The incredibly multi-talented Julia Scardone is one of the leading female Martial Artists and Martial Arts instructors in the UK. Born in Brazil, the Judo black belt and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belt not only continues to compete at the highest level but, also fills her spare time running her own Martial Arts club to pass on her boundless knowledge to others. The English, Scottish and Northern Ireland Judo Open Champion also has one clear mission – to encourage more women to take part Martial Arts!
We talk to Julia, a truly dedicated and technically brilliant all round Champion and, very good friend to Blitz.
How did you get into or who introduced you to your Martial Art?
My older brother. My brother was quite naughty in school so, his teachers asked my parents to put him into a Martial Art. So, my Mum and Dad put him in Judo and he got a lot better. Then, growing up, I started to get a little naughty as well so, my parents knew what to do straight away and they just put me into Judo at the age of five.
How long have you been practicing your Martial Art?
I have been doing Martial Arts, Judo specifically, since I was five years old. So, for over 20 years. And I have started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu now for about five years.
Who or what was your biggest inspiration?
I think my biggest inspiration is probably my family – My mum, my dad, my brother, my son. They just inspire me to do really well in this sport all the time. So, I’d say it’s definitely them.
What separates you from every other Martial Artist in your discipline?
I don’t think I’ve got anything special or different, to be honest. I just work really hard every single day, every single training session. I try my best all the time which, I’m pretty sure most people do anyway.
What have you achieved in your Martial Art?
In the years that I was competitive in Judo, I managed to stay in the top three in Great Britain. When I went abroad, I managed to achieve European Cup medals so, that’s the level I got to.
What is your proudest moment of your career, thus far?
The proudest moment of my career so far, I think is coming back from pregnancy to the sport. I had a baby in September 2021, went back to training in December and, my first Invitational Competition that I did was Grapplefest against a really, really good opponent. I’m proud of that moment really as, I went up against someone very tough and was training full time – four months post pregnancy. I had a c-section as well so, it was a big deal for me to compete quite early on against someone so good and, I did well too. So, I think that’s my proudest moment ever.
What would you say are your biggest strengths?
My biggest strength is that I’m very stubborn. I just don’t give up, no matter how many times I lose. I just keep going, keep going, keep going!
What does your training schedule consist of?
With my training schedule, I train every single day. So, I try to do strength and conditioning at least three times a week. If not, definitely two. I do grappling and wrestling, sometimes two sessions per night or, one session minimum. I do try to give myself Sunday’s off to give my body a break.
What are your goals for the future?
I think my biggest goal for the future has changed now. Obviously, I still want to win. I still want to be invited to good grappling shows and things like that. But, one of the biggest things, and my goal now, is to encourage women to take part in a fighting sport for so many different reasons, not just competitive. For women to learn a form of self defence, to up their confidence. So, I’m on a big mission now to get more girls involved in the sport because, all of the benefits it gives us. A big goal for the future is to increase the participation of women in Martial Arts.
Do you have any words of advice to anyone wishing to take up a Martial Art?
Just do it! It might be a biased opinion but, I really do think Martial Arts – specifically Judo, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – is the best sport for a person to improve; not only anything physical but, mental as well. It’s a tough sport but, you can achieve little wins at every level that you play at. So, just go and do it. That’s my advice. It’s the best discipline in the world.
How do you divide your time between training and teaching?
So, the way that I divide my time between teaching and training myself is that, I teach after school clubs to kids. So, all of my afternoons are booked to teach children. I then teach kid’s classes at mine and Owen’s (Livesey) club, Carlson Gracie Hull. These classes tend to be before the adult classes later in the evening so, I’m already there for my own training. So, I teach kid’s classes mid-afternoon and early evening. And then, I’m already there for the adult training sessions after for my own training.
What are your plans in the upcoming months?
I’ve just been training for Polaris that, I’m going to be doing this weekend. That’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of months. At the minute, my plans are to just train lots and put on a show at the biggest grappling event in Europe. So, hopefully, I’ll do well in that!
Tell us about your club, Carlson Gracie Hull.
Carlson Gracie Hull includes classes for all, no matter your ability. We run Judo, BJJ, MMA, Wrestling and Boxing clubs. For adults, we have mixed classes and women’s only sessions. For children, we have beginners and advanced classes in Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
It has taken us a while to get to where we are but, we can now say we provide everything you need if you’re realistically looking to achieve your goals. Whether that is to compete at the highest levels or, simply to just get fit and work through your grades.
We now provide a full time schedule with morning and evening classes, both for beginners and competitors. All of our coaches have also been there and done it themselves from 2014 Judo Commonwealth Games Champion, Owen Livesey, to European MMA Champion, Danny Mitchell.
For more, follow Julia!
Follow Julia and her Martial Arts journey via the links below. Take a look at Julia’s Martial Arts clubs for your very own chance to learn and train with the Champion too!
Carlson Gracie Hull: www.carlsongraciehull.com
Carlson Gracie Hull Instagram: carlsongraciehull