Spitfire Judo and Sambo Club in Hawkinge

Spitfire Judo and Sambo Club is a locally run club based in Folkestone, Hawkinge and Capel-le-Ferne.


CommunityAd Exclusive - Spitfire Judo and Sambo Club in HawkingeThe club aims to make each session as fun and practical as possible, instilling confidence and respect in its students. Students can grade, enter competitions or just come along to keep fit, gain confidence and have fun.

Ryan Sylvester is a 2nd Dan and Instructor at Spitfire Judo and Sambo Club and we had the pleasure of stepping on the mat with him to find out more about this fantastic club.


For readers who might not know, can you explain your first steps and background in Judo and Sambo?

I started Judo when I was very young around 8 and stopped when I was 13.

I then returned to Judo after quite an absence around 16 years ago. I joined Spitfire Judo Club and was introduced to Sambo. I started competing very soon after gaining a Bronze medal in my first British Sambo Championship and competing in local Judo competitions, medalling in most of the competitions I entered.

After gaining my brown belt with the IBF, I started helping train kids sessions and, before I knew it, had gained my 1st Dan (Black Belt) and started a new training session on Saturdays for juniors and adults at the club.

I now have my 2nd Dan in Judo and have competed for GB in Sambo on a couple of occasions at European and World Masters events.


What would you say are your proudest achievements in the sport from an individual and club perspective?

I would say as an individual achieving my 1st Dan in Judo was something I never thought I could do, alongside representing GB in Sambo. I have won many competitions but my Silver at the only Commonwealth Sambo Championships and 5th place finish at the World Masters would be my key achievements.

I enjoy coaching and teaching and am extremely proud of everyone who I have had the pleasure to teach in the club and coach at competitions. A couple of years ago we were top scorers as a club at the British Sambo Championships.

I am always proud when coaching British Sambo champions and those at small Judo competitions, win or lose. It takes a lot just to step on the mat and give it a go let alone compete which makes me extremely proud.

Sometimes competing is not for you and it is just as rewarding for me to see people develop not only in their Judo and Sambo but in confidence, teamwork and their own abilities.


What do you enjoy most about teaching Judo and Sambo in Folkestone?

Our club has a family feel, which makes it very welcoming for all to attend. I enjoy seeing people’s progression and watching them perform well at competitions and in their gradings.


From your training, have you had any students go on to compete and win in local and/or national tournaments?

I have had people attend international events, 2 competed in America and came away with Golds. We have also had people medal at other international events and have had many British champions from our clubs.

Two of our players represented Kent in the inter-counties team competition last year which has not happened for many years.

We always do well when competing in local competitions, medalling in most categories we enter.

From a personal perspective, what would you say the sports of Judo and Sambo have done for you and how would you promote the sport to someone looking to come along and try it for the first time?

I think that it is great for physical and mental health. Even though it is a sport you compete in as an individual there is a great team spirit and support we get from each other.

It teaches you to keep going, if it doesn’t work the first time you try again. Confidence in yourself and that you can achieve things that you may not have thought possible.


Are you currently looking for new members and if so, how can interested readers find out more?

Our Judo is governed by the IBF and our Sambo by the British Sambo Federation. Sessions are generally blended as both sports are similar, we would concentrate more on one than the other depending on upcoming competitions or grading’s.

Yes, we are looking for new members, we have 2 Junior and 2 Adult sessions per week:

Tuesday 6:30pm-7:30pm at Hawkinge Community Centre (Juniors)

Wednesday 6:45pm-8pm at Capel Village Hall (Seniors 16+)

Saturday 9:30am-10:30am (Juniors) 10:30am-11:30am (Seniors) at Folkestone Sports Centre.

People can come along to see what we do and have a chat with one of the coaches or contact us through Facebook or Instagram.

We are particularly looking for Adults 16+ to join us as these are the groups that tend to be quieter. If you want to cross-train or just want to learn something new come along and see what we do and have a chat.


Do you have a future vision of where you would like the Spitfire Judo & Sambo Club to be in the next 5-10 years?

We would like to see more people attend our clubs and continue to grow. We also want to continue supporting students and help them achieve their goals whether that be in competitions or training sessions.


If you’re interested in joining or want to know anything else, please contact Ryan at [email protected]

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