Project summary

Project summary:
EdJCO (EDucating Judo Coaches for Older practitioners) aims to empower judo coaches with the proper knowledge, skills and attitudes specifically related to this particular population of older individuals.

It is a project Co – Funded by the European Commission through Erasmus+ Sport Programme (Project Reference: 622155-EPP-1-2020-1-IT-SPO-SCP).

Start date: 01.01.2021.
End date: 31.12.2022.

The goal of the EdJCO project is to structure evidence- and eminence-base e-learning educational programme specifically tailored for judo coaches of older individuals. Thus contributing to the European policies on health-enhancing physical activity (World Health Organization, 2016) and the minimum require- ments in skills and competencies for coaches (European Commission, 2020), also in line with the founder of judo, Professor Jigaro Kano, who was the minister for Physical Education in Japan and Japan’s first IOC member. In fact, the structure of his judo was based on a progressing scientific understanding. In “Judo Kyohan” (1908, French Edition, 1911), Yokoyama and Oshima, in their transcription of Professor Kano’s lessons write: “About physical training, judo is important, because it gives the technical ability to fight to the developing body, …about fighting techniques, judo is again superior because every part of the body works in synonymy to the physiological laws, the application of forces agrees with the principles of mechan- ics, …finally the mind works in agreement with laws of psychology”. In one chapter about breaking the body’s balance Yokoyama and Oshima write again: “Much erudite mathematical evidence can be introduced to explain this problem … but we prefer to do so using the simple example of a stick motion in space…” In his book “Mind over muscle”, Kano claimed, “judo is the best form of Physical Education for all ages” (Kano, 2005). He came to this conclusion because his judo is not only a sport but a way of life as it combines mental discipline with physical education.

In teaching safe falling techniques, judo could be conceived as a valuable preventive measure of the annual ~40,000 deaths from falls of European older adults (65+years), and of the fall-related degenerative sequences ultimately leading to death in older individuals (EuroSafe, 2016). Please note, this figure is considered an underestimation of the true number of fall-related deaths.

The EdJCO project will benefit from a Team of academic and sports experts with a combined scientific and practical judo experience from six Member States and a Non-EU Member State, representing diverse European geographic areas and physical activity culture (European Commission, 2018). The IJF Academy Foundation established by the International Judo Federation in 2013 as its education body will be an added value. In fact, at present the IJF Academy Foundation is a licenced Higher Education Institute with more than 1,500 Alumni in 125 countries. The academics of the IJF Academy Foundation is teaming up with the academics of the University of Rome Foro Italico and specialised European judo organisations to develop, implement and maintain an educational programme targeted to the specific needs of certified judo coaches in and beyond Europe.

The EdJCO project will achieve its educational objective by generating thorough evidence- and eminence- base research grounded on the opinions, needs and experiences of judo coaches, as well as on the experimental approaches of scholars in geriatric physical activity and related sciences. Based on the outcomes of this research phase, the EdJCO project will create modules for a specialization course for certified judo coaches to be delivered on the IJF Academy online teaching platform. These modules will represent a platform for knowledge-exchange and educational resources, enhancing the health of the European and International judo community.

Operationally, the aims of the EdJCO project are:

  • to collect evidence- and eminence-base knowledge from multi-disciplinary experts in physical activity for older individuals, and from judo coaches. This novel information will advance the knowledge of the most relevant challenges for judo coaches and contribute to the bidirectional transfer of knowledge between the academic, the judo, and the health contexts;
  • to develop a conceptual framework of judo coaching for older practitioners, which will provide a sound theoretical basis for health-enhancing physical activity of an ageing society. The framework could also contribute to direct future research and educational content on active ageing;
  • to implement the distance and self-regulated international educational programme for judo coaches with information specifically related to older practitioners and based on a solid theoretical background, which will ensure its broad applicability in and beyond Europe. In accomplishing the judo education programme, coaches could develop personal skills and increase their professional awareness, effective- ness and satisfaction for the benefit of judo practice in the life course;
  • to raise the awareness of educational and sports staff, and policy makers on the promotion of sports practice with advancing age, which could contribute to the enhancement of a European active ageing society.