George Kerr is one of only two people in the United Kingdom to have held the highest level in judo – 10th Dan – earning him the nickname ‘Mr Judo’.
Born in 1937, his career began in Edinburgh where he was awarded the black belt aged 15. At 18, he went to Japan to study at Nihon University and the Kodokan Institute, spending four years training in the Far East.
Kerr’s first major tournament win came in 1957, when he took a gold medal at the European Championships. It was followed by silver in 1962 and 1963 and bronze in 1964 and 1966. He became British Open champion in 1966, took silver again in the European Championships the following year, and regained the British Open title in 1968.
As a coach, he’s the only Briton to have trained a double Olympic champion, Austrian Peter Seisenbacher. His coaching career also created a European champion in Robert Köstenberger, and an Olympic bronze medallist in Josef Reiter.
Kerr became president of the British Judo Association in 2001. He was made 10thDan in 2010 in recognition of his services to judo, which have also been rewarded with a CBE and the Order of the Rising Sun from Emperor Akihito of Japan.
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