To us it means a gaping space where exclusion tried to muscle in. It means being completely passive in the face of exclusive benefit, favouring an open door, open arms, open access policies. That’s what judo offers, doesn’t it?

Maybe not everyone can make the Olympic team but we’d support the statement that says with perseverance, dedication, great coaching, personal study, goal-driven action and a few more elements, most people could earn a black belt in judo if they really wanted to. That’s not to say that it’s easy, nowhere near it, but it is obtainable and one of the many reasons it is, is the indisputable fact that our community makes it so.

Black belts in the Himalayas - Everest Judo Club

The World Judo Tour shows off the cream of the skill acquisition cohort. It displays, with gusto, the incredible excellence that becomes achievable for the committed few who lay down their varied arms in search of the holy grail of applied judo technique. This, however, is not all judo has.

The medallists at the 2022 World Championships for mixed teams

We may not see it on weekly livestream or front and centre on every federation’s daily home page but we know that our sport not only accepts but embraces every single human who enters its atmosphere. If you want to do judo, we’ll have you, we’ll rejoice with you in the splendour of every aspect of it that brings you joy and achievement and confidence.

Judo is for you! It is for your shy friend, your international friends, your male and female neighbours. It is for people in our communities who were born with physical, educational, geographical or economic challenges. It is for national flags, IOC flags, rainbow flags and military crests. It is for those who overcome, those who wish to overcome and those who are supporting others as they trampoline over the difficulties others use to try to limit them.

Judo crosses boundaries and borders and it sews together the chasms of separation that other areas of life try to extend; from Muki and Mollaei to the women of our Executive, from our Academy to our Children’s Commission and into schools, refugee communities, digital platforms and beyond, judo is an entity that reaches into the farthest crevices of the globe with the sole aim of making life better.

Mollaei and Muki changing the world

“Judo should be free as art and science from any external influences, political, national, racial and financial or any other organised interest. And all things connected with it should be directed to its ultimate objective, the benefit of humanity” ~ Jigoro Kano

On World Judo Day, 28th October 2022, we must reflect on the many faces of inclusion and acknowledge both how far we have come and also how far we still have to go. Take the time this week to reflect on your place in it and to make sure those around you feel welcome, valued and considered. Respecting everyone is part of our DNA and World Judo Day is here to nudge us, to remind us that a judo life is a good life but that we all have a responsibility to keep working at it to ensure it, we, always strive to be better than yesterday.

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