Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Effects of a judo training program on falling performance, fear of falling and exercise motivation in older novice judoka

Background. Multi-component group exercise programs are shown to prevent and reduce falls in older adults, with judo training producing positive effects on balance and bone health. Fear of falling (FoF) and negative feelings could lead to a decrease in physical activity, self-esteem, confidence, strength, and balance with advancing age. In contrast, enjoyment, motivation, and feelings of personal accomplishment support adherence to physical activity programs.
Aim. The study evaluated the effects of a 4-month judo program on fall skills and exercise motivation in older novice judoka (8 males, 8 females; age=69.3±3.9 years).
Methods. After each session, FoF and training enjoyment were assessed through Visual Analogue Scales (VAS). Before and after the program, Motives for Physical Activity Measure-Revised (MPAM-R) and Self-Regulation Questionnaire-Exercise (SRQ-E) were administered and two judo experts evaluated their breakfall-technique performance.
Results. Differences in fall skills, MPAM-R and SRQ-E, changes in FoF, enjoyment over sessions, and correlations of fall skills with MPAM-R and SRQ-E were ascertained. After the program, technical improvement in breakfall-technique performances (p<0.001) emerged, along with increased (p<0.05) enjoyment, competence, appearance, sociality (MPAM-R) and intrinsic motivation (SRQE). Fall skills and intrinsic motivation were correlated only after the intervention. VAS-FoF did not change and VAS-enjoyment remained steadily high.
Conclusions. Judo seems to be an enjoyable activity, suitable to improve both falling performance and motivation in older adults.