Gold-medal project: Judo seeks solutions in police training | Buffalo Sports | #sports | #elderly | #seniors
The workshop also offered a window into the different role an Olympic organization, and maybe the Olympics themselves, can play in society at large. The USA Judo P3 Program is sponsored by USA Judo, the six-person operation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that has helped Kayla Harrison and Ronda Rousey, now of Ultimate Fighting Championship fame, bring Olympic medals back home, but that also must constantly nourish its own grassroots system.
The national governing body has been losing ground on both fronts, most recently because of the pandemic, and over the years because of the growing popularity of other martial arts, such as jujitsu and taekwondo, that have kept judo in the shadows in America.
With an emphasis not on hitting, but rather on using leverage and body position to execute holds and takedowns, judo has long been easy to overlook, both in the days when Bruce Lee kicked and nunchucked martial arts into the American conscience, then more recently, when UFC octagons overshadowed boxing rings among a wide, big-spending cross-section of 21st-century sports fans.
“This hits a societal issue,” USA Judo CEO Keith Bryant said. “And for us, it has potential to get more people on the mat.”
In an exercise that cut to the core of the judo training, conference planners Taybren Lee and Mike Verdugo played suspects who were impaired, or mentally unstable, and challenged the officers to use judo to deescalate the situations. The scenarios were acted out as though they were happening in public, with pedestrians shooting the action from every angle on their phone cameras.