Over the weekend, a Children’s Kata Festival and Kata Seminar was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The event was co-organised by the European Judo Union (EJU), the Judo Federation of Slovenia, the Slovenian Institute for Judo and Judo Kata and Judo Club Golovec. 49 coaches from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Morocco, Germany, Romania, Spain and Slovenia, as well as 50 children from Judo Club Golovec and Judo Club Polyteam were present.

On Saturday, the kata seminar included a theoretical presentation on the methodology of working with children. On Sunday, children aged 4 to 14 joined the coaches for practical work on the tatami. Slaviša Bradić, PhD, head of the EJU Kata Commission and a prominent member of the IJF Academy as well as Director of the IJF Police Commission, emphasised, "Empowering judo coaches with methods for teaching children the basic techniques and principles of judo is only possible if they master and understand the methodical procedures for practising judo kata."

In the afternoon, there was a joyful atmosphere at the Children’s Kata Festival, where a demonstration of kata took place and children showcased their skills to coaches, parents and spectators. EJU certificates were also awarded. The first Children’s Kata Festival and Kata Seminar was held in March in Iceland. By the end of the year, festivals will take place in Great Britain, Azerbaijan and Italy.

Slaviša Bradić added, "The seminar exceeded expectations with a large number of coaches and children attending. I am glad that it is already clear that this project has a future because the goal is to present and transfer knowledge to coaches on how they can improve the teaching of basic judo for children. At the seminar, we went through the entire methodology of working with children successfully, from nage-no-kata and katame-no-kata as an auxiliary tool for learning basic techniques as well as methods of training children."

Aljaž Sedej, a member of the local organising committee, general secretary of the Slovenian Judo Federation, Olympian, former junior European champion, and a European medallist, commented, "Judo kata is a significant part of Slovenian judo. The Children’s Kata Festival and Kata Seminar is recognition of Slovenian judo and it is time for the Slovenian Judo Federation to join this programme of expanding judo knowledge among the youth. I'm glad that we have experts like Ms Nuša Lampe and Mr Robert Kojc, who are in contact with international experts like Slaviša Bradić, bringing the event to Ljubljana at such a high level."

Coach seminar

Robert Kojc, a member of the local organising committee and president of the Slovenian Institute for Judo and Judo Kata Association, stated, "The future belongs to the young, which is why we opened a new chapter in the teaching and understanding of judo for children and young people. We will continue training coaches in kata and developing all five official competition kata. Above all, we plan to make judo attractive to younger generations through kata. The focus will be on educating competitors in the U12 and U14 age groups. At this seminar, we discussed the criteria for evaluating kata for young people and will implement them in our activities."

Nuša Lampe, a member of the local organising committee, CEO of Judo Club Golovec, and member of the IJF Education and Coaching Commission, said, "During the festival, most of the children had their first contact with both domestic and international kata experts and they enjoyed it a lot, which will certainly have a positive effect on their further involvement with judo. Learning, improving and sharing knowledge is one of the main principles of judo and life. I'm happy that within Slovenian judo we are developing high quality work with young people and connecting professionally on multiple levels."

Kata demonstration

Kira and Kora Kojc (SLO), junior world champions in katame-no-kata, participated in the seminar. They said, "The seminar was interesting for us due to two aspects: the lecturer presented the methodology of teaching judo excellently and in an easy-to-understand manner, and we immediately applied the acquired knowledge in practice with the children when they joined us on the tatami. It was amazing! In the autumn, the world championship in katame-no-kata awaits us. We hope for the best possible rankings and we will also continue our work with young people."

Slaviša Bradić with a young participant

Marika Sato (ITA), European Kodokan goshin-jutsu champion with Fabio Polo, said, "This seminar is extremely important and I am grateful that it was organised because someone is taking the initiative to highlight the true origins of judo. We discussed the use of kata for teaching the basics of judo without separating kata and shiai but combining them in a very powerful yet simple way. The lecturer was excellent and very skilled in making all the concepts intuitive, constructive and, at the same time, simple. Superb!"

After this success, there is no doubt that more and more young people will join the kata family and therefore be more integrated in the judo family, not only in Slovenia but also in Europe and globally. We are looking forward to more seminars and development events in the future.

Source: Spela Lampe

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