Main content

New coach sees Bombers get punchy

Essendon's new boxing coach Judd Reid
A MIXED martial arts and karate champion famous for fighting 100 men in one night is Essendon's new boxing coach, charged with building the Bombers' strength.

Judd Reid, an accomplished fighter for more than two decades, joined the club in November and aims to see a material benefit from the training during the season.

Already the 42-year-old has seen an improvement within the ranks at the Bombers, with Reid introducing bareknuckle body punches to the regime.

"We're doing body conditioning which they haven't done before," Reid told AFL.com.au.

"These are things like bareknuckle punching into the chest and punching into the stomach.

"I explained it to them that football is a full contact sport; all you go out there on the field with is a pair of boots. That's all you've got. There's no padding.

"So that's how I apply my boxing and conditioning training, by doing all these punches to the chest and stomach bare knuckle, it is going to build their body up 100 per cent.

"The players really like that full contact side of it.

"I'd like to think this is going to help their game. It's going to condition their body so that if they go up for a mark and end up on the ground winded, by doing these exercises, they can brush it off and go hard at the ball again."

Reid is well placed to teach the Bombers.

He has been doing martial arts for 30 years, and started competing as a 17-year-old. He lived in Japan for six years studying karate full-time and then travelled to Thailand, teaching for seven years and continuing his own studies.  

Learn more about Judd Reid

He combines his theory with practical experience, fighting until he was 40, when he says he felt at his physical pinnacle.

Then came his career-defining moment, when in 2011 he was invited by the World Kumite Organisation to attempt the 100 Man Kumite - kumite is a main section of karate - having become a world champion karate fighter in 2010.

The challenge carries plenty of history, with a person attempting to fight 100 black belts consecutively for one-and-a-half minute rounds, taking more than three-and-a-half hours to complete.  

"It's very rare that this opportunity comes up and at first I said no, I don’t want to do it, because it was so hard and I kept saying no for three months," he said.

"But my friends kept saying I could do it and through their belief and support, I thought I would."

The Melbournian undertook a rigid training program – chronicled in his documentary 100 Man Fight – to be fit enough, and proceeded to get through the 100 opponents, one by one.

"They were going easy on their kicks by the end, and weren't going 100 per cent because nobody could do that, but they weren't giving it to me on a golden platter," Reid said.

"When you're in a fight you get an adrenaline rush but something like this that goes for such a long period of time, there was no adrenaline rush.

"I later found out I ripped a whole tendon off my knee and I needed an operation. It was the biggest challenge I've ever faced."

He uses his experience to teach others, now including the Essendon playing list.

Reid noted defender Tayte Pears, midfielder Jake Melksham and young forward Joe Daniher as some of the best performed in his short time with the club and overall is pleased.

"Even if their technique is poor they pick it up fast. They're coordinated so they adapt very quickly," he said.

"I've seen in a very short amount of time they've been doing it that already they're a lot stronger, they're balanced, and some of them have picked it really well, which I was a bit surprised about.

"I feel very fortunate to get this job and this chance, but in my mind I feel like I can contribute to their training to give them that extra one per cent. I think the guys can feel that as well."

Twitter: @AFL_CalTwomey