Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Background and aim. Judo is a popular sport worldwide. It was created as a means for holistic education and it is regularly practiced by hundreds of thousands of youngsters. This systematic review is aimed at summarizing the evidence on the physical, physiological/ motor and social/psychological effects of judo participation in children.
Methodology. The review was conducted according to the PRISMA-P protocol. The Cochrane Library, PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, SportDiscus, Web of Science, DOAJ, LILACS and SCIELO databases were consulted for document retrieval by using the terms “judo” and “child” and other related terms, and the snowballing technique was also used. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess the quality of the selected studies. The studied variables were study type and aims, sample, interventions and procedures, measurements and outcomes.
Results. Nine studies, all cohort studies, were selected for inclusion. Judo participation improved participants’ arms bone mineral and fitness in variables such as flexibility, muscular endurance or agility, and also avoided the increase of their subcutaneous fat levels, but did not prove to be superior to participation in other sports. On the contrary, judo participants showed higher levels of anger that their peers.
Conclusion. Research in this field is sorely lacking. Judo participation can be of help in achieving the World Health Organization’s suggested standards on physical activity for health, but special attention should be paid at the psychological outcomes of this participation as negative effects on anger have been reported.