Recently we spoke with Saso Sindic of the IJF Judo for Children Commission, about his role in Mala Sola Juda, the school judo project running in Ljubljana through the Bezigrad club. He gave a clear account of their project aims and systems and now Saso is expanding those ideas to show us how and why Slovenia is such an active participant in the Erasmus SchoolJudo.EU project.

“There is always somewhere to improve. We are now covering 60-70% of schools in Ljubljana but we really want to have access to all of schools in the region.

If you think you know everything then you really know nothing! We have been working with schools now for many years but our experience is now exhaustive. We want to connect with other countries and learn new ways to implement training programmes and to broaden our thinking about the delivery of school judo."

There are so many ways to deliver judo to school children!

"With Erasmus we feel that our system will also receive affirmation. It can lend weight to the work we are doing and can help to show skeptical schools and headteachers that our system is not only successful but it is recognised.

We also hope to be able to help our existing coaches to gain extra knowledge and insight. We are always searching for ways to increase their knowledge and offer chances to upskill, improving delivery and sharing their practices.

The coaches are the biggest obstacle. Finding enough strong coaches who can help make children happy in training is a huge task. We are open to trying with a lot of coaches but school judo is really not for everyone; it is a special role.

Having the IJF Academy backing the education side of our coach training is a big plus. We have to move away from coaches thinking that uchi-komi is enough to make champions from childhood and that, that is the only goal. We feel the Academy and the general training programmes for coaches/Entertrainers can really support the development of inclusive training programmes that encourage long-term motivation to live a life that includes judo.”

The IJF Academy is continuing to research the knowledge base and assist with the production of training modules for coaches / Entertrainers but while that is going on, the pilot countries are dedicated to laying the foundations for the project to take on a more practical, tangible beginning.

“The practical side of the project is still in the planning phase. We hope to be able to share our current status, next steps and future vision during trans-national meetings in the new year. That kind of event will really help to kick-start the project, not just for Slovenia but for Hungary and Italy as well.”

With such a clear rationale and the maintenance of momentum and commitment, there is much more to come and 2022 is looking like a big year for judo in schools.

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