From Australia to Argentina, the World Judo Family was united by its support for the 5th edition of the World Judo Day. Perhaps fortuitously as the theme for this year was ‘Unity’ and there was plenty of it on display on the 155th birth anniversary of Master Kano.
“I congratulate the international judo community on the occasion of the 5th edition of the World Judo Day. Unity is very important for the international judo community because it is related to the dignity, values and honour of our sport. I wish that the international judo community works with unity, harmony and peace for the benefit of our sport,” said Mr. Marius Vizer, the president of the International Judo Federation.
To further spread the values and message of judo, judo federations, clubs and communities across the world organised special programmes. At the centre of all these activities was initiation of more people into the sport and to provide a greater sense of belonging to the dedicated practitioners of the art.
With the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam due to start in 2 days time, the World Judo Day also assumed a rather poetic setting as the capital of the United Arab Emirates became the melting pot of the world’s elite. With 92 countries in attendance, the warm-up area was a veritable personification of this year’s theme as scores of judoka spoke only one common language, that of judo.
“The one important lesson to learn and teaching to propagate when we travel the world is to respect everyone. Everybody has a different way of doing things and it is important that respect is maintained,” opined 2-time world champion (-52 kg), Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo, when asked about the unity that the annual judo calendar brings to the global judo community. Kelmendi herself has done her bit in bringing a country together through the power of judo and all of Kosovo is rallying behind her to bring unprecedented sporting glory to the nation.
One champion who has been there in bringing that particular glory to a nation is Arsen Galstyan. The Russian won the gold medal in judo in London in 2012 and remembers very clearly how it brought an entire nation together in celebration of the feat. “It always starts with teamwork,” said Galstyan but there is something even more holistic about judo, according to the teachings of Master Kano himself. It is a unification of body and mind, which is enhanced by every step a judoka takes to achieve success and glory.
WJD project in Puerto Rico
“When I travel across the world to practice judo, I come across many cultures and their teachings. All of these are important to observe so that I can not just be a better judoka but also a better person,” explained Galstyan.
The teachings of judo apply not just to a dojo but also to life and that was exactly the aim of Jigoro Kano. The world has embraced these values and this unification extends even beyond this most glorious day.