Judo is a popular sport worldwide, since becoming an official Olympic sport at the Munich 1972 Olympics. It was created as a means for holistic education and it is regularly practiced by hundreds of thousands of youngsters.
Judo is much more than the mere learning and application of techniques, it is also a wonderful system of physical, intellectual, and moral education as it has its own culture, systems, heritage, customs, and traditions. Moreover, the principles of gentleness are carried from the practice mats and into most students’ lives- in their interactions with their friends, family, and even strangers. judo gives the students a code of ethics, a way of living, and a way of being. During the classes much attention is paid to judo as a sport, rather than simply a combat form, trying to verify and explain a code of sportsmanship, a sense of mutual respect, and a system of ethical and moral development.
According to the World Health Organization (2012), judo participation has shown to have positive effects on children’s physical and motor development, these benefits refer to the maintenance of subcutaneous fat levels and the improvement of arms bone mineral, body posture, balance, flexibility, agility, and muscular endurance. Judo programs can be a good alternative to supplement the regular school physical education classes that children commonly take at this age.
COAF Judo program is a 2-year after-school program designed for 3-5 graders. The content of the program is based on creating a supportive and fun environment for learning the roots of judo, and fostering a lifetime involvement in sports. This is sequentially developed in accordance with children’s age, their mental and physical characteristics, and development. The program consists of a mixture of warm up exercises, skill development training & games and teaches students the importance of health and nutrition whilst also instilling values and personal qualities. Through inter-village championships and during master classes, students learn to practice and master what they’ve learned.
COAF has implemented the judo program since 2013 and since then, 215 students from 10 villages have learned the art of judo, participated in different championships and won medals. They became stronger, more flexible and coordinated, tending to lead a healthier lifestyle.