For more than a century, the Ecole Mont-Olivet, in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland, has been welcoming students and has placed excellence at the very heart of its teaching. Directed by Christophe Santschi, its owner, the school is recognised for its independence, its flexibility and its capacity for innovation. It has just proved it again by initiating a Judo in Schools programme which can serve as an example to others.

On the school's portfolio, it is mentioned that its objective is to ‘reconcile a healthy academic ambition and harmonious personal development.’ It therefore seemed obvious that judo could contribute to this, in a joint initiative between the school and the national federation.

Indeed, the educational project of the Mont-Olivet school involves promoting an adequate balance between body and mind. What could be better than sport to contribute to this and particularly judo? The institution also claims to be close to the values of judo: respect, politeness, courage, sincerity, modesty, friendship and surpassing oneself.

"This project is strategic for the Mont-Olivet School, which wishes to commit to it in a long-term vision, that is to say over a minimum period of 3 to 5 years,” explain the educational managers.

In order to anchor itself more deeply in the local social network, Mont-Olivet has created a club affiliated with the Swiss Judo Federation, directed by Sergei Aschwanden. This association is placed under the leadership of . Open to school students, it is also open to the outside.

The heart of the project revolves around the teaching of judo during school time though, for all age categories, in a dedicated room, with judogi made available.

For Sergei Aschwanden, who is also responsible for education at the European Judo Union and who works closely with the IJF on projects with cadets, "It is unique in Europe that a private school invests so much in judo.”

Sergei Aschwanden and Christophe Santschi

According to Christian Flippe, "The lessons have started very well, from the start of the new school year in August 2022. All children and teenagers have their own judogi with the school logo. The investment on the part of the director of the establishment is significant.

It was not obvious at the beginning that the parents and the teachers would accept judo but now everyone is delighted and the teachers have noted that the children speak in class of respect in general! Not only is judo taught, but it is a real long-term project with the values of judo as a framework."

Whether initiatives of this kind are launched in the public or private domain, as at the Mont-Olivet School, they have demonstrated the power of judo to change mentalities and society. Children who, because they practise our sport, start talking about respect and above all begin to implement it, are directly linked to the educational values so dear to the founder of judo, Jigoro Kano.

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