Schools are opening the door to judo as the Olympic sport’s array of health benefits and promotion of discipline and respect continues to the make a mark with children, according to a government study.
The annual study, published by the Department for Education, looked at participation in PE and sport in all schools across England in 2009/10.
Judo is now offered at 13 percent of schools, compared to 8 percent in 2003/04.
The survey also showed small drops in the proportion of schools offering more traditional games.
The study also showed the numbers of pupils across years 1 - 13 who participated in at least two hours a week of PE rose from 77 percent last year to 82 percent this year.
The numbers involved in competitive sport have also risen, from 28 percent to 39 percent.
Schools currently host judo through the British Judo Association’s Enjoy Judo programme which sees British Judo coaches deliver tailored classes through breakfast clubs, curricular activity, lunch time and after school classes.
They also work in conjunction with British Judo’s School 2 Dojo programme which is supported by Sport England. The programme establishes strong ties between schools and a local judo club which provides an outlet for pupils, who have been equipped with the fundamentals, to practice the sport to a higher level. In May the programme reached the milestone of linking 500 schools with neighbouring judo clubs.
Daniel Griffin, British Judo’s Children and Young People Development Manager, believes the results bode well.
“These results are very encouraging,” he said. “We’re delighted to see the impact of schemes such as School 2 Dojo where we take pupils into community clubs to participate or volunteer in all areas of the sport.”
Additionally, judo is often lauded for its ability to be practiced by a diverse demographic and schools currently staging the sport supported that notion in a survey conducted by the British Judo Association in August.
British Judo, which has adopted the motto of ‘judo for all’, has members ranging from five to 85 years of age while the Dan Grade Register has on record a man who started judo aged 54 and in eight years progressed through the grades to reach the coveted 1st Dan black belt.
Judo’s close contact also means the sport is an ideal activity for blind or visually impaired players.
The British Judo Association is renowned for its visually impaired setup which includes reigning World Champion Ben Quilter, Coventry brothers Joe and Sam Ingram, who both picked up silver medals at March’s IBSA VI World Championships, and 48-year-old talent search product Lesley Reid who captured a bronze medal at the international showpiece.
The British Judo Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott McCarthy, believes the sport can engage and benefit any audience.
“With weight categories, age bands, and clear progression pathways through the grading system judo is sport that truly caters for everyone – regardless of shape, size, gender, ethnicity or ability,” he said.
“The sport has something to offer to anyone who is interested in gaining physical skills, core stability, confidence, strength and discipline. It is an educational platform as well as an Olympic sport.”
photos Janos Schmidt