27 May 2024


Children Kata Festival & Kata Seminar in cooperation with European Judo Union


This weekend, the Children Kata Festival & Kata Seminar was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, co-organized by the European Judo Union (EJU), the Judo Federation of Slovenia, the Slovenian Institute for Judo and Judo Kata, and Judo Club Golovec. The seminar was attended by 49 coaches from the following countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Morocco, Germany, Romania, Spain, and Slovenia, as well as 50 children from Judo Club Golovec and Judo club Polyteam.

On the first day, the Kata seminar included a theoretical presentation on the methodology of working with children. On day two, children aged 4 to 14 joined the coaches for practical work on the tatami. Dr Slaviša Bradić, EJU Head of Kata Commission, emphasised the following:

Empowering judo coaches with methods for teaching children the basic techniques and principles of judo is only possible if they master and understand the methodical procedures for practising judo kata.

In the afternoon, there was a joyful atmosphere at the Children Kata Festival, where a demonstration of kata took place, and children showcased their skills to coaches, parents, and spectators. EJU certificates were also awarded. The first Children Kata Festival & Kata Seminar was held in March in Iceland. By the end of the year, festivals will take place in Great Britain, Azerbaijan, and Italy.

Aljaž Sedej, a member of the local organising committee and general secretary of the Slovenian Judo Federation commented: 

Judo kata is a significant part of Slovenian judo. The Children Kata Festival and Kata Seminar is a recognition of Slovenian judo, and it is time for the Slovenian Judo Federation to join this program of expanding judo knowledge among youth. I’m glad that in Slovenian judo, we have experts like Ms. Nuša Lampe and Mr. Robert Kojc, who are in contact with international experts like Slaviša Bradić, PhD, who has brought the event to Ljubljana at such a high level.

Robert Kojc, a member of the local organising committee and president of the Slovenian Institute for Judo and Judo Kata Association added: 

The future belongs to the young, which is why we opened a new chapter in teaching and understanding judo for children and young people. We will continue training coaches in kata and developing all five official competition kata. Above all, we plan to make judo attractive to younger generations through kata. The focus will be on educating competitors in the U12 and U14 age groups. At this seminar, we discussed the criteria for evaluating kata for young people and will implement them in our activities.

Nuša Lampe, a member of the local organizing committee, CEO of Judo Club Golovec, and member of the Education & Coaching Commission at the International Judo Federation (IJF), also shared her thoughts: 

At the well-represented international kata coaching seminar, where we also hosted world and European kata champions, the methodology of teaching children through theory and practice was presented. During the festival, most of the children had their first contact with both domestic and international kata experts, and they enjoyed it a lot, which will certainly have a positive effect on their further involvement with judo. Learning, improving, and sharing knowledge is one of the main principles of judo and life. I’m happy that in Slovenian judo we are developing quality work with young people and professionally connecting on multiple levels.

Kira and Kora Kojc, Slovenia, junior world champions in Katame-no-Kata, also participants of the seminar and later on added: 

The seminar was interesting for us from two aspects: the lecturer presented the methodology of teaching judo excellently and in an easy-to-understand manner, and we immediately applied the acquired knowledge in practice with the children when they joined us on the tatami. Amazing! In the fall, the world championship in Katame-no-Kata awaits us. We hope for the best possible rankings, and we will also continue our work with young people.

Marika Sato, European Kodokan Goshin-Jutsu Champion with Fabio Polo from Italy shared their input too: 

This seminar is extremely important, and I am grateful that it was organized, because finally, someone wanted to highlight the true origins of Judo. We discussed the use of kata to teach the basics of judo without separating kata and shiai, but combining them in a very powerful yet simple way. The lecturer was excellent and very skilled in making all the concepts intuitive, constructive, and at the same time simple. Superb!

Dr Slaviša Bradić, EJU Head of Kata Commission concluded with the following;

The seminar exceeded expectations with a large number of coaches and children. I am glad that it is already clear that this project has a future, because the goal is to present and transfer knowledge to coaches on how they can improve the learning of basic judo for children. At the seminar, we successfully went through the entire methodology of working with children from Nage-no-kata and Katame-no-kata as an auxiliary tool for learning basic techniques as well as methods of training children. I am certainly looking forward to further progress.

Author: Szandra Szogedi