Browse: Martial Arts
The state of judo in Britain
by Tropxe (U12952162) 14 August 2008
I'm even newer to judo than BBC's Nick Mullins and, probably for that reason, I'm just as bewildered as Nick by our lack of success at Beijing thus far, with only one judoka left to compete.
How many people out there have heard of koka or waza-ari?While non-world cup rugby isn't particularly popular when compared to football, the vast majority of people will be aware of terms like conversion or try when used in their rugby context. American Football and baseball are hardly popular in any way, shape or form in the UK and yet most people have heard of touchdowns and home runs. How many people out there have heard of koka or waza-ari? Personally I'd heard of tatami but that was due to a general interest in Japanese culture and having played a great deal of Japanese video games.
Despite the skill on display, the drama and the tension of the judo at Beijing, the BBC's coverage of judo has had it permanently locked away on BBCi while the mainstream audience get to watch people swimming forwards and backwards
The BBC's coverage of judo has had it permanently locked away on BBCiin straight lines with the winner, at least in the men's events, a foregone conclusion. But we all like swimming, don't we?
Even when trying to locate the appropriate part of the 606 boards to post this to, I had to scroll down to "Other Sport" and even then judo wasn't listed; one has to select "Martial Arts" in general. Imagine if football was located under "Other Sports" -> "Ball games". Even sports that are on life support in the UK, such as baseball and American Football, are listed separately while judo has to be put under the catch-all term of Martial Arts.
I'm not blaming the BBC at all, they obviously know what they're doing and they're aware of judo's popularity and have listed it accordingly. Judo is over 100 years old and has been an Olympic sport for 44 years, being shown as an Olympic demonstration 76 years ago by Kano himself. If it hasn't naturally caught on in Britain yet, I don't think it ever will. Notice that I say "naturally".
If judo hasn't naturally caught on in Britain yet, I don't think it ever willFor one reason or another, Britain has hardly shown much interest in judo but that isn't necessarily because judo somehow opposes British tastes. I really believe that judo needs to be promoted much more in Britain, and not just by sending judoka to schools or by putting a pile of pamphlets in town halls and youth clubs.
Earlier I said how most people haven't heard of a single judo term, unlike how they'd have heard of terms from fairly unpopular sports in the UK such as baseball, but they have all at least heard of judo itself. I'd go far as to say that everyone you could ask would have heard of judo. Maybe there'd be the odd exception but then isn't there always? So it seems that everyone is aware of judo but never crosses the line between being aware of its existence and actually being into the sport. I think those responsible for the running of judo in the UK really needs to figure out why and actually break down that barrier.
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