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Hall of fame honours for judo innovator Da Costa

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 13, 2012

  • THOSE WERE THE DAYS: Danny DaCosta training for the 1974 South West Championships in Torquay

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FORMER British judo champion Danny Da Costa has been inducted into two halls of fame celebrating a lifetime in the sport.

The British Judo Association has given the 71 year old from Torquay a slot its combat hall of fame.

And Da Costa has also been honoured with a place in the USA International Black Belt Hall of Fame.

One of the citations says Da Costa's induction reflects: "His outstanding achievements, contributions and positive influence resulting from many years of dedication, excellence, experience and effort in the martial arts."

And what service Da Costa has given to the sport! He has been involved with martial arts for 57 years having started out as a schoolboy boxer first, and continues to develop new skills.

In 2004 DA Costa started working on a new discipline – shinjido – which is fighting format that fits into the mixed martial arts category rather than sport judo.

Shinjido relies more on internal power than muscular strength. He has conducted Shinjido seminars throughout the UK and in August he taught Shinjido in Vienna.

Training trips to Moscow, USA and Africa are in the pipeline.

Said DaCosta:"Shinjido is Japanese for 'Danny's Way'

"I have developed a number of sound principles, resulting in numerous new techniques; some applicable for sport judo others for self-defence.

"My motto is 'maximum efficiency' and I teach people to use effortless power.

"I doubt if there is anyone in the world that has discovered so many new skills."

Da Costa holds the rank of sixth dan black belt in judo and aikido. He is a past British judo champion with ten years international experience. He gained won in the European Championships in 1974 and gold in the 2002 World Masters.

In 1996 Da Costa was ranked the number one lightweight in Great Britain and went on to enjoy a 10-year career on the international circuit.

The Great Britain selectors long-listed DaCosta for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The pressure of running his own business in Torquay meant Da Costa didn't make it into the team.

Da Costa had one more attempt at qualifying for the troubled Moscow Olympics in 1980, but missed out.

"I first got into the Great Britain team in 1966, but Olympics and World Championships were always out of the question," recalls Da Costa.

"They took place in the summer and as working in the family shop in Torquay meant I could not take the extended amounts of time off.

"By 1980 I was in a position where I could have taken the time off and had dropped down a weight to 60 kilos to have one more go.

"I had to win the British Championships and although I beat the eventual winner I got what I felt was a bad decision from the referee in another bout and couldn't get the point back.

"I couldn't win, so didn't even compete for the bronze. If I have a regret that would be it. You can't blame the referee though. I have always been one to take the rough with the smooth."

Friend Roger Priddes said Da Costa is still active in martial arts training despite being treated for a cancer.

"At the age of 71, Danny still handles people virtually double his weight with ease," said Priddes.

"They land on the mat with a smile on their face due to his apparent lack of effort.

"This is all the more remarkable when you consider that seven years ago, he was given a life expectancy of six months.

"After three mayor operations for cancer, he is still receiving treatment but you would hardly be aware to see him teach."

Da Costa doesn't shy away from his cancer and believes his positive approach to it is one of the reasons he has defied the doctors for more than six years.

"When I was first diagnosed and given a life expectancy of six months, I sent out 'happy cancer' cards to all my friends so that they would not feel uneasy in my presence," said Da Costa. "That was more than seven years ago.

"Consequently, in the martial art world, I am considered a hero!

"However, as I am quick to point out, I did not volunteer for cancer, it's just one of life's challenges.

"It's not over until the fat lady sings – and when I see a fat lady, I stick my fingers in my ears.

"I often get people call me when they are diagnosed with cancer. Many believe that a positive attitude can aid healing.

"Certainly in my case I have recovered from some major surgery in record time – mainly because in spite of excellent care, I hate hospitals."

Da Costa conducts a small class on Tuesdays in Torquay and Thursday in Newton Abbot. Beginners welcome. Contact him direct on (01803) 295006 or e-mail danny.dacosta10@btinternet.com.

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