IN Dennis Aris’ obituary (in The Westmorland Gazette) last week there was only a brief mention of his exploits in the sport of judo.

He became a black belt, according to him without actually throwing any of his opponents, but more importantly was his contribution to the sport nationally.

In the 1980s he along with his then wife Stella ‘invented’ a totally new method of the competition knockout system than the one used at the time. Previously if a competitor lost his or her first contest unless they had lost to a finalist they could not progress any further.

The new system gave everybody a second chance at a medal.

I spent numerous evenings with him as he sorted out any problems the system produced and it was introduced at a competition organised and run in Shap Village Hall.

The system, known initially as ‘The Kendal Method of Elimination’ caught on very quickly and in less than a year was being used, and still is the only form of knockout used, throughout Britain. A very similar system also suddenly appeared in European competitions just afterwards.

Using his journalistic talents, well described in the obituary, he was also appointed as the British Judo Association press officer for a number of years.

One of his stories came about when he interviewed one such junior competitor to discover he’d had heart surgery just a couple of months prior to the competition.

Dennis was very much missed when he retired from the sport to take up wind surfing and orienteering at which, like his many other talents, he excelled without taking them too seriously.

Peter Holme

Chairman, Kendal Judo Club and friend.