George Kerr (judoka)

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George Kerr
10th Dan, CBE
President of the British Judo Association
Personal information
Nationality Scotland
Born (1937-08-24) August 24, 1937 (age 81)
Country Great Britain
Rankjudan (IJF & BJA)

George Kerr, CBE (born 24 Aug 1937) is a Scottish judo expert.

In 1957, he won the gold medal in the European Judo Championships in Rotterdam. In 2002 he was named one of the inaugural members of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.[1] In 2001 he became president of the British Judo Association.[2]

In 2010 he was awarded the grade 10th Dan by the International Judo Federation (IJF) for international services to judo.[3] Having been preceded by Frenchman Henri Courtine (2007) and followed by Japanese American Yoshihiro Uchida (2014)[4] and Italian Franco Capelletti (2017), Kerr currently is one of only four living IJF jūdan. He is the second Briton after Charles Palmer[5] to have gained this rank in Judo. IJF judo dan rank awards are, however, not officially recognized by the Kodokan Judo Institute in Japan, and currently, Uchida (Kodokan 7th dan, 1983) and Courtine (Kodokan 6th dan, 1968) are the only IJF judan who concomitantly also hold a Kodokan judo rank of 6th dan or higher.

Kerr received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2010 [6]

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours.[7][8]

He also received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, in January 2011 after being named in Emperor Akihito's November 2010 honours list, due to his ongoing contribution to judo and to relations between the UK and judo's country of origin, Japan. Masataka Tarahara, Japan’s Consul-General in Scotland, presented him in Edinburgh with Japan’s equivalent of a CBE.[9]

He has authored the books Judo: basic training manual for beginners (W. Foulsham, 1964), Judo as part of the 'Flying Start' series (Hodder Wayland, 1991) and, with his coaching-charge twice Olympic gold-medallist Peter Seisenbacher, Modern Judo: Techniques of East and West (Crowood Press, 1991).

He now has a new special Edition Autobiography on sale called - My Journey to the 10th Dan. A limited number of 500 books are available with more standard finish books being available after the World championships in Sept. These are available from


  1. ^ Roy Murray (November 2005). "George Kerr - Mr Judo's European triumph 1957". BBC Website - A Sporting Nation. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  2. ^ BRITISH JUDO PRESIDENT GEORGE KERR AWARDED 10th DAN Archived 2012-05-28 at the Wayback Machine. British Judo Association Website.
  3. ^ Pensioner joins martial art elite BBC News Website, 7 February 2010.
  4. ^ "IJF Certficates as of April 4, 2014". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  5. ^ The 72-year-old Scot who's won judo's highest accolade Guardian News, 9 February 2010.
  6. ^ "Heriot-Watt University News: Summer 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-04-12.
  7. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 8.
  8. ^ Webb, McDowell and Catt on New Year Honours List BBC Sport Website, page last updated 31 December 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  9. ^ "George Kerr named in Emperor Akihito's honours list". British Judo Association Website. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011. Scottish judo icon and British Judo Association President George Kerr will receive the 'Order of the Rising Sun' in January after being named in Emperor Akihito’s November honours list. The revered 73-year-old will be presented with the [sic] Japan’s equivalent of a CBE by the country’s Consul-General in his native Edinburgh... In February, George, who's known as Mr. Judo, received the sports [sic] highest accolade, the hugely prestigious 10th Dan, to become only the fifth non-Japanese judoka to hold judo's greatest prize. His latest honour, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, has been met with delight by Masataka Tarahara, Japan’s Consul-General in Scotland... The former European Champion, Olympic coach and referee is overjoyed to receive the honour.