International Judo Referee & Karate Blackbelt holder – J R Rajesh is a multi-faceted personality. He has ruled the court in all the 3 forms of the game as a Player, Coach and Referee. Fan9 catches up with this accomplished personality, who is the only South Indian to bag the coveted title of International Referee in Judo. He is also the only Keralite To Hold a 4th Degree Black Belt. Listen to this 10-time Kerala State Judo Champion.
Q: As a player, coach & referee, your track record is inspiring. Tell us how did you begin your envious career as a sportsperson?
Ans: I have been interested in bodybuilding, since I was young, So, one day I saw a demo of Judo from an Engineer of Hitachi company who came from Japan. I fell in love with the game, when I came to know that the speciality of Judo is using your Opponent’s strength against him. Then I started training in Judo. Later, I also completed Diploma in Coaching in 1995.
Q: Judo is a tough game for a beginner. What were your struggles in your early career?
Ans: I had to face so many challenges to establish myself in the game. I came from a small village, in the 80’s, people used to look down on sports especially martial arts. They couldn’t even think of someone choosing a career in sports. Parents were afraid that their child may get into trouble if he learns martial arts. For me, these were the main challenges, but slowly they vanished after my photos appeared in the newspapers. Yet, lack of good Infrastructures and training grounds were a big concern in those days.
Q: Apart from a career, how Judo has influenced your personal life?
Ans: Like every martial arts, Judo requires a self-disciplined life, and it became my way of life.
Q: It is said, martial arts can help in anger management issues. What is your take on it?
Ans: Martial arts have a set of ground rules, and are always performed on a mat or ring. They shouldn’t be used for street fights. If you do any martial arts moves or stunts on a street fight, it will cause serious injuries to players. Every player knows this fact, so he tries how to avoid such fights in life. So, in my opinion, martial art performers have more anger control than others.
Q: Can you share the best moments in your Career?
Ans: I have donned various roles as a player, trainer, and referee. In all these 3 roles, I had many memorable moments. But a dream come true moment happened in my career, when I visited the Mecca of Judo, Kodokan in Japan in 1995. I got a chance to get trained in the school founded by Kano Jigoro, founder of Judo, under many world champions. It was a dream for every Judo Player.
Q: You performed all three roles – as a player, then Trainer and then Referee, which role suits you the most?
Ans: Different roles have different motives & aims but the common thing what matters is the spirit of Judo. For a player, his major concern is to win the match at any cost. For a coach, career of his students matters the most, but a referee requires more mental and emotional health. A wrong decision could ruin the life and career of a player. A Judo referee’s role is more challenging – requires more anticipation as unnecessary stopping of a move could affect the tempo of the game, so it requires more focus and patience. Anyway now, I am more comfortable with being a Referee.
Q: What is your biggest dream?
Ans:My biggest ambition is to become an Olympics Referee.
Q: Lastly, what’s your say on TV Shows like WWE, TNA? Who is your Favourite Superstar in WWE?
Ans: These are purely Entertainment Shows with stunts from various martial arts forms including Judo.
The execution and performance are great. Earlier, I used to like Hulk Hogan. Now Undertaker is my favourite.