The role of judo in reducing the Fear of Falling among older people

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Yawara project aims to reduce fear of falling in older populations through the use of judo principles and methods.Evidence suggests a positive association between judo and Bone Mineral Density accrual in pre- and post-menopausal women (Ciaccioni, Condello, Guidotti, & Capranica, 2017). It is also known that fall training may be useful to prevent hip fractures in the elderly, in fact after fall training, fear of falling was reduced by 0.88 on a visual analogue scale (Groen, Smulders, De Kam, Duysens, & Weerdesteyn, 2010; Groen, Smulders, Duysens, Van Lankveld, & Weerdesteyn, 2010).In the UK, 33% of people over 65, and 50% of people over 80, fall at least once a year. Falls are the most common cause of death from injury in the over 65s, costing the National Health Service £2bn+ a year and over 4 million bed days (Fenton, 2014).National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggest intervention programmes of muscle strengthening and balance training are likely to be beneficial. Trials of exercise programmes have shown reductions in the risk of falling of between 35% and 54% (AgeUK, 2013).Based on Hertfordshire population data, a 35% reduction in falls through intervention would mean around 700,000 less falls in Hertfordshire over the next 20 years.The methodology will be a pre-post intervention method with two populations based in the University of Hertfordshire, UK and Matsumae Judo Juku, Mitaka, Japan, delivered by experienced judo coaches. Subjects will be over 65 years old, recruited by young judoka, often family members. The subjects will follow a 6-week programme of judo related exercises based on the curriculum ‘Yawara-chan Taiso’ (Kamitani, 2018). Data will be collected using the 6-item FFQ-R: Fear of Falling Questionnaire Revised and a 4-point Likert scale (Bower et al., 2015).It is hoped that the study will demonstrate a reduction in fear of falling following adherence to a judo-based exercise programme. We hope to be able to recommend that coaches should consider introducing judo fall techniques to prevent fall-related injuries, especially in the older population. In this way judo may be able to impact on this issue and make a wider contribution to society.ReferencesAgeUK. (2013). Falls prevention exercise: Following the evidence. Retrieved from Bower, E. S., Wetherell, J. L., Merz, C. C., Petkus, A. J., Malcarne, V. L., & Lenze, E. J. (2015). A new measure of fear of falling: psychometric properties of the fear of falling questionnaire revised (FFQ-R). International psychogeriatrics, 27(7), 1121-1133. Ciaccioni, S., Condello, G., Guidotti, F., & Capranica, L. (2017). Effects of Judo Training on Bones: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of strength and conditioning research. Fenton, K. (2014). The human cost of falls. Public Health Matters. Groen, B. E., Smulders, E., De Kam, D., Duysens, J., & Weerdesteyn, V. (2010). Martial arts fall training to prevent hip fractures in the elderly. Osteoporosis international, 21(2), 215-221. Groen, B. E., Smulders, E., Duysens, J., Van Lankveld, W., & Weerdesteyn, V. (2010). Could martial arts fall training be safe for persons with osteoporosis?: a feasibility study. BMC research notes, 3(1), 111. Kamitani, T. (2018). Yawara chan Taiso. Tokyo: Baseball Magazine.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 1st Commonwealth Judo Conference Proceedings
EditorsMike Callan
Place of PublicationWalsall, UK
PublisherCommonwealth Judo Association
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2019
EventThe 1st Commonwealth Judo Conference - University of Wolverhampton, West Midlands, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Aug 201928 Aug 2019


ConferenceThe 1st Commonwealth Judo Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityWest Midlands
Internet address


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