Olympic Judo Coach Beat Students

January 30, 2013

Raw Story reports:

Japan’s Olympic female judokas were beaten with bamboo swords and slapped by their coaches, officials said, weeks after a schoolboy suicide sparked debate over corporal punishment.
A 15-strong group of judokas complained to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) last month that they had been subjected to physical punishment by the team’s head coach.
The group, which included athletes who took part in the London Olympics, charges that head coach Ryuji Sonoda routinely abused them, slapping them in the face and hitting them with thick wooden swords like those used in the Japanese martial art of kendo.
They also complained that some were forced to compete in matches while injured, local reports said.
(snip)
The case comes weeks after a Japanese high school student killed himself after repeated physical abuse from his basketball coach, an incident that has provoked a bout of national hand-wringing over the way children are disciplined.
Referring to Wednesday’s claims, education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura told reporters a re-think was required.
“It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching,” he said.
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I guess this should not be unexpected, but times are changing. The legacy of martial arts may lend itself to this abuse, especially in Japan.
But of course, the abuse of athletes is not unique to martial arts. I played
lots of sports in school; baseball and basketball in grade school, gymnastics, wrestling and football in high school, and martial arts as an adult.
I never saw any formal abuse of student athletes in any other sport – except football.
Some of the coaches were just plain assholes. I witnessed them beating and berating the kids, and I think it jaded me against football for life. By that time, I had seen enough coaches that really put their heart into training, not the back of their hand.

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