No weight reduction for children’s judo tournament

The Asahi Shimbun Digital

May 2, 2020


Children are told to lose weight for judo tournaments. This has been an unresolved issue for many years at judo tournaments for girls and boys who are still developing. One coach stood up to provide a solution.


Mr. Koichi Haramaki (56), who manages a judo school “Kijyukan” in Wakayama, aims at realizing a judo tournament where children don’t need to reduce weight. Cutting weight has been promoted by instructors and parents who strongly wanted the children to win competitions. Mr. Haramaki has been concerned about the risk of having elementary school children, who are developing, to lose weight simply to win.


Judo tournaments for children are usually divided into two or three classes; 50kg and under, and over 50kg classes or lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight classes. “Those who are slightly heavier than the threshold want to belong to the lighter class because it’s easier to win. Coaches and parents also want the children to win at any cost. We need to lead them to think that weight is not a problem,” said Mr. Haramaki.


Mr. Haramaki is planning to have a tournament with no preliminary defined weight classes. For example, if 30 members are going to participate, the children will be divided into three groups of 10 children each, lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight, based on their weight at the time of application. The group they will be assigned to will depend on the weight of the others and the number of children attending the competition. Reduction of weight will be meaningless.


This method, however, will require a burden on the part of the judo operators. Mr. Haramaki is now having software developed. When the number of attendants and their weights are entered, they will be categorized based on their weight, and the entire tournament will also be displayed. “We want to lower the cost of holding a tournament,” he said.


The software is being developed by an engineer who is an acquaintance of Mr. Haramaki and will cost about 1.2 million yen. They are seeking crowdfunding donations.

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