International and Inclusive Winter Judo Camp in Serbia

International and Inclusive Winter Judo Camp in Serbia

From 9-14 February 2023 the Winter Judo Camp was held in Serbia, Kragujevac, Ravni Gaj,  hosted by the partners from Makikomi judo club where participants from all project partners countries attended, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. The partners from Judo club Drim Struga, Poraka Nova, Makikomi and Asociatia Judeteana de Judo Mehedinti, joined with their teams (14 participants per partners, from which 3 were people with intellectual disabilities).

Counting +40 participants the winter camp was divided in 2 parts, regular judo training sessions and workshops for inclusive judo. The training judo sessions were delivered by experiences judo coaches from Macedonia, Serbia and Romania:

  1. Gjorgjija Stojanov JK Drim Struga
  2. Slavisha Pejcic JK Makikomi Beograd
  3. Predrag Jojic JK Makikomi Beograd
  4. Filip Zivojinovic JK Makikomi Beograd
  5. Dragana Vukmirovic JK Makikomi Beograd
  6. Gicu Vasilan JK Mahidinti Drobeta Turnu Severin
  7. Lena Sterea JK Mahidinti Drobeta Turnu Severin
  8. Marjana Goloubovic- reeducator psychomotor skills

The Judo trainings from the day one were intensive. Two per day. Sometimes it was very difficult, but every participant did their best to exercise and be part of the team. That did not exclude the PwID. They also attended two times per day, even though it was mentioned to them that is enough ones per day. They were excited to be part of the team. They were happy that everyone was accepting them as a whole and wanted to cherish that moments. They didn’t want to miss a thing. They were present at the Judo trainings. And they were present at the workshops. Contributing equally. And that was the point of the whole event. Without pressure anyone to feel like they could do anything. And they did.  

The experience behind the trainings is best described from one of the participants statement, Daniel Sihkoski , who shared his impressions: If I had to single out something that left the most impression on me at the judo camp, it is undoubtedly the coach Predrag Jojić, who, if I ask myself, should be given the title of best coach above coaches right away. Why? Because he did not see us persons with disabilities as special, but as equal participants of the camp who can learn and do everything, even more than everyone else can. He worked with us without any stereotypes and condemnation, but with understanding and desire to help you. He understood when you told him that you didn’t know or didn’t know something, but even then he didn’t let me give up, but helped you learn together with him.

In between the judo training, we manage quickly to motivate all young people, little ones, teenagers and youths with intellectual disabilities to take part in the inclusive workshops.
They were scared because it was their first time being in inclusive workshops for most of them and thought it would be school-like. We were scared because of the number of participants and the different target groups, but we all combined our fears and created unforgettable memories.
On the last day, the goodbyes were accompanied by the chants, quotes, part of conclusions, music and rhythms that were part of the workshops on the very first day, and then you know the impact was deeper than was planned.

6 rich days are left behind us filled to the fullest with activities, interactive discussions, playing games, singing songs, working in groups, and creative program. The session plans were customized according to the target groups and needs of the participants so that everyone was motivated to take active participation in the whole inclusive process.
Taking control over the group of teenagers sometimes was challenging but the pace was reached when the point of the certain activity was achieved, making them thinks and share a life-experience story.

To be honest, with the little ones was easier because all I have to do was to create a game. Of course, the games were interactive and inclusive which made them think and discuss a certain topic. Sometimes you would think it would be harder, but the little sages very fast could get to the point and understand the whole situation, with their pure perspective, naivety, and straight forward point without by passing, says Martina Durljanova, lead trainer in the inclusive workshops o Judo Camp in Serbia.

On the last day, in the inclusion workshops all participants, typical and non typical with the help of the trainer Lena Sterea, created adaptive Judo techniques. To the participants it was presented the outcome of the project, the Toolkit and its purposes. They were more than happy that they could create something on their own and that would be accepted and even put in the book, and later to brag about to the other clubs, to promote Judo inclusion. In the workshop every group created 10 techniques. And when they return home they will continue with the process, because we need 100 in today (30+ from each club). But now we should be worried, because they know and they want to be part of the creation.

In the end inclusion in sports is not only teaching people with disabilities how to do sports but is working with them equally, supporting them and making them feel like part of the group, part of the whole process. We as a consortium partners are glad that the participants understood that without any prejudices and it was a pleasure hearing that they are looking forward to more people with various disabilities being included in their judo training program.

We can’t wait for another inclusive workshops in the judo tournament in June in Struga with new challenged and ideas.

Preparations for the Winter Judo Camp in Serbia

Preparations for the Winter Judo Camp in Serbia

Few weeks ago we started with the preparations, planning, organizing all necessary logistics for our upcoming Winter Judo Camp in Serbia, who will gather international judokas from the region as well judokas who are engaged in the Inclusive Judo program within our Judo 4 all project and judokas with intellectual disabilities.

The International Winter Judo Camp will be hosted by the partner Makikomi Judo Club from Serbia, and it will be held in Kragujevac, Ravni Gaj from 9-14 February 2023.

All Judo 4 All project partners (Judo Club Drim Struga, Poraka Nova, Makikomi and Mehedinti County Judo Association) will participate with their trainers, judokas, judokas with intellectual disabilities and as well international audience and judo clubs from other countries. The Judo Clubs will be involved into training program for the Judokas, and Poraka Nova will be involved in delivering workshops and sessions on Inclusion, Inclusion in Sport and Judo, Erasmus+ program, etc.

Romanian partner events & trainings in December

Romanian partner events & trainings in December

The training sessions with people with intellectual disabilities continued and even brought surprises from some practitioners. Here I am referring to one of the athletes with physical disabilities who expressed his great desire to participate in a regular competition. Because December is the time when wishes come true, we supported him to fulfill his wish. The competition he participated in did not bring him a medal, but it was beneficial because it contributed to bringing him unique experiences along with the motivation to keep working to be champion one day.
This competition was not planned for people with disabilities within our JUDO4ALL project but it was
offered to us as a lesson to be learned and it made us incredibly happy and it was like a reflection from allpoints of view.
This check / test confirmed that we are going in a healthy, correct and beneficial direction on our way to
achieving the goal of integrating people with dissabilities into normal life where they can be included in any activtites.
The month of December is a beautiful and long-awaited period for all the children of the world, the Mehedinti County Judo Association wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year rich in achievements on all levels!

Photo shooting for Judo4All Inclusive Program

Photo shooting for Judo4All Inclusive Program

We are so happy that the trainers from Judo Club Drim Struga and the participants (people with intellectual disabilities) in the Inclusive Judo Program of our project had great time during the photo shooting in Struga which was organized by Poraka Nova Struga. At the same time we are proud that they managed to create amazing and unique photos which will be used for our toolkit, upcoming campaigns, visuals, web and social media content of Judo 4 All project.

Check out the photos in the gallery below!

These photos can not be downloaded, transmited, reproduced or used for commercial or public purposes. Copy right Poraka Nova. 

Judo Inclusive trainings and next steps towards the Winter Judo Camp and International Competition in 2023

Judo Inclusive trainings and next steps towards the Winter Judo Camp and International Competition in 2023

Almost for 4 months the trainings of Judo4All programs are implemented in Struga, by Judo Club Drim Struga. Within this program and project, two judo inclusive trainings are held on a weekly basis, led by professional judo trainers. There are total of 13-14 participants with intellectual disabilities, but 8 of them are coming on almost every class. The trainings last about an hour, and that hour is filled with exercises that are of great benefit to the development of the participants (physically and mentally), an hour filled with fun, friendship and positive energy.  In the beginning, the trainers tried to hold an hour and a half training, thinking that it will be better, but they realized that it was too much, because the participants got tired, lost their concentration and were tired after the first hour.

They love judo training and are quite successful in the techniques, they manage to perform them in the best possible way, they are strong, they work hard and really enjoy learning the exercises and techniques with the trainers. One of their favorite exercises is the (Osoto Gari).

This project shows exactly that. That these people can train judo as a sport, make changes in their lives, develop, and I believe that one day this project will grow into something bigger and these people will take part in serious judo competitions and side by side with their peers with typical development will achieve supreme success in judo.

Within this project the participants also have caregivers and their responsibility is to bring the participants to the trainings for those who cannot come independently, to be their support, motivate them, and accompanied them during the trainings and then bring them back home.

We are very happy that the participants are strongly motivated and dedicated in to their judo trainings, we truly hope that one day they will go to some judo competitions and this opportunity is very closed because of our project.

One of the next activities in Judo4All project during January, will be selection of few judokas with intellectual disabilities who will join the Winter Judo Camp in Serbia and will be trained and prepared for the International Competition in Struga.