member of the Oceania referee commission. He was a Kata Judge of all Kata at the first Oceania Kata Championship and attended the first IJF World Kata Cup and IJF World Championships as a Judge.

His large amount of Committee experience led to him representing Judo Victoria and Judo Australia at the Victorian Administrative Appeals Tribunal over a complaint about Dan gradings and subsequently appearing successfully to have the National Grading Requirements excluded from the provisions of the Victorian antidiscrimination rules.

Rod still served as a member of the National Kata Committee and the State Kata Commission (he wrote both the State and National Kata Sporting Codes – on which the Oceania Sporting Kata Sporting Code is modelled) where he regularly joined the instructing team for day-long seminars in addition to refereeing State Tournaments and coaching about 12 hours per week at 3 dojos.

Some other Judo career highlights:

Co-founder of Judo Victoria

Australian Olympic Team Manager - LA Olympics 1984

Olympic Section Manager

Olympic Referee and Technical Advisor

World Championship Kata judge - 5 Kata's

Victorian Olympic Council Sports Official of the Year Award

Coaching Michelle Mathews to Rokudan


Monday 20th May, 2024 1.30pm

Joyce Chapel

Fawkner Memorial Park

1187 Sydney Road, Hadfield, Victoria.

A virtual condolence book can be for the family signed HERE


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