8 March 2022


Women in Judo


Loving Judo, loving Sandra. 

Usually we are inundated with judo history, sporting results, interviews and the latest news in the judo world. However author, Danica Juričić Spasović, gives us a new way to see our beloved judo. 

In this novel and best-selling children’s book in Croatia, she has opened the door for those without a judo background to see how this pastime impacts each individual in their daily lives. It has become such a success and such an interest to the judo world that the IJF supported the translation of the novel in to French and English as well as Hungarian so that more and more people could enjoy the creation of Danica and embrace the promotion of judo values. It can be easily accessed on Amazon.

As the plot revolves around a judo club and the goings on of a young boy, it has an appeal to those familiar with the sport and will have an impact on those who have not yet experienced it. 

Source: Judoklubpujanke.com © Thea Cowen

Even though it speaks of the problems facing young people, this is an exciting and merry novel. Perhaps it is those who do not know anything about judo who will gain most from it, getting to know judo as a fun sport through enjoyment, and its principles that reflect a school of life, for ‘judo is more than sport’.

A brief outline of the novel: 

You don’t have to be big and strong in order to win read the inscription on the notice which looked to the boy Antonio like a solution of all his problems. This eleven-year old seeks  delivery from the street and school bullies,  new friends, strength and confidence in a judo club. Antonio experiences all the phases of judo from the moment when he first put on the kimono up to the test for the yellow belt and participation at the first competition. And not only that! Through judo Antonio learns how to acquire confidence and courage. In this he is helped by the coach who teaches the young judokas tolerance, self-respect, but also the respect of the rival, and thus also teaches them the realities of life. The founder of judo, Jigoro Kano is often quoted in the book, speaking about judo as a kind of education focused on making us better people. For many reasons this novel is interesting both to boys and girls training some other sport, or not involved in sport at all – but reading this book they will certainly learn a lot about judo. The story may attract some of them to become judokas. Pervaded with the rapture and affliction of the first love for a girl, sweet Sandra, school tricks and judo club gimmicks, persistence, courage, difficult decisions, the feeling of victory, laughter and occasional tears – this is a novel to remember.

Not only has this piece of literature received high praise amongst the judo community, but is in fact entered in the elementary school education. Gordana Buljan Flander, Head of the Policlinic for the Protection of Children of the City of Zagreb has stated, 

This book is great contribution to prevention of peer violence and should be listed on school curriculums in order to enable every child to read it, the author found solutions for each group of children within the violence phenomenon: perpetrators, victims, but also those silently watching. The value of this book lies in the fact it is telling children adults too can help and that they should be turned to in case of violence.

Author Danica emphasised,

For the main protagonist of the novel, life is struggle in the street and in the school, and this struggle is perhaps taught best through judo, as education on how to become a better person and how one must sometimes give in – in order to win. 

Danica has successfully implemented the judo values in to an entertaining tale suitable for so many and provided great joy and education along the way.

Author: Thea Cowen