All Japan Judo Federation issued the following notification regarding the death of two elementary school students last year.

All Japan Judo Federation issued the following notification regarding the death of two elementary school students last year.

All Japan Judo Federation
November 12, 2019
Chairmen, Safe Instruction Officers of
Prefectural Judo Federations (Associations)
Serious Injury Prevention Committee
Motonobu Isomura, Chairman

Elimination of Elementary School Students’ Serious Judo Injuries (Notification)

We would like to express appreciation for your constant cooperation in the operations of All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF).
AJJF has been publishing information to promote the prevention of serious judo injuries while asking Prefectural Judo Federations (Associations) for their support and cooperation.

This year there were two incidents where an elementary school student was seriously injured. Both children hit their heads after being thrown, one during randori, the other during a repetitive throwing practice. They both developed acute subdural hematoma and one of them died. Both injuries occurred in the evening between long hours of practice.

Our promotional safety campaign has focused on serious injury prevention in junior high and high school judo club activities. Today we must urgently raise awareness on how to prevent injuries from involving children including elementary school students and preschoolers who practice at local dojo or children’s sports club.

Japan Sports Agency has issued a guideline defining the maximum frequency and the length of practice at after-school sports clubs in junior high schools and high schools. Based on this guideline, Nippon Junior High School Physical Culture Association, All Japan High School Federation and individual schools have indicated the purpose of their club activities and their outline of practice. On the other hand, the public guideline does not exist for sports activities for preschoolers and elementary school students at local children’s sports clubs. In some of the other sports and at the prefectural level, guidelines have been introduced to voluntarily control the excessive practice based on the win-at-all costs mentality.

For future development of judo, it is extremely important to expand the number of younger judoka which include preschool and elementary school students. Children’s serious injuries must absolutely be eradicated. Against this background the Serious Injury Prevention Committee has defined the following guidelines for elementary school students participating in judo practice. We ask Prefectural Judo Federations (Associations) to take this into account to review judo activities and provide safe instructions for children learning judo at dojos and children’s sports clubs.

Practice Guidelines for Elementary School Students

1 Number of days per week
The Appropriate number of days of judo practice per week should be determined by taking into account physical and mental development, health and injury prevention of elementary school students.
For example: No more than four days of participation per week including competition and practice matches. Three days or more should be rest days.

2 Number of hours per day
Based on the physical strength and ability of elementary school students, a reasonable number of hours per day must be decided. It should be no more than two hours per day. When defining the time to end evening practices, sufficient consideration should be given to the negative impact on the children’s condition at school the following day.
* If children participate in adults’ practice after the end of a children’s session, the above recommendations on the length and frequency of practice should be maintained, and their physical strength and condition should be taken into consideration. The instructor must take responsibility to ensure this.

3 Other considerations
1 Avoid the “victory-is-everything” mentality where only the practice of strong children is emphasized. Judo must be an exciting and significant sport for all participating children.

2 Taking into account physical growth and development of children, ensure opportunities and spare time to participate in other sports and voluntary activities.

3 Excessive mental and physical burdens on children with regards to competitions, invited matches and practice matches should be reduced by selectively chosen participation.

4 Eradicate physical violence such as hitting, kicking, striking with objects and throwing things, mental violence such as power harassment, excluding students, verbal threats, and antisocial behavior such as sexual harassment.

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