Judo was first introduced in Namibia by Sensei Kurt Block in the early 90’s. Kurt Block who was teaching judo and self-defense to the police forces was the coach of Roman Bock, the current President of the Namibian Judo Federation. As Kurt Block eventually moved to South Africa, he was a referee of the Zone VI Games, now known as the AUSC Group 5 Games.
One of the very first students of Sensei Block’s newly formed Windhoek Judo Club were Roman Bock (Current President of the Namibian Judo Federation), Keith Bock (Currently Namibian National Judo Coach) and Hieronymous Goraseb. Soon the club was joined by many other judokas, as other clubs were operated in the country (Windhoek, Grootfontein, Otjiwarongo and Swakopmund) by Nick Kolbe, Marco Grunert and Tommy Little (American Citizen). Today several Clubs are active in Namibia: DHPS School Club, University of Namibia Club, Windhoek Judo Club and Erongo Judo Academy with approximately 250 active members.
The Namibian Amateur Judo Association was established by Tommy Little and Nick Kolbe and was active in Namibia during the early 1990’s until 2005 when Tommy Little went back to his Country of origin.
The Namibian Amateur Judo Association became obsolete and was replaced in 2006 with the Namibian Judo Federation. Since the establishment of the new Federation, Judo went from strength to strength and in 2007, the Namibian Judo Federation with the assistance of the International Judo Federation, for the first time in history sent an athlete (Keith Bock) accompanied by the then National Coach (Nick Kolbe) to participate in the Judo World Championships in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Since then Namibian Judo players have been regularly participating in the Zone VI Championships (AUSC Group 5 Games), South African Open Championships and other international championships. Although small contingents were sent, they would always return with a few medals. On National Level the Namibian Judo Federation is holding the Namibian National Championships and the Windhoek Open Championships on an annual basis. This is the eighteenth consecutive year that the Namibian National Judo Championships will be held in Namibian.
The Namibian Judo Federation is a proud member of the Namibian National Sports Commission since 2005 and is affiliated to the International Judo Federation. The Namibian Judo Federation is also a member of the Confederation of Southern African Judo which main objective it to enhance judo in the region in order to take its rightful place in the World Judo Fraternity.
The Namibian Judo Federation also takes part in the international development projects initiated by the IJF and attended the IJF academy course during February-March 2014, in Lusaka, Zambia. Thus five Namibian Judo Coaches participated in the IJF and Olympic Solidarity coaching course so far. Keith Bock the current National Coach and NJF Sports Director successfully completed the IJF Academy level 1 instructors course in 2017 in Lusaka and is currently busy with his level 2 Coaching Course. Some of the other coaches already completed their theoretical test for the required modules and are just waiting to attend the practical sessions.
In May 2018 Namibian Judo was part of the first ever Namibian National Youth Games, facilitated under the umbrella of the Namibian National Sports Commission (NNYG2018). The purpose of the NNYG2018 was to select the Namibian National Youth Team that will participate in the AUSC Group 5 Youth Games from the 7th to the 16th of December 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana.
The highlight for Namibian Judo this year is the support received from the IJF in order to develop judo in Namibian Public Schools. To fulfil the goals, the IJF sponsored an IJF Accredited Judo Coach (Cornelius Matthyser) and offered 5 tatamis, 250 judo suits. To this extend meetings were held with the relevant high ranking officials in the Namibian Public Services, the Chief Administrator (Mr. Simataa Mwiya) of the Namibian National Sports Commission Ministry of Youth and Sports, Education Director for Khomas Region (Dir. Gerard Vries) Ministry of Education, as well as with the Principals and Sports Officers of the 5 identified public schools.
The first five identified schools are: • School for the Visually Impaired; • School for the Hearing Impaired; • Mandume Primary School; • Cimbebasia Primary School; • Orban Primary School.
The value of Judo in Public Schools in Namibia should not be underestimated, because of the huge social value that judo brings to societies. Generally, discipline in judo plays a tremendous role in shaping the children in order for them to grow up in a valuable environment and to positively contribute to the society. Judo can keep children off the streets and away from participating in criminal activities. Though the practice of judo they can avoid to become the victims of decaying societies, where there are not too many choices in life.
Cornelius Matthyser how the programme will be organised: “We will start with five government schools (see above) where most of the pupils are disadvantaged children. Some are visually impaired and some deaf and most of them come from a difficult economical and social background. All together it represents 3,000 children, who will be introduced to judo and its basics. For instance, we will teach them how to safely fall down as this is very important for them. Of course, they will discover more about our sport.“
The idea behind that program is to offer an opportunity to the participants to have a better and safer life, said Cornelius: “First of all, the children will have fun and that's the most important, but through the practice and learning process, they will get skills and will be able to prevent injuries.“
The programme will also be used to detect talented judoka who will increase the number of practitioners who will attend more advanced judo classes.
In order to achieve the goals that have been set up, the International Judo Federation sent five tatami (one for each school) and 50 judogi per institution: “The equipment is crucial. We will be able to practice proper judo. It will motivate the children and keep them off the street. We can dream of judo getting bigger and bigger in Namibia.“
Judo will be open to visually impaired children. They will have equal access to the sport and this is a 'must' as it will change their lives and give them confidence and self esteem. Through judo they can learn to better deal with their environment, and take advantage of their amazing capacities.
Namibian National Team members are usually chosen during the National Championships in order to represent our Country on International Level. Today Keith Rocco Bock is an International Judo Federation (IJF) accredited coach who also participated, as the first ever Namibian judoka, in the 2007 Judo world Championships in Rio De Janeiro.
Since the establishment of the NJF in 2006 numerous Namibian athletes successfully represented Namibian Judo in the Zone 6 (Group 5 Games), and also participated in the prestigious annual South African Judo Open Championships. Today, Namibian Judo Federation is rapidly developping with the help of several black belts and coaches that started judo as toddlers and are today adult judo coaches and proud ambassadors of the sport. Judo Clubs were established at the DHPS School and Windhoek International School (WIS) over the years, with the DHPS School Club having a strong representation in Namibia and participating during the past 4 years in the South African Open Championships. Needless to mention that they are a force to consider and always bring back a few medals from South Africa. As an example among others, in 2017, Sylvia Konzmann (Teacher/Judo Coach DHPS School Club) managed to won a gold and silver medal in the masters and senior categories.
Although Judo has grown tremendously over the years in Namibia, further development and participation in International events was always hampered by the lack of funds and sponsors.
Today the objective of the NJF is to enhance judo in Namibia to be practiced in all the 13 different regions of the Country and to have a prosperous schools judo program that will teach our children to become model citizens. The President (Roman Bock) of NJF since 2005 is positive that eventually all challenges will be overcome and Namibian Judo will take its rightful place in the World Judo Fraternity. The objective is to qualify for the next Olympics, obviously with the support of the Namibian National Sports Commission, the IJF and other stakeholders.
Roman Bock (President of the NJF) Roman Bock has a thirty three year experience in the policing security and forensic investigation fields including positions in the Namibian Public Services like Commanding Officer of the Commercial Crime Investigations Unit of the Namibian Police, Forensic investigator investigating cases of murder, robbery, fraud, medical aid fraud, serious economic crimes, bribery, corruption, theft, rape... and many others. He has been the President of the Namibian Judo Federation since 2006 and also the coach of Windhoek Judo Club. He is currently holding a 4th dan black belt.
Cornelius Matthyser (IJF coach) Cornelius Matthyser started his judo career in 1975 in Vanderbijlpark (South Africa). He is a former national champion and national team member. He is a founder member of the Botswana Judo Association and was the national Dan grading coordinator for Judo South Africa for many years. He was a South African National Coach (u17, u20 and senior), and attended four world championships in this capacity.