Brian Stening 4th Dan

briansteningSadly I have to report the death of Brian Stening a loyal Young Judo Club and International Budo Federation member. First I would like to give you a brief history of Brian as seen through Greg Garside 4th Dan:

Brian and I started practising judo at Bexley in 1982; our first grading was with Pat O’Connell. We were both very nervous Brian had trouble remembering the names of ground holds, so as he demonstrated them I whispered the names, we both passed. Nobby Clarke 6th Dan (founder IBF UK and the YJC) got us both involved in coaching and I remember Brian demonstrating a hip throw to the class using Nobby as his uke, Brian lifted Nobby on to his hip, having got him there Brian did not know what to do, do I throw him or not, Nobby gave him the answer “bloody throw me or put me down” Brian threw him. When Brian used you as a uke he would always say “I’m not going to throw you” but somehow you always ended up flat on your back. Brian’s passion was Judo, after his first bout of cancer and chemotherapy he came back onto the mat (June 2007) and his passion, enthusiasm and enjoyment were all still there.

Brian was a true friend and a gentleman and I shall miss him immensely.
Greg Garside 4th Dan

My recollection of Brian were many as Greg has said he was a Gentleman but he was immensely loyal to my Father Nobby and that loyalty passed on to the rest of the Clarke Family me especially, that did not mean he was a boot licker. When my father died and I took over the IBF UK he would be the first to let me know if he thought I was wrong, we had many arguments about Coloured Gi’s, Sombo Boots plus many other things but he never argued with malice. The one thing I disagreed with him was his very high standard of Kyu Gradings, I once said to him “they are going for Orange Belt 4th Kyu not 4th Dan” his reply “and they still haven’t passed”.

When Nobby died he and Greg took over running the Young Judo Club Bexley keeping that famous club alive. Brian never gave up learning when ever there was a course whether it would be Coaching, refereeing, Timekeeping, Kata even trying other Martial Arts he would be there one wonders how many of today’s Coaches would do that, he even attended the infamous Summer Camp well into his 50’s and kept up with the youngsters. Brian and his Wife Molly would attend all the competition as Referee and Timekeeper, he believed in commitment, perseverance and loyalty old fashioned qualities but then Brian was an Old fashioned Gentleman a true Judoka.

Brian will be in that Great Dojo in the Sky hopefully he will be practising with my dad (Nobby) and my mum (Margret) and I can hear him say as they come of the mat ( I expect you will have a rollup now Nobby)

Brian your memory will live with me for ever.
Martin Clarke 8th Dan Judo
IBF UK President

Tribute to Brian

When I first entered the Dojo at Sherwood Park School 17 years ago, I was greeted by Brian – A tall commanding man with a shock of silver hair and a beard. It was clear from the start that Brian was one of those unusual teachers who possess the ability to combine fear and respect. Along with his talented and technical partner Greg they made an awesome team. Little did I know that I was soon to become part of that team. Although Brian could be fierce when he had to, he had such an affinity with young people that they all wanted to do their best for him. He had an uncanny way of knowing how to get each child to reach their full potential.

One of the things easily conjured up in my mind is Brian’s chuckle. He often had to stop what he was doing while he collapsed with laughter! I will sorely miss that laughter. Brian’s pet hate was mobile phones going off during his class. Much to mine and Greg’s amusement any hapless offender would be bellowed at for this, often resulting in profuse apologises and hasty embarrassed exits.

Brian could be somewhat overzealous with his demonstrations causing minor injuries, such as cracking my rib (excellent kesa gatame!) Thank you Brian for the small bump to remind me of you! Thank you more for the good advice you gave me over all those years, your loyal service to the club – but most of all your sincere friendship.

In one of the last conversations I had with Brian, he said he considered himself a very lucky man who’d had a wonderful life with his gorgeous wife Molly and his large family. Brian will always be remembered by me as a kind, strong and charming man and I feel privileged to have known him.

Margaret Smith