Back to our ‘normal’ lives. Slovenian Judo Club Bezigrad restarted their training sessions this Tuesday. However, there are rules and limitations for the athletes and coaches. We spoke to one of the coaches of the club, Miroslav Bilic. You should hear his excitement when he talks about opening again, to understand how much all of us miss judo, miss the dojo and miss competitions.

On what conditions is your club working now?

“It is only allowed to train registered judoka above the age of 14. At the beginning of the training we have to disinfect everything. Judoka are not allowed to use changing rooms and showers; they have to come prepared. Children can enter the dojo one by one and should take off the mask when entered the dojo. We are taking care that they wash and disinfect hands before training progresses. Athletes may only have one uke during the whole training session and cannot change the partners. One pair should have 20 square metres of tatami and can’t go out of it and no-one can enter their area. Our dojo fits exactly 10 pairs under these conditions. After the training we disinfect every centimeter of the dojo, open windows and wait for 30 mins to start the next training session.”

Do you think judoka are excited to come back to the dojo after this long break?

“Yes, they are really, really excited! When I asked them from 1 to 10, how much they missed the school, they answered 3. When I asked how much they missed judo, the usual answer was 9 or 10. Together with them, I am excited. These two months were terrible for me. Before quarantine I used to spend my whole day at the dojo and now I am so happy that I can be back. We had online training, but it is totally different. I spoke to competitors younger than 14 and they also can’t wait to come back.”

Do you think we learned something new from quarantine and from moving to digital training?

“I think it was a great experience. We could have contact with judoka, ask them how they are doing. We mostly had physical, core training for back, stomach, legs, as we did not have much time for it before. Also, we practised shadow uchi -komi, like technical training without a partner. We did it all for two months, three times a week.”

How long will it take to come back to being fit again?

“I think it will take a long time to come back to normal, especially for younger judoka. The element we are missing most is competition right now. It’s a minimum of  6 months without events and it will be very hard to come back. At least now we can do techniques. We were so occupied with competitions before, maybe now it is a good time to work on the techniques and develop them.”

Read instructions on how to restart training session here!

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