Why isn’t judo on the PE curriculum?
Yes, in the wrong hands this is very true which is why judo needs to be taught be trained professionals and not PE teachers – unless they themselves are judo trained. As Neil Adams says,
Judo is very much a specialist sport with some dangerous implications if not taught properly. I know Dan Grades who struggle to teach good sound technical Judo so a crash course to P.E student teachers would not be the answer.
Judo isn’t just a physical activity – it’s also a mental activity and so can play a huge part in developing character education. Judo needs to be more than an extra-curricular option but something to be included and integrated into the PE curriculum so that all students can benefit as it is meditative and can be life-changing.
Judo can improve a person, both physically, emotionally and in the wider context of society. It teaches boundaries, self-discipline and leadership.
Judo helps children control their emotions and particularly in relation to winning and losing. In judo you accept your wins gracefully and your losses too so it keeps you grounded and humble. No one enjoys losing but to let it eat away at you is counter-productive.
Worse, if you are a ‘bad loser’ then this will transfer into other areas of life. Losing a match and getting thrown about like a rag doll means looking at the reasons why and then taking steps to improve your performance. When you lose then you realise that someone else is better than you so you are reminded that you are not the best. It also acts as a reminder that you can be better and this requires hard work.
If you lose then you have two choices, quite or carry on with a positive mindset – that’s what grit and persistence is all about. Judo teaches you to train your weaknesses and fight with your strengths.
Judo teaches you to attack, not half-halfheartedly but giving 100% and really going for it. This takes courage and guts but then going for something that you really want normally does.
It also applies to parts of life where you are out of your comfort zone – attacking a situation with real effort and spirit means you give yourself the best chance. It’s true to say that courage is a muscle that gets stronger when you use it and it helps you face your fears. It teaches mental toughness and breeds confidence.
Judo teaches you that you need to work at techniques and strategies in order to get ‘good’ and this requires plenty of hard work – success isn’t immediate. But what does happen with consistent and mindful sparring, progress is made and its tangible.
Judo can clearly improve fitness levels but it can develop self-confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, social skills and help decrease violent behaviour, bad attitudes, bullying, bad language and disruptive behaviour. It can channel aggression and harness negative behaviours into something very positive.