Celebrating Tony Buley, an Oxford Judo legend

For many of us at the Judo club, Tony Buley (1939-2022) was a mainstay of the scene. He would be at all the meetings, at all the events, shouting from the crowds, cheering us on. Tony could be relied on to support, tease, laugh, yell, applaud. He’d even give you a hug if it didn’t go your way.

Tony joined Oxford Judo in the early 1960s, moving from beginner to dan grade, and taking the helm as Captain of OUJC. He was also active in planning for the Iffley Road Sports Centre, which opened in 1966 and hosted one of the first permanent dojos in a British university.

He left the city after his doctorate, but returned to Oxford in the 1990s with his family, and resumed training with OUJC at Iffley Road. Tony was extremely active in fostering relationships with Japanese universities. In 2000 and 2006, Tony led trips to Japan with Oxford students. On the 2006 trip, he had the opportunity to put his Japanese language lessons into practice by delivering a speech in both English and Japanese at a reception. These trips, and others, along with reciprocal visits from Japanese students and coaches, would not have been possible without Tony’s organisational, administrative, and networking prowess – he was a doer of things.

2000 trip to Japan

Tony was an active member on the mat until the 2010s, and continued to be active behind the scenes until very recently. He took a genuine interest in the academic life and pastoral wellbeing of university students, encouraging them along the way and celebrating their many achievements. He also set up the Oxford Judo Federation, joining the University and City Club under a single umbrella organisation, making it easier for the clubs to share resources and look towards the future. This has been very successful and is an enduring legacy to his devotion and enthusiasm for Oxford Judo.

Masatoshi Shimamura, Tony Buley, Chris Doherty, Satoru Ohyagi in 2012

Tony was all the moods. He could be a bull in a china shop. He could bring people together. He could drive you mad. He could find solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had.

Tony loved Judo. He thought it was a worthwhile thing to do with your time. We couldn’t agree more.

We are grateful for his passion, for his years of dedication to OUJC and OCJC, and for the legacy he leaves.

Team Photo 2015