19 June 2019


6th EJU Judo Festival - Porec, Croatia


Another year has gone by and another phenomenal Judo Festival has been delivered.

The 6th EJU Judo Festival hosted over 1500 judoka from around the world covering nine activities including; OTC Camp, Cadet (U18) Camp, U15 & U13 Camp, Family (U8) Camp, the 6th European Judo Science and Research Symposium and the 5th Scientific and Professional Conference – ‘Applicable Research in Judo’, Referee and Coaching Seminar, Administration and Organisation Seminar, Kodokan Seminar, Improve Your Club Seminar and the Special Needs Seminar. 

The Special Needs Seminar welcomed some special guests including Larisa CERIC and Majlinda KELMENDI.

The latter was the latest addition to the Judo Festival programme and proved to be a resounding success among athletes and coaches. Having the opportunity to come together and learn not just from one another but a specialist coach, Tycho VAN DER WERFF. With the judo family constantly growing it is imperative that the sport be inclusive of every one that wants to partake in the sport, no matter the needs of the individual and the Festival provided the best location for this initiative and to extend the opportunities of our community.

Olympic Champion and Russian Cadet Coach, Arsen GALSTYAN coming on to the IYC Seminar as a special guest.

 We will soon be welcoming the 2nd European Games, and though there were questions regarding the lure of the OTC Camp in such an vital stage of preparation, the hosts were relieved to see that it in fact attracted more national federations than expected. With a whole host of Olympic, World and European Champions including European Games Champion, Kamal KHAN-MAGOMEDOV (RUS) who celebrated his birthday on the camp, bringing the cadets along to prepare for their European Championships in Warsaw it was a success. Olympic Champion and Cadet National coach, Arsen GALYSTAN also stepped on to the Improve Your Club (IYC) session as a special guest to help other cadet level coaches. 

EJU Expert TSUNODA Go delivering an engaging session for the IYC Seminar.

The IYC Seminar hosted a multitude of EJU Experts including TSUNODA Go, Jean Pierre GIBERT and Patrick ROUX. Also for the practical aspect, National Russian mens team coach and  Kodokan Institute 5th Dan, Evgeny KULDIN offered some words of wisdom on the final session. Along side the practical sessions, author of ‘An Approach to Physical Performance Analysis for Judo’, Stefano FRASSINELLI, took the coaches through a presentation, delivering a step by step guide in how to improve the compulsory motor skills of young athletes in order for them to be efficient and successful senior athletes. 

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Kodokan Kata specialist, NAGAI Taeko.

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EJU Experts, MUKAI Mikihiro and KATANISHI Hiroshi.

As well as EJU Experts, KATANISHI Hiroshi and MUKAI Mikihiro, the Kodokan Seminar welcomed Kodokan Kata specialist, NAGAI Taeko. This was the second Festival for NAGAI who had previously attended in Antalya, she was pleasantly surprised at how much the level of Kata has improved in Europe and found it a pleasure to teach the judoka attending. It was an extra special opportunity for the judoka as she introduced a new area of Kata to the camp – ju-no-kata. Including the practical, judoka were invited to a Mondo session (Q&A) discussing the history and significance of Kodokan judo and why it is so important to ensure that judo is practiced correctly with appropriate techniques to score ‘ippon’ in competition. 

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Kirill DENISOV signing autographs on the U15 & U13 Camp.

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The youngsters went so excited to see KHALMURZAEV jump on their session after OTC. 

Although it is impressive to have all of these activities going on throughout the Festival, the importance is placed on the fact that judoka from every area of practice are able to come together. We saw this on multiple occasions, the younger athletes watching the OTC Camp, the high performance Champions attending the Family Camp to meet their biggest fans and to pass on their knowledge to both the children and their coaches. The intertwining of the community was a true representation of the judo family concept. 

EJU General Secretary Ezio GAMBA.

EJU General Secretary Ezio GAMBA engaged in all areas of the camp, 

This is the biggest judo event in the world of this type, there is nothing compared to it. This is the strongest it has been with 1500 judoka but I expect that next year we will be close to 2000 with more interest from other nations and a step of preparation for the Olympic Games in 2020. What was truly impressive this year was the quality of athletes, number of participants and the rise in number of activities.

If you missed out on the excellent Judo Festival experience this summer in the holiday destination of Poreč, Croatia, be sure to book tickets for the 2020 edition.


Author: Thea Cowen