This article details a trend of serious, unrecognized injuries and a surprising number of deaths in Japanese youth Judo programs. I found this story to be of particular interest, since Judo is often advertised as a very safe martial arts activity for kids.
The take-home message:
”First of all, many judo instructors at Japanese schools are too ignorant about what to do when a serious incident occurs…”
The activity itself isn’t necessarily unsafe, but the environment and attitude in which it is trained can be. We’ve beaten this particular dead horse for a while, but it bears repeating. Instructors have a responsibility to know:
- their students’ limitations and health considerations
- the risks inherent in their activity
- what constitutes a serious injury
- how to avoid serious injuries
- what to do in the event of a serious injury
- what not to do in the event of a serious injury
The quote at the end of the article brings to mind the mindless culture of obedience, subservience and physical abuse that was encouraged/required in early Japanese University karate clubs (and still is, in some cases):
Mr Murakawa said: ”Children, afraid of getting beaten up, must obey the coach and cannot ask for a rest for no matter what.”
This attitude has absolutely no place in any training hall of any art anywhere. It’s not worth emulating, it’s not honorable, and it is not “traditional.” The sooner it’s discarded, the better. Getting tougher and finding out what you can take is valuable and worth pursuing; sacrificing your safety and health for macho posturing is not.