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19990328_Easter promotional tournament

    "Hajime, Matte, Osejkomi, Ippon... as Shakespeare would have said "It's all Japanese to me". Judo is not only a sport but also a way of life." The Malta Judo Federation has been promoting this motto for some years.
    It has not only promoted, but invested a lot of studies and research on how to make judo attractive to the very young judokas (five to nine years), known as dragons. Annual European seminars are organised specifically on the subject of teaching youths and children. During these seminars, the achievement in a developed country in this field is being exchanged among specialised instructors. It is hoped that very soon a "European" method of teaching will be produced.
    The French, with half a million judokas, have contributed to the classification and methodology of teaching the various sectors of age groups. The German Federation, with a great number of world and Olympic champions, contribute their experience in competitive introduction their experience in competitive introduction of judo. The Swedes, renowned for their successful level of judo for women, have described how they managed to achieve this. The Italians, with their capability of analysing systems, have shown us their organisation of club sessions. The British with their flair for innovation, explain games and judo playing. many other countries where you would nor dream that they even have judo, came up with their particular proposals.
    Malta, a tiny speck in the Mediterranean, has shown that they are also avant grade in this sport developed by a small Japanese professor 100 years ago from the more aggressive discipline of self-defence known as jujitsu. This man was Jigaro Kano, who became the first president of the Japan Olympic Committee.
    In Malta, the first experiments in teaching children started in Fr Hilary's Marsa Sports Centre, together with gymnastics. Hundreds of kid ranging from five to 16 years used to be thrown in together in one huge melting pot just the way we used to make wine in Malta - by throwing in all kinds of grapes in one press to produce local wine. That wine had a market at that time and so did our judo lessons. From these first lessons, Laurie Pace was to distinguish herself and win the only medal for Malta in the Commonwealth Games in Aukland 10 years later.
    Judo has now matured accordingly. Presently the Judo Federation nurseries and youth centres offer classes for children five to nine years, 10 years to 12 years and 13 years to 15 years. 
    This specialisation could not be achieved without a hefty investment into the preparation of qualified coaches . Contrary to popular impression that "failed coaches can teach nursery classes," only top quality coaches can qualify to teach children and youths. 
    In this attempt, the federation has found the assistance of Maltacom p.l.c. Recently the parents of the many children who participated in the Maltacom Easter Promotional Judo tournament could watch the results.
    On two Tatami (Judo mats) the countless children took their turn in showing their skills in this sport of oriental origin. On one mat the little dragons were Ied and coached by the referee in the first steps of judo. After bowing to each other, showing respect, they took turns to demonstrate their o-goshi, Ippon seonage, keza gatame (all Judo techniques) learned during these classes.
    No competition was allowed, coaching was taboo and sow as their parents' instructions. The dragon had to show skill, etiquette and discipline.
    At the end they all received a judo medal and an enthusiastic applause from the spectators.
    On the other mat, their older club mates were attempting their first shiai (competition) under special rules introduced only last December during the Christmas Maltacom promotional judo tournament. This time the federation had the assistance and experience of Sig. Bisazza, an Italian referee who had been applying these rules during the Italian Federation's activities for the past two years.
    All these rules were introduced to encourage judo skill and not competitive wrestling. More importance was given to skill and any technique, which could be considered as dangerous such as grabbing around the neck, winding techniques, and sacrifice throws were prohibited, pending penalties if attempted.
    Attacks kneeling down or attacks below the belt (leg grabbing) were also prohibited. This system interfered with those judokas who were concentrating on competitive techniques but it did not prevent the more skillful judokas from showing very attractive judo. This system was very successful and looks to become the future for this category of judokas. These new rules will be discussed in the next seminar in Rome next July. These judokas were also awarded a medal each for participation: however, the table officials kept records of their results and the boy and girl with the best cumulative results were sponsored to participate in the Torneo Judo Insieme held in Messina.
    Now that the main competitions are over, the second term of judo lessons has started. These lessons will be held till July when the very polular summer camp gets under way, lasting up to September. Those interested to join may call Vicky Licari on 319944 Mondays to Fridays between 9am and 5pm.