Judo changed my life.
On March 11, 2011, Japan was severely hit by a massive earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami. 4 years later, JFTW features the people of the city of Rikuzentakata (Sensei Iwasaki Kenji, Osaka) which was ripped off the map during the disaster and we discover how it has impacted people’s life. We also discover the importance of judo in Japan, where the sport was born in 1882, through the testimonies of Olympic Champion, Tanimoto Ayumi and World Champion, Haga Ryunosuke
Judo is famous in Cuba. Despite the economical and social situation, Cuban athletes have been winning many world and Olympic medals for decades. JFTW features Daniel, whose dream is to go the Olympic Games one day. Living in a poor neighborhood of Havana and being an adopted child, he has to struggle to make his dream come true. Hain is blind and deaf, but judo helped him to be integrated and accepted with his difference within his living community. The movie also features, Olympic and World Champion, Idalys Ortiz, in her home village in a remote place outside of the capital.
Judo is very popular in Brazil and in the framework of the Rio Games the sport becomes even more popular. Nevertheless, the country faces a deep social and economical crisis, which symbol is the numerous favelas displayed across the country. JFTW features Raissa and as she explains: “Hate brought me to judo, love made me stay”. Flavio Canto (world and Olympic medalist) presents is project ‘Reaçao’ (reaction) which helps young people to change their lives through judo. Everything is put in perspective with Rafaela Silva, who was born in a favela and became the first Brazilian female world champion.
For several years, judo has helped young refugee children in the Kilis refugee camps in South Turkey. Escaping from the terror of the civil war in Syria, they try to rebuilt a safer life in really a difficult and complicated situation. Deeply traumatized by the war, hundreds of children follow an extensive judo program based on the judo values. Nominated for the Peace Nobel Prize this year, Kilis and its region are facing great challenges integrated hundreds of thousands of refugess. JFTW focuses on their daily life in the camp and how judo can help them.
Three years ago, the IJF launched the concept of ‘Judo Educational Journey (JEJ)’ through a certain territory. In 2016, the JEJ focused on Australia. JFTW shows the diversity of country which is the size of a continent. From the Tip of Australia and the aboriginal communities, to the south and finally to Sydney, Judo is present everywhere and has a real impact on local communities. JFTW explains how the sport of judo can help with the education of the youth. It presents the reality and the challenges as well as the opportunities of a colossal territory.
The African leg of the JFTW series focusses on Zambia in the South part of the continent. Over the years, judo has become the number one sport in Zambia bringing medal and honors. But the sport is also an important inclusive activity that helps to overcome a society which is ravaged by drugs, prostitution, unemployment and climate change. Mammah is a female judo coach in Livingston and she has already changed the life of many women and young girls, like Fillet a young teenager who used to sale goods in the street. Andrew lives in the capital and used to be one of those children smuggling things in the streets of Lusaka. Judo put him back on tracks. Father Jude is one of the founders of judo in the region.
Judo is becoming stronger and stronger in the country. A Judo for children project was launched and now the sport is practiced in about 200 schools. JFTW focusses on that dimension of judo. Vivien comes from a poor family 350km away from Budapest. She made the choice to come to the capital to change her life and find new opportunities through sport. Ungvari Miklos is gonna participate in his fourth Olympic Games this summer and was an Olympic silver medalist in London in 2012. But he was also raised by his mother, who raised alone ten children.