Since affiliating to the World Judo Federation (WJF), JFAUK has continued to integrate with a number of countries across the globe as part of its yearly calendar. With each trip, more bridges are built, more friendships are created and more connections with likeminded individuals are formed.
In recent years, the number of entries to WJF events have been increasing and diversifying; with a number of new schools, affiliations and countries attending WJF events and competitions to experience a traditional ruleset and learn from instructors who aim to teach judo holistically, rather than just focusing on principles and practises derived from an Olympic oriented ruleset.
In recent years JFAUK has been active with its integration across the European division of the WJF, regularly visiting and exchanging with countries such as Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. As a result of this integration, JFAUK president Sampson Sampson (8th Dan) has been active in running a number of courses and training camps as well as assisting in the running of WJF events through his role of Chairman of the WJF Referee Committee and Vice Chairman of WJF Technical Committee. Through these activities and the growth of the WJF, more and more judoka are becoming inspired by both the teaching methods of JFAUK, the vision of the WJF and the philosophies of our president, Sampson Sampson as well as other board members of the WJF such as Alfredo Vismara (9th Dan).
This ongoing integration, coupled with global frustrations at the current state of the martial art has led to a number of other judoka to seek an alternative path that segments from mainstream judo. This was first initiated by Avgeris Maistrellis (5th Dan) a Greek representative. Since meeting JFAUK in 2013 at the WJF European Championships, the integration between JFAUK and Greece has been ongoing. Through this integration Avgeris was soon inspired to follow the teachings of Sampson Sampson and adopt JFAUK’s philosophy, establishing Judo for All Greece (JFAGR); a WJF affiliated federation based in Greece that follows the same grading syllabus and structure as JFAUK.
More recently, the integration between JFAUK and Bulgaria has been snowballing, with Bulgarian representative Kayolan Kolev (2nd Dan) and JFAUK President Sampson Sampson (8th Dan) regularly exchanging ideas and principles whenever they meet on the WJF international circuit. Following a visit to the UK this year, Kayolan Kolev has decided to follow the same path as Avgeris and has now established Judo for All Bulgaria (JFABG), another WJF affiliated federation that too follows the same structure laid out by JFAUK.
However, the growth of JFAUK and the WJF has not stopped there. At this year’s WJF European Championships, a team of Turkish judoka attended for the first time and were unquestionably inspired by not only the unique display of judo but were inspired by the mentality and vision set out by JFAUK, the hosts JFAGR and the other officials of the WJF. As a result, the Turkish representatives have too decided to make their transition to traditional judo and following the same structure as JFAUK, JFAGR and JFABG, leading to the establishment of Judo for all Turkey (JFATR), yet another WJF affiliated federation that follows the same teaching philosophy first established by JFAUK.
This now means that JFAUK has three sister organisations, creating a strong force of four linked organisations each affiliated to the WJF and each following the same teaching philosophies and syllabus that were first established by the founding members of JFAUK.
The developments and growth of the WJF and Judo for All internationally are consistently moving forward as more and more judoka are become disillusioned with mainstream judo and look for an alternative that provides them with a structure to practice in a way that is not restricted by rulesets and mentalities that dilute and negate the martial art. We are excited by our recent growth and are extremely excited to continue to integrate and exchange ideas with more judoka, more clubs and more countries worldwide and invite all to join us on our journey.