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.
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!
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.
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.
From September 2022 Judo Club “Dream” Struga started with regular trainings for people with intellectual disabilities, the trainings take place every week on Mondays and Fridays for 1 hour. The trainings are processed according to a suitable and adapted program with instructions for trainings with people with disabilities. At each of the trainings, at least two judo trainers accompanied by an expert for working with people with disabilities attend, also judokas with typical development who constantly work together with people with disabilities are included in the trainings. According to the trainings carried out so far, we have positive feedback from people with disabilities and their parents, people with disabilities look and feel more free and confident with people with typical development and enjoy the beauty of judo. The goal of these trainings is to integrate people with disabilities into the sport of judo. The partners from Judo 4 All project are working on a toolkit for Inclusive Judo, where various techniques will be described how other organizations and clubs can include inclusive judo in their services. Some examples:
Terminator Participants – 3 children Two children takes guard, their roles are divided: One is UKE, and the other is TORI. TORI leads UKE, they move through the space, and the task of the third child is to come behind the back of TORI. The children’s role changes every 20 seconds.
Terminator- variant Participants – 3 children Necessary props — a piece of belt with a length of 20-25 cm. Two children make guard, their roles are divided: One is UKE, and the other is TORI. TORI leads the UKE, they move through the space, and the third child task is to come behind TORI’s back and to pull the belt piece that is fitted behind the back on the belt from TORI. The children’s role changes every 20 seconds.
The trainings with persons with intellectual disability inside the Erasmus + Project Judo4All started in September with short trainings (50 minutes every training) initially to get to know us, but especially to get used to the activities and trainings. The partners from Romania (Asociatia Judeteana de Judo Mehedinti) started in a separate group where 8 children, teenagers, trained with 2 trainings per week (Wednesday and Thursday). The training was for adaptation to effort and development of coordination through various games, relays and Ukemi-Waza (school of falling from Judo). It was a good period where progress was seen on the part of all the participants. This good period was about a month and a half, after which it happened that out of 8 children, teenagers (most of them with problems related to autism) stopped attending training. In fact they are dependant on their parents, it was the main reason they came together in the trainings. Still, by the time, they could find the time to attend, so the children started to be on their own, slowly integrating into the groups. Currently, there are 5 children and adolescents with intellectual problems (autism, ADHD), of which 3 are optimal to participate in a special Judo competition because they come every day to train in the groups of ordinary children and even did amazing progress. They have days when they don’t accept the training program and prefer to play with each other, but they also have days when they cooperate perfectly with the training program adapted to them. In the beginning, the parents attended the training, but because these children and teenagers have adapted and integrated into the group, the parents just bring them to the training and come at the end of the training. Looking at their technical progress about Judo, I can say that it is acceptable and it is not easy even for a child with regular development to progress technically, but especially for a child with intellectual problems. We use the training time to the maximum without rushing or forcing the progress of the athletes and certainly our athletes with intellectual problems will be prepared to face the training camp and the following competitions in 2023. There it will be a period of learning Judo techniques and belt exams in December , then training camp in February and all these starts will be beneficial in the development and progress of athletes with intellectual disabilities so that in June there will be a celebration for everyone when they will climb the podium at the Struga International Tournament.
This article is written by Lena Sterea, judo couch and representative from the Romanian partner organization within Judo4All project.