Head instructor Sampson Sampson is the Sobell’s longest standing student. Originally walking through our doors in 1974, Sampson quickly became a standout judoka and in a mere 12 months after first stepping on the tatami, he wrapped a 1st dan black belt around his waist. Two years later at the age of 16, he obtained the rank of 3rd dan.
A fierce competitor, Sampson made a name for himself in the British judo community due to his excellence in tournaments, winning multiple national and international medals. Together with his training partner at the time, Simon Mazullo, the duo were multiple time Kata champions of the BJC. During the height of his career, Sampson was approached by the Cypriot Judo Federation to train their Olympic team for the 1984 Olympics; and also went on to represent the Cypriot Judo Team himself. Sampson achieved his 5th dan in 1992 at the age of 31, and was awarded his 6th dan by the BJC in 2005.
Sampson is known for his unrivalled understanding of the finer dynamics of judo and his technical excellence ensures he enables every student who walks through his doors does not just practice judo, but truly understand how every element of it works. Sampson has continued to teach at both national and international seminars throughout his career and his knowledge of judo is widely respected, a statement which is supported by the 40,000+ people who have subscribed to learn from his YouTube channel — Sampson Judo.
Sampson was a former official of the BJC, however, in 2011 he and his team made the decision to form their own organisation, Judo For All UK, where he currently serves as its president.
Since forming JFAUK, Sampson’s technical understanding of judo and his dedication to keeping traditional judo and its philosophies alive was noticed by the World Judo Federation (WJF) who invited Sampson and his team to join their global organisation. His contribution to the development of judo at an international level was later recognised by the World Judo Federation and on November 3rd 2013 at the European Traditional Judo Championships held in Milan, Italy, the WJF awarded the rank of 8th Dan to Sampson. In 2018 Sampson was promoted to Chairman of the WJF Referee Committee and Vice Chairman of the WJF Technical Committee. In 2023, Sampson was awarded his 9th Dan.
As well as a judoka, Sampson also has experience as an MMA competitor and holds the grade of 3rd dan in Japanese JuJitsu, 2nd Dan in Kendo, 1st Dan in AIkido and 1st Dan in Shotokan Karate.