Get to know the coaches: Brayden Quinn

With numerous coaches on the mat weekly it can be overwhelming when you experience a session with another coach. To make everyone feel as welcome as possible, we are deep-diving into the background of our coaches in this blog series.

Get to know your coaches and their Judo journey, maybe you’ll find inspiration for your judo prospects. Maybe you’ll find out something you never knew before!

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Main - Brayden Quinn Coach

Get to know Brayden

“Hey, I’m Brayden and I’m a 2nd Dan black belt, I coach the Tuesday competitive junior sessions and sometimes the senior sessions throughout the week. My coaching style is competitive and fitness-focused, I aim to get your heart rate working and to get you leaving the mat sweating. I would say my classes are quite upbeat, I try to find a blend of fun and focus meaning judokas get a buzz off working hard which at the end of the day is what it’s all about. I joined the club when we started it and have helped hundreds of judokas win medals, learn new techniques, and keep fit.”

What are some of your Judo achievements?

Good starting question, what are my achievements? I’ve got a huge bag of medals in my parent’s attic, I think we counted nearly 200 medals over four years – that’s a lot of metal. I also medalled in numerous national level competitions that were pretty big for me as I think you realise how much hard work is needed to keep progressing in Judo, it’s not success overnight, and unlike team sports it’s all on you so I think you get underlying skill progression of problem-solving and stress management.

After the three solid years of training, I did with the regular national competitions and international events, etc. I managed to top the seeding charts in the UK which was pretty big for me. I had to beat some people who definitely didn’t want to be beaten and never miss training – ever. More recently though, I’ve just achieved my 2nd Dan Black Belt grade which is great and I’ve been taking some inclusivity courses to broaden my coaching knowledge. Oh and of course, I was voted ‘Best Coach’ of the year by our judokas, I never forget the things our kids do for us they make coaching easy.

Get to know brayden

What got you into Judo?

Good starting question, what are my achievements? I’ve got a huge bag of medals in my parent’s attic, I think we counted nearly 200 medals over four years – that’s a lot of metal. I also medalled in numerous national level competitions that were pretty big for me as I think you realise how much hard work is needed to keep progressing in Judo, it’s not success overnight, and unlike team sports it’s all on you so I think you get underlying skill progression of problem-solving and stress management.

What was your first club?

My first club was the old Dartford Judo Club next to Dartford Park. I remember that club vividly in my memory, always smelt of sweat from the moment you walked in the door. The roof looked as though it had seen better days and it could collapse any minute. As I’ve been told countless times, this was Dartford Judo’s high point and the place to train back in the day. When it moved over to the current venue it just wasn’t quite the same – didn’t quite hold that magic anymore. It was then that my dad David Quinn and a few other club friends including Chris Ronayne decided it was time to move on – this was when our club was born!

How long have you been doing Judo?

I honestly don’t know, like I stated previously I think my first competition was at 8 years old. So what’s that now, 18 years give or take? Although I’ve been doing Judo for so long I think it’s important to realise you never master it, like I’m a black belt but still consider myself a student of the sport. There are always things to be learned, whether that’s new Japanese terminology or an immersing throw from the latest Grand Slam competition. Of course, there are techniques I’m good at, but would I say I’ve mastered them? Not yet – but I’ll get there.

What's your favourite thing about Judo?

My favourite thing about Judo is the release it gives you. You could be having a terrible day, maybe nothing has been going your way but when you get to Judo all that doesn’t matter. You’re there to beat up people or be beaten up by people in a safe environment for everyone – there’s no in-between. I think a close second to that would be the friendships and connections, you meet so many people! People with huge backstories of their own, it’s truly fantastic connecting and understanding their Judo journey.

Brayden in the newspaper

What's your best Judo memory?

The best Judo memory for me was during my regular competing years. It was the British National Championships, which at the time was the biggest competition on my agenda as it was what everyone in my weight group was aiming for – to medal there was the goal and if you didn’t then you need to train more. Anyway! It was the day of the competition and before my group got called I was getting changed when a young guy about the same build walked in and said he knows me from previous competitions. He continues to preach endlessly about the times he has beat me in the past and what he had for breakfast that morning – you know usual things. Long story short I end up getting this guy in a medal fight. Maybe it was the intense screamo music I had playing in my headphones who knows, but I got on the mat ready to send him back to school and threw him within thirty seconds with a drop-seonagi – one of those drops that stop mid-throw then snap, the opponent goes flying kind of thing. The pure joy rush that filled me was truly one of a kind and I literally ran back to the starting position to collect the win, I looked over at my dad coaching in the chair and he was ecstatic practically jumping with joy himself after filling him in with the changing room antics.

This memory isn’t just good because I won, not even because it was against a cockey competitor. This memory is great because I realise something about myself. Although I had won and couldn’t focus on anything but the win, I noticed the player had started to cry in disappointment with himself – it was that split moment I knew, I’d been in that position before. I’ve felt like a disappointment as if all the training was for nothing and it’s not nice at all. I went back over to the guy, picked him up off the floor, and gave him a huge hug told him it was okay and we all know that Judo can go either way – today just wasn’t his day.

I think I look back at this memory and remember it so picture perfectly because my emotions were running higher than ever before, I’d achieved everything I was aiming for at the time and dealt with competitors trying to psyche me out. But also, I didn’t become the cockey competitor – I looked at it from his perspective and I’m proud of that, maybe even more so than the medal.

Brayden in action at competition
Brayden on rostrum
Two medals in two days Brayden
Brayden at Round Table Event

What countries has Judo taken you to?

By this point, I don’t even know but I’ll try to list them, I’ve probably missed some off; England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, USA, Hungary, Croatia, and Spain.

Who is your favourite Judo player or icon?

This is quite a tough question as I’ve met so many icons for myself either through competing or coaching. I’ll have to list some of them; Georgia Zantaraia, Kōsei Inoue, Ilias Iliadis, Hayley Willis, Joe Ingram, Ben Quilter, Michael Fryer, and countless more.

Coach wise I’ve had so many coaches it’s absurd. Club coaches that got me to top performance deserve credit though; David Quinn, Rob New, and Dave Dunsford.

What is your favourite Judo throw?

My favourite throw, not necessarily because I do it or not but Ochi Mata. It looks phenomenal, absolutely beautiful throw.

What is your one Judo wish?

No more politics… oh and leg grabs again!

Get to know brayden

Final comments?

I am running for ‘Best Coach’ of the year, every vote counts – I know I can count on yours. And like I say I run the Tuesday class for juniors who want that little bit more. Would be good to see you there!