5 March 2024


Children Kata festival & Kata seminar in cooperation with European Judo Union


Past weekend, many gathered in Iceland to run the first children kata festival & kata seminar. Amongst was EJU President, Dr TOTH Laszlo; the President of the National Judo Federation of Iceland, Mr Johann MASSON; the Vice-President of the National Judo Federation of Iceland, Mr Ari SIGFUSSON; CEO of the National Judo Federation of Iceland, Dr George BOUNTAKIS and Head of EJU Kata Commission, Dr Slavisa BRADIC.

The idea was initiated by Mr Bountakis who, himself, was amazed as the get-together has gone beyond his expectations. 

To design a project on the paper is one thing, to bring it to life is another. I did not expect this. I have been in Iceland for over a year already but this was by far my favourite event, couldn’t stop watching the coaches working together under one proposal: “education”. 

As a CEO of JSI, after this experience I would like to say: Dear colleagues, put this day in your calendar, next year the kids kata festival will be open to all countries.

Finally, I have no words to express how grateful I am to Dr Toth the President of EJU as he spent his time going around talking with the kids, families and coaches. Thank you Toth sensei for supporting the development of Icelandic Judo. 

The event saw many families coming together as they created a ‘family time’ out of their mat time. Both children and parents displayed happiness, joy, and satisfaction. The goal of this project has two directions: 

The project is implemented in such a way that it first teaches the trainers about how to teach children the techniques, principles, and values of judo kata with adapted methodical procedures. It is important to remember that kata in judo teaches all the basics of judo such as kumikata, movement, action-reaction, ukemi and of course psychological aspects too, such as concentration and memory. Therefore, this project is aimed to be another tool that will help children with their judo development whilst also supports our judo community to develop the practice and understanding of kata in coaches and children. Dr Bradic further explained; 

After the practical part where the trainers taught the children how to learn kata, there were kata demonstrations where the learned techniques were shown. In addition to the coaches, many parents also enjoyed the displayed knowledge. All participants received certificates from this historic first children’s kata festival. After the demonstrations, the first national kata championship was held. 12 pairs performed in the kyu and dan categories. This is a big step for the Iceland Judo Federation and according to the level of knowledge and positive energy shown by the competitors, the future of judo will certainly be bright. As the head of the Kata Commission, I must express great satisfaction with the quality of the content of this project.

This year, this project will take place in several more countries. Nage-no-kata is suitable for ages U12 and U14. There is a developed plan for Katame-no-kata, as well as additional exercises. I see the future of the project. There is a big interest of it in Europe as well as overseas. The weekend was one more successful EJU project starting with a small judo country as Iceland. I am very happy with the seminar and the energy I saw among the Icelandic judoka but knowing the leaders of the Icelandic Judo Federation, I think that this is quite expected because the atmosphere is extremely positive.

JSI President Mr Masson was also impressed to say the least, whilst several awards were added to the agenda; 

I feel like I was hosting friends

– started Mr. Masson.

The President of EJU Dr Toth’s generosity to JSI is something unique for me. Dr Toth was well prepared and knew everything about our judo history whilst he also delivered the 7th Dan certificate to Mr Halldór GUÐBJÖRNSSON; the award of the EJU best of the best to Mr Bjarni Ásgeir FRIÐRIKSSON and gift to the head of Elite program in Iceland, Mr Vésteinn HAFSTEINSSON. We had a successful weekend and with that we are viewing further education and judo development, the future is open and, together, we have a lot planned. 

Congratulations to Iceland for this pioneering event! 

Photos: National Judo Federation of Iceland

Author: Szandra Szogedi