Judo teacher physically punishes students using strangling technique and explains he was teaching them a lesson

December 11, 2020
Kobe Shinbun Next

On September 25, around 4:30 pm, a junior high school judo club teacher (50) threw a student on the judo mat more than 10 times, followed by strangling him from behind using the single-wing strangle technique. It is a technique usually applied to make an opponent unconscious. The student thrashed his legs and soon fainted. The teacher, then, sat astride him and slapped him hard to wake him up. His back bone was fractured.

Two years ago, in April, 2018, All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF) appealed to stop the use of strangling technique-which would make the opponent unconscious-in judo classes because it was a violent, undesirable act. Problems had already occurred in Fukuoka and Fukushima. The judo club teacher must have known about the AJJF appeal. He has voluntarily acquired a C-level instructor qualification, which allows him to teach basic judo.

The student, who lost consciousness, tried to leave the judo hall after he revived, but he was pulled back by the teacher to continue practicing with him. He later said, “I was scared. Even the other teacher didn’t help me.” About 10 club members remained silent and watched. When he finally escaped from the hall in between different judo techniques applied by the teacher, the violent action was then directed to another student. The teacher pulled off the student’s glasses, repeatedly applied ground techniques and injured his neck.

The disciplinary dismissal of the teacher was announced at a press conference held at the Kobe Prefectural Office on November 24. A senior member of the prefectural government said, “The teacher thought he was teaching the students that what they did was wrong when they ate popsicles without permission. He decided severe actions should be taken.”

While corporal punishment is forbidden under the School Education Act, “disciplinary action” is accepted to educate children who conducted wrongful actions. In addition to this incident, corporal punishments have been repeatedly inflicted, going beyond the acceptable line drawn by the law. The actions of the teacher, in this case, were erratic and violent-even when his motive was to discipline the students.

The teacher was disciplined three times for physically punishing students in previous schools between 2011 and 2013; he slapped the face of a student who shouted abusive words to other schools at a judo tournament hall; he pushed down a student who had a bad attitude, and stepped on and kicked his face, which resulted in the student injuring his mouth; he head-butted a student, who fooled around while he was teaching, and broke the student’s nose. His violent actions against the students have escalated even though the motive was to teach them that what they did was wrong.

The city board of education and the school had punished the judo teacher three times but were unable to make him recognize his unacceptable behavior.

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