24 June 2024


EJU Judo Festival 2024


The Judo Festival is coming to an end for the 2024 season, and as a final act, the Kids Camp and the Adapted Judo Camp have joined forces to hold their judo session together under the guidance of several experts in their respective fields. Amongst, Nuno Delgado, EJU Judo For Children Commissioner and Marina Draskovic, EJU Adapted Judo Project leader shared their views on the session, where for two whole hours, the term adapted evaporated in thin air and everyone came under one single term: judoka.

To social objectives of the session were clear: to embrace, to enjoy and to be inclusive. However, there had to be a more detailed plan heading into this mixed session. Marina begins;

Well, with Nuno life is pretty easy because he has the concept in his head so we just help him. He is the head coach of the kids camp project and he has everything from moral code to great teaching method of the techniques, etc… He engages with kids naturally and kids love him. From the adapted side, we have two additional experts here with us, Tycho Van Der Werff and Tomas Rundqvist so we all had our ideas, collaborated and made the sessions which thankfully everyone seemed to enjoy. With adapted judo most times than not you come to a session with a plan and that needs adapting. We have a great team here to deliver what we wanted.

Nuno follows:

We are certainly all lucky enough to have each other. Although I have some experience of adapted judo in the early years of my coaching but it is certainly not my field and being around experts such we have here I also learned so much more on how to teach judo.

To conduct the session as smoothly and efficiently as possible, attendees were divided into three groups and had the opportunity to learn from all, Nuno, Tomas and Tycho. Experts delivered a 30mins session to each groups, giving a variety of knowledge to everyone. There was plenty to learn for all, on and off the mat. What precisely?

Marina: For adapted judoka the most important that they were able to take away from today’s session is the feeling to be totally accepted, to feel ‘normal’, because it is something they are all missing in their day to day life. Also, I was really impressed with the interaction of all judoka during the session, some of them has difficulty to speak and they are from all different countries and yet they were all having fun with full interaction and were able to speak the same language: the gentle way.

Nuno: For the A-typical kids if you like, I would say it is course of humanity because they understand that there are people with more needs in some situations than them. Maybe we all needing to be adaptive because sometimes one have trouble walking but someone else may have trouble with self confidence for example. The latter is not necessarily physically visible. These joint sessions are very powerful interactions and it is very important in their life.

To add to the experience, music was played throughout the session, not only to lift the mood and direct the energy, but also to enrich the brain as music is known to be a therapeutic tool for many. Still, there was something even more noticeable and whether it was the power of the ‘pyjama’ or otherwise, it was breathtaking. In today’s society the reality is that when someone sees a disabled person on the street they rather pull away and move to the other side of the street than interact at all. Well, there was non of that on the mat today, quite the contrary. Nuno responded to that by adding;

Judo is for life, you become strong to become useful so you need to go on the mat, which is the right laboratory to develop all these social skills, and embrace all the skills and values. Right now in society we really need to show people that everyone has some difficulties and together, we can overcome that. This is how we understand, more than ever, why judo is very important for the personal development. You see children, parents, educators, volunteers, everybody is feeling the magic and energy of our sport.

Some saw more, some saw less, some heard better than others and the rest were able to do both but irrespective of that, they all trained together as a judoka under one motto:

I take care of you, you take care of me, we take care of each other.

(Tycho Van Der Werff)

Author: Szandra Szogedi