SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) — As the Olympic games in Paris approach in 2024, the French and U.S. Judo Federations have teamed up to help promote the sport across North America. A judo clinic for kids was put on at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center with the message on the mat that judo is for everyone.
"Try judo," that was the message from Executive Manager of France Judo Herve Aka. "What is it? What does it mean? What is the purpose of judo?"
That is what the 120 kids who took part in a recent judo clinic found out.
"As you can see it is really easy to learn judo because you start with lower techniques," says France Olympian Gevrise Emane. "If you want to go further and join a club, then you can learn more techniques."
To help promote the sport, schools from across the United States were selected to teach the sport of judo in the form of clinics One school selected for the pilot program was Le Lycee Francais de San Diego.
"Judo is an amazing part of our program because it creates a lot of values," says principal Francois Tregouet. "The sport creates a lot of education skills on top of the academic skills, which is very beneficial to our students, families, and teachers."
Not only is this program about teaching the sport of judo, but also promotes social and physical inclusion. Robert Tanaka, who is visually impaired, is a member of the U.S, Paralympic team.
"Hopefully this can inspire kids with a disability, like a vision disability, to pursue a sport like judo," says Tanaka. "Just because you have a disability like myself doesn't mean you can't do judo."
While Olympic athletes compete for medals, this event is more about raising Olympic values like friendship, respect, and determination.
"The philosophy of judo is to be a good man and a good woman."