Alan W Fromm

26th August, 1943 – 10th January, 2020

The following is the eulogy as read by Simon Mazzullo at Alan Fromms funeral held 7th February 2020.

Alan Fromm as Uke to Otani Masutaro
Alan as Uke to Otani Masutaro

Like many of those here, who are involved in Judo, I met Alan for the first time at Sobell Judo Club, in North London.

It was just after the Sobell Sports centre had been built – about February, 1974 I think.

Alan had started the Judo club at the Sobell sports centre, with a permanent mat area, which was rare in those days.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Sobell Judo Club, would become very much more than just a place to do Judo.

Alan crated an environment that all who attended could not fail to embrace.

It was not just the excellence of judo coaching from Alan, nor the 1st class facilities than Alan had fought very hard to achieve, but the underlying traditional judo philosophy that was embedded within the coaching and the club as a whole – Indeed, Sobell Judo Club was run in many ways just like a traditional Japanese Budo establishment.

Alan was fully immersed in Judo at this time, teaching children from the local schools during the daytime, running community clubs at the Sobell and Clissold Park in the evenings, organising the local North London Area with tournaments, gradings and all of the other infrastructure required in a thriving Area, and volunteering, with what little spare time left, at the British Judo Council head quarters.

As the club membership grew, more competitions and courses were attended with Alan at the forefront – encouraging all of the members to attend.

It seemed to me that all Alan did from dawn to dust was Judo in some way or another – coaching, organising, planning taking students to courses, gradings all over the country – and he enjoyed every minute.

He even found time to write a judo book with Nick Soammes – “Judo -The Gentle Way”.

Alan continued to expand and grow the club to a point where Judo was practiced almost every day of the week, with a complete social mix from the local community attending.

Eventually Alan moved on to pastures new, as did many of his students at the Club.

Many successful coaches become possessive about their club and their students, but Alan encouraged his students to coach in their own right and learn outside of the confines of the club, leading to several very successful judo clubs all over the South East.

All created on the solid foundations that Alan had established.

This is, in my opinion, Alan’s greatest achievement – the legacy that he has left.

This will endure for many generations as will the judo and life skills passed on by Alan.

His influence will continue for many years to come within the judo community, despite his death.

These are as relevant today as they were when I first met him.

Alan W Fromm – Judo coach and inspiration to many.