Lockdown inspirations - 8 questions with Nekoda Davis, Judoka.

20th April, 2020
Well, it looks like our plans to have the summer of a lifetime are on hold for a while but that's ok - we've got this. Since we’re spending the majority of our days, and nights indoors, we’re all looking for some much-needed light relief, entertainment, motivation and inspiration. And, despite what you may see on Instagram, not all of us are coping as well as others. It’s more than ok to be doing nothing right now. Not every day has to be flanked with spiritual transformations and self-improvement. We’re allowed to just binge films, eat out the fridge and cry our tiny hearts out face-timing our loves ones! And what a better time, to get inspired by other amazing human-beings. I've teamed up with some wonderful and creative souls to lighten up your days during the pandemic! Meet the beautiful and kind Nekoda Davis, London based, British judoka - who is going to answer 8 questions for us in today's post. Let's get right into it...
The Missing Chapter: How long ago did you start your Judo journey and what made you do it? Was it a spontaneous decision or something you've always wanted, planned..?

Nekoda: I started Judo 21 years ago at the age of 6. I was a young, shy girl and my mum wanted me to take on the sport to learn self-defence and to toughen me up! Despite all my apprehensions and the fact that I didn’t actually like the fighting aspect of the sport, I stuck at it! I was a keen learner and my first coach really made me fall in love with the sport.

The Missing Chapter: I've seen some of your intense at-home-work-out session video that you've previously posted on one of your social media platforms, and there is absolutely no way I could keep up with you to save my life! How do you stay so motivated to keep pushing? Do you ever feel like giving up or having a lazy, rest day instead?

Nekoda: At the minute my ratio for good & bad days are sometimes one for one. One day I’m super motivated to train and then the next day I wake up tired and fed up and just want to lie in bed a little longer! I stay motivated by not beating myself up for what I didn’t do yesterday! Each day is a chance to reset and start again; I try to set a new goal for the day and to achieve even one good thing! It’s hard to train as my home workouts are nowhere near as hard as real judo, but I know I have to try and stay in some shape for when I return.

The Missing Chapter: What does your friends and family think about what you do? Do they support you in it?

Nekoda: My friends and family are some of the most loving and supporting people in the world. Having my family in scattered locations all over the world makes it challenging to stay connected, but they always make the effort to congratulate me and let me know how proud they are in Jamaica & US. My club, Ealing Judo Club, and my coach, Jo Crowley, are also like my family; they have always supported me through the highs and lows. My mother Is my biggest fan; before every tournament she texts me and tells me I’m already a winner that I just have to go out and “kick butt”.

The Missing Chapter: Do you have an every day mantra that keeps you going? Share some of your favourite quotes with us that have a positive impact on your mindset and really get to you...

Nekoda: “Tomorrow is a new day”, “Everyday is a chance to hit the reset button and try again”, “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.” This is a Maya Angelou quote. I love Maya Angelou, I love that she fought through all her adversities and she made something special of her life. These mantras keep me going everyday! Makes me feel I have the chance to forget yesterday and focus on tomorrow.

The Missing Chapter: A lot of people find it extremely hard to cope during the quarantine period. Personally I appreciate the 'free time' I've been given. I try to spend it as creatively and actively as possible and not let it go to waste. It allows me to bond with my children and partner as well as focus a little bit more on my business, this blog and goals I want to achieve in the upcoming years, as well as treat myself to more me time and reflect on life. Has the lockdown benefited you or your Judo/Judo skills in any way? If so explain how...

Nekoda: It’s such a tough time which I don't think anyone is finding easy. I for one have found this really hard; everyone’s story is different and this pandemic has hit us all at different stages of our life. I was on a steady climb back from injury so this immediate stop in training has been a kick in the teeth for me. But to put a positive spin on things, I am using the time to actually focus on my life outside of Judo; a time to upskill and build on my education. I am getting better at cooking, taking up hobbies and spending time with my partner who I normally only get to see once a fortnight. It’s been a chance to slow down and catch up.

The Missing Chapter: How often does your job require you to travel? What are some of the places you've been to around the world so far?

Nekoda: The life of a judoka is a busy one, as having a season that runs all year round means you are on the road a lot. I would say I normally travel twice a month for up to a week at a time. Travelling can get tedious as 10 hour plane journeys, jet lag and the salty food & water retention on planes is not fun! But I would take these things over not travelling any day! Some of the places I have been range from as far as Australia, Japan, Brazil, China, Mongolia, Israel, Africa. I have also been to so many European countries too; Russia, France, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Netherlands. The list goes on. I am very blessed!

The Missing Chapter: Tell us a little bit about what a casual day in Nekoda's life behind the scenes of a judoka look like?
Nekoda: So before lockdown when the world was normal, my schedule looked a little like this. On weeks where I would sparsely be at home, I would be training in my national training centre, situated in Walsall, England; I relocated here 6 and a half years ago in pursuit of my sporting dreams. A normal training day would start off with my alarm going off at 7am, breakfast, getting ready and packing my bag for training. Coffee in hand, I would leave the house at 8:30 to get to training 15 mins later. We start training at 9am every morning with a warm up and some short skills training, and then at 10am we are ready for Randori (this is free practice or fighting). We wrap up morning training by about 11:30 and it’s time for me to head home for a shower, lunch and walking my doggy. After a little rest, it’s time for the second session of the day, which is normally strength or conditioning at 2pm. My training day finishes at 3:30pm and I use my time after this to have meetings with staff or to do some video analysis on opponents with my analyst guru. If I’m free after that, I just head home and collapse on the sofa tired from the day’s training. The evening is free time to make food, catch up with friends virtually, chill with my doggo and watch Netflix! I head to bed about 11pm and try to get 8 hours sleep to do the same the following day.

The Missing Chapter: What are your top tips and advice for a beginner wanting to get into Judo?

Nekoda: Just throw yourself into Judo, literally! It can be a bit scary at first but when you gain just a little bit of confidence nothing feels better than getting on with your friends, having a little rumble and throwing them to the floor! Done under the correct guidance, judo is really safe; judo translating to mean the ‘gentle way’.

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