While the judo planet continues to spin, Julien continues his world tour from dojo to dojo. He has been in Oceania for several weeks now and we can find him in Australia for this episode.

"After finishing my time in the Pacific Islands, I returned to Australia. An incredible opportunity from the Vanuatu Judo Federation came up, altering my plans for the next few months. They asked me to coach their athlete, Hugo Combo (-81kg), for the Paris Olympics.

But before that, let's talk about Australia, a land of endless possibilities. It is actually an enormous country and I initially planned to split my trip into three parts: Queensland and the Pacific Islands, New South Wales, Victoria, before moving on to New Zealand. However, with this new opportunity, I had to rush my Australian trip and could no longer split it as planned.

In Queensland I received a very warm welcome. The idea in Australia was to have one or two people per state to help organise my Judo Nomad project. In Queensland, it was Xavier Barker and Jeremy Cade who were instrumental. Despite the financial stress, their support made the beginning of my Australian tour much smoother.

In New South Wales and Victoria I kept building connections. First, Shane Alvisio, head of judo operations, and Ivica Pavlinic, the cadet national coach, hosted me. After conducting state training, I visited the beautiful capital of Canberra. Though not the largest or most popular city, Canberra welcomed me warmly, two judo clubs offering a pleasant and relaxing experience.

Next I headed to Melbourne where I met my French compatriot, Christophe Legaud, president of Victoria Judo. Melbourne became my hub for nearly two months, allowing me to build a strong relationship with Christophe. We began with state training, the International Open of Melbourne and visits to various clubs, including the Resilience Training Center owned by Olympians Maria Pekli and Daniel Kelly. Here, I reunited with old friends and met some of Australia’s top judo athletes.

Continuing along the coast, I reached Warnambool and reconnected with Abe Ryuota, one of my first hosts in Australia, and Mohan Bam, a coach I met two years ago in Nepal. He told me before that we would meet in Australia and to be honest I didn’t think it would happen. Together, we explored some of Australia's most beautiful landscapes, including the Twelve Apostles.

In Adelaide, I conducted a successful seminar, gathering most of the local clubs together. Despite being considered a ‘small’ judo area, it was one of the largest in terms of participation. I was even able to interact with wallabies and kangaroos!

Heading further south, I visited Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, one of Australia’s oldest cities. There, I met Carla and Lewis who run Seishin Martial Arts, a club focusing on special needs judo. They are the largest club of this kind in Australia and I made a video about them, which you can watch on YouTube. It as definitely a unique experience.

After a few days back in Melbourne, it was time for the final stretch of over 10,000 km! In Western Australia, Simon Read (CEO of Judo Australia) and his son Jacob Read (CEO of Western Australia) hosted me. Perth, known as the most remote city in the world, had one of the best judo organisations I’ve seen in the country. I went to see the Perth International Open and training camps, making many new contacts.

My final stop was Darwin in the Northern Territory. The heat was intense, even in winter, but the hospitality was warm. Emma, Craig and the judo federation hosted me and I visited four clubs during my stay, experiencing the local culture through waterfalls and jet ski tours. Thankfully, I avoided any crocodile encounters!

People in Perth and Darwin work twice as hard to make their places attractive due to their remote locations. Competitions and training camps on the east coast are costly, making it cheaper to go abroad. They must make their regions appealing to save on expenses and promote development.

Now, as I write this, I’ve just arrived in New Zealand for new adventures! The next challenge is coaching Hugo for the Olympics. He trains in New Caledonia but the unstable situation there makes it difficult. We’re figuring out if I’ll join him there or elsewhere. Stay tuned for updates on my social media.

After the Olympics in France, I’ll head to the UK for my IJF Academy certification. I’m considering the Judo Nomad Project tour in the UK and Ireland by the end of the year. If you have contacts, please let me know as I’ll start planning soon!

Thank you for reading, and I appreciate all the support!"

See also