Judo is unique amongst almost all sports and martial arts in that it utilises all parts and exercises all parts of the body and therefore provides a complete, exhaustive and exhausting exercise. It has been recognised by the IOC (International Olympics Committee) as making Judo "the most complete sport".
The principal aim of the BJC British Judo Foundation is to access and generate funding to support and develop community participation in grass-roots judo in the UK.
At the same time, Judo is comparatively safe. This is compared to other martial arts and to other sports. The reason being that the first thing a beginner to Judo learns is how to fall correctly. The combination of a full contact martial art that teaches balance, control, discipline, consideration for your partner and 'mutual benefit and welfare' that is also safe make Judo a positive formative experience for children. It is for this reason that Judo has been named as the "safest contact sport for children under the age of 13" by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Why does Judo deserve charity?
There are many sports and activities for children and adults within the UK. What makes Judo so special and deserving?
- Most clubs are run by dedicated and committed coaches and volunteers who put their time and energy in for the love of the sport with no financial return and in many cases, it personally costs.
- Many martial arts are run as a business. Judo is not. The whole ethos of Judo as envisioned by Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo is that it should be available to everyone. As a consequence, the club membership fees are very low, usually ranging from £1 - 3 per session. This is less than almost all sports available at the local sports centre thereby making it accessible to those on low income.
- The one major cost to running a Judo club is the purchase of a Tatami (the mats which are necessary for safe practice). Depending upon the size of the hall and the club, the cost will typically be between £4,000 to £8,000.
- Because Judo has a low entry cost, it is attractive for those in less affluent areas. Some of these enthusiastic club members need assistance with the purchase of a Judogi (typically around £30-£40 for a 'club' level player).
- For those who show talent and wish to push themselves to contest on the national and international circuit, there is the need to attend National Squad training sessions and enter a lot of competitions which entails a lot of travel.
- Judo is almost unique amongst sports in that VI (visually impaired) are able to take part and contest on a level playing field with the able bodied.
- Those who are disabled and have SEN are also able to take part. On the mat for the most part they are treated equally with the only allowances made to take into consideration their disadvantage.
- On the mat, all ethnic, racial, religious and gender barriers fall away. People quickly find out that the only thing that makes a difference is technique, effort and dedication.
But above and beyond all of these very valid points - Judo is fun, involving, complex, mentally demanding, physically exhausting and for those taking part, respect is gained for good sportsmanship, positive attitude, good etiquette and spirit.
Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo developed two core principles:
- Sei-ryoku Zen-you - Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort. That if one thinks about what one is doing and learns how to be efficient, less effort is required. This is important on the mat where a Judo contest is very demanding and one can only survive by understanding how to effectively use not only your own body but your opponents. But the principle also applies equally well off the mat.
- Ji-ta Kyou-ei - Mutual Welfare and Benefit. At Judo, one has to take care of ones partner and show courtesy and respect otherwise one will quickly find that one is running out of people to train with - Judo is almost alone amongst martial arts in that it just doesn't work if one does not have at least one partner. But again, this principle applies equally well off the mat in life generally, at home, school and work.
We therefore believe that Judo is not only an excellent sport and martial art but that it functions as a superb metaphor for life generally. Therefore our aim it to try to make Judo as widely available as possible so that our children can improve their character and fitness and through that, become better citizens.