Daniel learns a gentle way
The 12-year-old finished second in the Under-13s Under 42kg division at the national judo championships after entering the tournament as an outside chance of a bronze medal.
The result was a personal best for the tenacious brown belt since taking up the sport three years ago.
"Judo means 'the gentle way'," Daniel explained. "There are no kicks or punches. You throw and use your opponent's weight against them. You need speed, technique and practice."
Daniel's parents, Stephen and Katherine, said they were surprised but very proud of his achievements.
"It blew us away. We didn't expect that," Stephen dad.
For Daniel, it was the latest achievement in what has been long progression through the sport.
"I came for one night and mum said 'He'll never be able to do this'," Daniel said.
But Daniel has stuck with it, taken the falls and learned many valuable lessons.
"He had no co-ordination when he started," Katherine said.
"He was looking for a sport to help him with co-ordination, self-defence and respect."
Under the tutelage of judogi Alan Foley at the Lismore PCYC, Daniel found the perfect sport.
"After his first tournament, he came up to me and said, 'Wow, Mum, we were trying to beat each other and then when we came off the mats we were chatting like friends'," Katherine said.
Sensai Foley, who has been doing the sport for 18 years, runs classes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons as well as special needs classes on Wednesdays.
He said judo was the safest contact sport for kids. "The first thing we do is learn how to fall," he said. "I don't teach it as a self-defence.
"All you need is a willingness to learn and commitment. It teaches you new skills, balance, timing and co-ordination."
For more information, contact Lismore PCYC on 6621 6276.