• My thoughts on the DO

    Starting practice is one of the most precious moments. It can be very exciting and eventually leads to fabulous growth. Now is the very moment to decide if to go all the way through.

    When I started judo practice I decided, that I would have done it for the rest of my life and that my Master would have been a constant presence in my thoughts.

    Fundamental to the DO is one ingredient: COMMITMENT, indicating, that self-discipline and persistence must be kept regardless of how hard it is.

    Practice puts us under constant stress, but without it we would never be able to develop our personality.

    Commitment and self-discipline are precious as gold for those seeking the DO.

  • In the Sixties

    1960: Bruno Carmeni throwing his opponent with seoi nage

  • More than 40 years later!

    2007: Bruno Carmeni throwing his opponent with seoi nage

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Judo, Judo Techniques and Tourism in the City of Kitwe (Zambia)

At the end of July 2010 we took a plane in Frankfurt heading to Africa for some training sessions with the National Judo Team of Zambia, very keen to share our knowledge on judo techniques. We had a stopover in South Africa at Johannesburg’s airport.

All over the airport we saw big ads concerning the 2010 Soccer World Cup, which took place shortly before our arrival. We were really impressed. Considering the architecture and the modern aspect of the shops we assumed, that everything had been redone recently. We remained only a few hours and then took our plane to our final destination.

28th July 2010 - Arrival at Ndola International Airport (ZAM)

Our first commitments in Zambia were taking place in the North of the country, therefore we landed at the International Airport of Ndola, which serves also the City of Kitwe. To say “International Airport” after seeing it is a little daring considering, that there simply is a landing lane, few hangars and the control tower.  

Upon our arrival getting off the plane we were greeted by a big group of primary school kids, which were right next to it. At the beginning we felt really important as we thought, that they were there for us, but then we realized, that they were on a field trip.

We did not know our African counterpart, Jonathan Kruger, who was supposed to pick us up at the airport, we thought, that we might miss him, therefore we put our caps of our judo club on and a polo shirt of the Italian National Team. 

Once we recovered our luggage and cleared customs a big blond man with blue eyes almost two meters tall came towards us along with an older man with white hair: we were quite surprised when we found out, that they were the two components of the Kruger family, father and son, our Zambian counterparts..

They took us to their lodge called Kumasamba “Where the sun goes down”. Being used to our lodges we really did not expect to be in the middle of no where in the savannah, right next to the Kafue river, which flows into the Zambesi, in company of crocodiles and hippos. Between our room and the savannah there were two small communicating lakes with a crocodile living in them, which has been adopted by the Kruger family and is called “Francis”.

Kumasamba Lodge - Francis The Crocodile

Mr. Kruger Senior told us, that “he was not aggressive, but it is not advisable to go into the water!”. Considering, that Aida jogged around the lake every morning at six, such info was not really reassuring.

Just to get an idea of the place, one day a group of apes arrived jumping from one tree to the other looking for food. They followed us all the way to the dojo, which was beyond the lake.

The Judo Club of Kumasamba is made of a brick building with a big sign saying “Kodokwan Judo-Jujutsu” and a tatami 7x8meters inside. No changing rooms, nor showers or sinks to wash the feet. It is obvious to ask who might be teaching there. Mr. Kruger Senior used to be a boxer and after having met a cappuccino brother judoka, started judo and jujitsu.

His son Jonathan went to Japan in the 90s for seven years to practice judo and study the language. This allowed him to represent Zambia at the 1995 Judo World Championships, which took place in Chiba, Japan.  

6th August 2010 - Members of the Judo Dojo Kodokwan Kumasamba with Shirts and Hats of the Judo Club Conegliano (Italy)

Kids from six years on come to this dojo. Most of them have to walk about 10km without shoes through the savannah to reach the club and then after the lesson walk back home often in the dark as there are no street lights, only those of the few cars, that might pass by. Thinking of our young spoiled kids…

In the following days we went to the main city Kitwe, where Jonathan had set an appointment with the Administration Director and the Head of the Council Police of the city. We had some very interesting and kind conversations with them and brought them the greetings from the Administration of Conegliano and of the FIJLKAM (Italian Judo Federation) President, Dott. Matteo Pellicone. We also discussed the opportunity of an eventual experience exchange between the Police of the two municipalities.

Kitwe’s Head of the Police has been very fond of our visit and of the fact to hold a self-defense class of the Italian Judo Federation called “Metodo Globale di Autodifesa” (MGA) FIJLKAM. We have been invited to take an official picture together with all the members of his corp.

The same afternoon the self-defense lessons started in the Kumasamba dojo. A big group of male and female police members participated with great enthusiasm, following with attention foreseen technical program step by step.  At the end of each lesson nobody really wanted to go home.  

30 Luglio 2010 - Foto Ufficiale con la Polizia Municipale di Kitwe (ZAM)

30th July 2010 - Official Picture with The Council Police of Kitwe (ZAM)

The regular judo sessions for kids and adults took place each other day. There were both beginners and experts, but it was quite difficult to distinguish them as many did not even have a judogi nor the proper belt. But besides this there were lots of natural talents with a great potential, if developed in the right way can give great results both on a National level and in the long run also on the International one.

Unfortunately the general economic of the country does not allow big steps nor a technical evolution within shortly.

Visiting the city of Kitwe we have noticed, that many streets are not even paved and in many cases the sidewalk is missing. Even though there is a lot of poverty, people try to find ways to survive. Along the main streets one finds vendors, that offer all kind of goods: local art, fruits, vegetables, eggs, telephone cards, beds, armchairs and whatever else.  

During our stay we have also been invited to hold a lesson on Italy at the Limapela School of Kitwe, an elementary and middle school. Everybody has been very interested and happy to gather information on our beautiful country. They asked several questions, some very interesting, others more personal. Everybody was quite amazed when we showed the entire series of Euro coins, as in Zambia there are only bills. They asked us to keep them for further studies.

Visit at the Private Zoo Close to Kumasamba - Nancy The Star a Python of 4 Meters!

Furthermore we went to visit a private zoo close to Kumasamba along with the Council Police. The owner is a judoka of the Kodokwan Dojo called Joshua. There are turtles, birds, a few descendants of the weasel family, a crocodile, some more common animals such as rabbits, cats and dogs. But the main attraction are the snakes, non only from Africa, but from all over the world. We also were introduced to the star of the zoo a python of 4 meters called Nancy, docile as a lamb.

All the people we met during our stay in this part of Zambia were very kind, outstanding hosts and very friendly. Therefore we have wonderful memories we took with us to Italy we are always going to treasure.  

Kumasamba Lodge - Bruno Carmeni in Front of Our Room

The second part of our trip was mainly dedicated to judo and the study of judo techniques with the National Team, after having received an invitation from the Zambian Judo Association, at the Jude Mckenna Arena in Lusaka, the capital city. Don’t miss the article on this part next week!


3 Responses

  1. Dear Bruno and Aida:
    First, we want to compliment you both on your Blog. It is rich in material and content especially for all who are actively or passively involved with the sport of Judo.
    Secondly, your trip to Zambia is one more example that Judo is truly an active part of your lives. Everyone exposed to both of you will see clearly that Judo is a passion and not just a part time activity.
    Keep up the great job being unselfish with your time and talent in making difference in the lives who come in contact with the Bruno / Aida team.

  2. Bruno Carmeni
    Greetings from the American Temple Training Union !

    Sir, I am writting you on behalf of your recent visit to our good friend Jonathan Kruger in Zambia. Jonathan is a member of our organization and a good and respected friend. We would like to add a short article about your visit to our good friend in our humble online magazine, we are doing this in a true effort to help our good friend there and his mission to help the wonderful people of Zambia in their Judo quest. Sir, you and I both know that our good friend could use our support and I would also extend my hand to you and offer you a page in our magazine for free to promote your club, blog or meaningful program for helping me in this matter. What I would need from you is simply a few photos of your visit and a short letter describing your time there. Further I would need an article from you for promoting you, your club or meaningful program with photos. Our magazine will be published on the 15th, I know this is short notice “but” I would truly thank you “if” you could help us with this.
    Best wishes and hoping to hear from you soon.

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