Portugal had an early reaction to the corona virus pandemic this year, we know this having already spoken to members of their national team who are in lockdown together, but what about the clubs?
Before the government declared the emergency and enforced rules, the majority of the public took it upon themselves to engage in social distancing, already seeing the devastation in Italy. Some earlier confirmed cases caused schools to close earlier in order to protect their students and staff, and of course, judo clubs followed suit.
Looking for a solution, members of Fundação Salesianos Judo Club in Lisbon immediately engaged with one another to assist the children they usually teach, week in week out.
It was a natural decision to compose one video per week to engage their members, the team work together to plan the class, each creating a part of the class and combining it to create one overall class. It has been a resounding success, starting in mid March, the video links are also sent to the schools and have received great feedback from the parents.
Though they all practice in the same club, they have various schools where they teach judo to children between the ages of 4 and 12 years-old. The head coach of the club also started fitness and judo classes via video conference. This wonderful set up was brought to our attention by one of our fantastic photographers and avid judoka, Rui Telmo Romão.
Rui Telmo Romão: “I personally feel that these social gatherings have kept me motivated. It is important to keep doing the things you like and most of all, it is important to stay connected with your friends.”
Diogo Silva: “I think it’s extremely important for our kids that they don’t stop exercising during the quarantine. So judo takes an essential role in their lives keeping them moving.”
Joana Correia: “In these difficult times, our role in the children’s lives are even more important. With so many things that are now different, maintaining the routine of the judo classes and seeing us every week is a great way to keep the children active and have something that remained the same. Judo is a sport with history and values and that is what makes us different from other sports, in our classes the kids don’t only practice the active side but also learn these values that make our sport special. It is also a moment where the kids are occupied and sometimes it even becomes a good family time of fun and learning.”
João Lopes: “During the lockdown, a great contributor to mental health is our physical health. Maintaining a training regime while keeping in touch with our club teammates is part of what keeps us sane in times like these, I believe. As for the judo classes themselves, they’re important so that kids don’t forget the sport they practice, the values we try to transmit and of course so that they see that despite the difficulties we are living through, we senseis can find innovative solutions to cope with everything and maintain a positive attitude.”
Leonor Gonçalves and João Abreu: “I believe judo is a sport that help us prepare for life. So we must do everything we can to keep connected with our younger judokas and accompany them through this stage of their lives.”
Joaquim Faria: “A few arrangements are needed to get a little bit more extra space!”
Author: Thea Cowen