Father and son go toe-to-toe on the mat

8 April 2024

When Private Charles Laidlaw was put into a choke hold by his son, it was one of his proudest days.

The pair were on opposing sides of the judo mat during last year’s Judo Australia Military Teams event.

While they train together every Saturday, it was the first time they had met in competition.

“He pulled out all the stops against the old man and whooped me,” the 2nd Health Battalion medic said.

“The crowd was going wild – he smashed me down and choked me out.

“I was just really happy that he's developed so much. He's very tough.”

Private Obian Laidlaw was confident he would win when he came up against his father, and wasn’t fazed about using the choke hold.

“I do the technique all the time. We regularly practise together so it's pretty normal,” Obian said.

A black belt in judo and Brazilian jujitsu, Charles taught Obian to fall soon after he’d learned to walk.

Fifteen years later, the father and son are regular podium finishers at open state and international competitions.

In March, Obian won gold at the 2024 NSW State Championships senior men under 66kg division after winning silver the year before.

As a judo brown belt, Obian also competes in Brazilian jujitsu, winning gold in a 2023 blue belt open competition.

Charles won silver at the 2024 NSW State Championships veteran men under 66kg division after a string of silver and gold-medal performances at local and international competitions since 2018.

The two combat sportsmen are set to compete next at the Melbourne International Open in April and then again at the Judo Australia National Championships in June after both were selected for the NSW state team.

They are in different age divisions so they will have to wait until the next military tournament in September before possibly facing off again.

Charles said just competing against his son would be reward enough.

“I don’t mind losing,” Charles said.

“It’s no surprise Obian comes out on top, he’s doing really well.”

Both Charles and Obian are members of the ADF Combat Sports Association, which financially supports their participation in the sport of judo as representatives of the ADF.



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