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Judo on the beach

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When you think of sport on the beach, the first activities that come to mind are very often beach volleyball, racket sports, paddle-boarding, swimming, sand yachting, rugby or football. But why not try judo on the beach? A very popular sport in France, this Japanese martial art can be found on a number of French beaches during the summer. An activity that offers many benefits.

Japan

Created in Japan in 1882, judo (literally "way of flexibility") is a Japanese martial art, the objective of which is to use speed, strength and control to make your opponent fall over and immobilise him or her with various holds. Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964 in Tokyo, and is now one of the most popular sports in the world. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, judo was the second sport with the most nations represented.

Judo in France

In our country, judo was introduced in the 1930s and enjoyed very rapid and continuous growth from the 1950s onwards. Today, this martial art has more than 500,000 licensees in France, making it the fifth most popular sport in our country. Benefitting from less media coverage than football, rugby or basketball, judo nevertheless enjoying tremendous popularity in France, in particular thanks to its great champions, such as David Douillet, Teddy Riner and Clarisse Agbegnenou, the sport’s ambassadors who have a large following particularly as a result of personal qualities shaped by the values that guide this sport.

Why do judo?

There are many reasons to take up judo. It is no coincidence that many parents choose this activity for their children from an early age (around 4 years old). Two reasons are recurrent in the practice of judo: firstly, because it is "more than a sport", it is a school of life, an ambition of its founder, Jigoro Kano, which, in France has resulted in the creation of a "moral code" that can be seen in dojos all over France. Clearly, judo helps youngsters to learn positive values (respect, self-control, etc.) that are essential for living in harmony in our society. One aspect cultivated by the French judo federation has become a part of French society: saying that you are a judoka very often provokes fear (usually expressed by a joke: "I’ll be nice to you otherwise you’ll make me fall or twist my arm”) and a spontaneous positive judgment about the person because the afore-mentioned values are generally associated with the person.

Also, judo is good for the body. Based on biomechanical principles, judo helps to develop flexibility, coordination, endurance, strength, and response time. Thus, one of the main assets of judo is that it helps practitioners work on their proprioception (the ability to control their movements in a given space) and thus, for example, overcome the fear of falling.

Why practice judo at the beach?

Whether you are a judoka or not, it is quite possible to practice your sport at the beach. Indeed, because of its texture, the sand allows movements without any risk of injury when falling. Likewise, while judogi is compulsory for practicing on a tatami mat, many judo movements can be performed without this garment in the sand.

The French judo federation organises its “Judo Littoral Tour” every year, an event that visits many French beaches during the summer months, during which young and old can learn judo on a tatami (framed by an inflatable structure) wearing judogis under the watchful eyes of approved instructors.  A great way to learn one of the favourite sports on the French in complete safety.

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