Unity, belief and growth at heart of Judo Federation (IJF) Development Project in Zambia

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Robert Van de Walle talked of the essence of judo and how by using this essence, one can grow in themselves and use it to tackle situations in everyday life ©ITG
Robert Van de Walle talked of the essence of judo and how by using this essence, one can grow in themselves and use it to tackle situations in everyday life ©ITG

March 1 – Delegates from the National Federations of southern African countries continued to learn about the importance of self belief and self righteousness today, during day two of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Development Project in Lusaka, Zambia.

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Led again by Olympic gold medallist Robert Van de Walle and University of Coimbra professor Alain Massart, day two looked to build on the principles of unity, team-work and perseverance seen in yesterday’s workshop, while also looking at judo knowledge and how it can be applied to the leadership of a federation.”First of all I would like to say that for 20 years I have been doing seminars,” said five-times Olympian Van de Walle.

“In the beginning it was outdoors activities, really physical, and I have been working with Alain, we have constructed a system around judo, and how can we use judo as a metaphor and example.

“I was talking to [IJF President] Marius Vizer maybe to use this, because I want to share it with others.

“He wants to promote judo in the world and maybe we can use this to help give the opportunity here and show what we can do.

“It’s difficult to explain what I’m really doing here because it’s always different because people are always different.

“For me the idea of being here is firstly, so you can teach them technique.

“But for me 80 per cent of success is the mental part.

“So for me it was; how can I give these people the heart of doing the training and the spirit and mentality, more than just the technique.

“So how can I lead these people, connect with these people, and make them grow a certain way and give them the values which I think are very important in the judo.”

Robert Van de Walle talked of the essence of judo and how by using this essence, one can grow in themselves and use it to tackle situations in everyday life ©ITGRobert Van de Walle talked of the essence of judo and how by using this essence, one can grow in themselves and use it to tackle situations in everyday life ©ITG

As with the first day of the project, Van de Walle and Massart were looking at how each delegate could improve and grow as an individual in order to become successful leaders for their federation.

Using judo as its core, the session looked at the drive for mutual well-being one must take in order to be successful in themselves, and how this could then be transferred on to others at their respective federation.

Van de Walle used the workshop to talk about the power of thought, and how one’s thoughts can influence everything around them.

He explained that it is thoughts that lead to the way people feel, with this then determining their attitude and behaviours in a given situation.

“Mindset equals the result of your thinking; thinking equals the result of self-communication,” he said.

This led to discussions on balancing controllable factors with those that are uncontrollable, and how you must adapt and change in any given situation in order to find the right solution to fit that particular problem.

“Problems are not problems, they are opportunities to learn,” explained Van de Walle.

The Olympian also used the seminar as a way to bring the delegates back to the basics of dealing with a situation.

Robert Van de Walle showing how the basics have to be right, similar to in a judo technique, in order for the results to be effective ©ITGRobert Van de Walle showing how the basics have to be right, similar to in a judo technique, in order for the results to be effective ©ITG

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Basing the ideas around judo techniques, he showed how a person must complete the basics right at first otherwise the whole structure will fail.

He explained that to move down the wrong path was simply a waste of effort, and someone must first learn the correct way to deal with something, be it themselves or the operation of their organisation, before they can dive headlong down that path.

“Do not run if you cannot walk,” he said.

With Van de Walle talking about the heart, the mind, and the passion needed to succeed as an individual and eventually a federation, Massart provided the delegation with scientific facts surrounding the sports, with particular detail on the nutrition needed to perform at the highest level.

The Coimbra University professor used his experience and knowledge to provide insight and explanation on the differences nutrition and diet can have on the body and how vital it is in order to maintain a high level of concentration, effort and motivation in order to succeed at this level.

“What I feel now is they are interested to develop judo in Africa, and I think it’s very important because judo has to grow in Africa,” said Massart.

“I understand the position of little judo countries in Africa, they are alone, and to put them together they will be stronger.

“And I hope that in two or three Olympiads we will start to see people from southern Africa because the potential for judo in Africa is fantastic.

“I already think that when Africa is awake it will be very complicated for other countries because they have very big potential.

“But for that they have to construct the basis, and I will be very happy if this seminar will be the beginning of this adventure.

“I give congratulations to the IJF and all federations of southern Africa because they were all open to come here and I feel they want to change and evaluate.

“They will need some help but I’m sure the IJF will be there to help.”

Alain Massart explained the importance of nutrition and eating correctly in order to allow the brain to function to its maximum capacity throughout the day ©ITGAlain Massart explained the importance of nutrition and eating correctly in order to allow the brain to function to its maximum capacity throughout the day ©ITG

Following the opening two days of the project, which focused on the heart, the mind and the spirit of the individual, the third and final day, led by IJF sports director Daniel Lascau and director of IJF veterans commission Andrei Bondor, will look at the more practical side of leading a National Federation.

Bondor will look at the building and managing of a National Federation and Lascau will talk about the organisation of competitions and events.Reflecting on the sessions over the past two days, both Massart and Van de Walle talked about the progression they saw within the group and the belief that they started to gain by the end, telling insidethegames they believe the potential is there to develop further in the future.

“The level they reach in this seminar I am very proud and very happy,” said Massart.

“We have met very valued people here, very interesting people and i think they have the potential.

“They need some help, that’s normal, but the potential is big.”

Van de Walle added: “In the beginning everybody was talking, nobody was listening, there was no organisation.

“So if you compare the first exercise with the one they did on the last day, they were really organised, they listen to each other, they chose a leader, they listen to him and they try to understand.

“They were building on each other’s ideas.

“What I see is that they’re starting to believe that things are possible a little bit more than in the start.”

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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