Name of the program: SCHOOLJUDO.NL Number of schools: 412 Number of children: 45,000 Founding year: 2004 Founder(s) program: Ruben HOUKES, Ziggy TABACZNIK

About the Program

Schooljudo.nl started on the premise that society is becoming tougher and that schools think it is important to teach young people a code of conduct and standard life skills through sports. This could be done with the philosophy of judo, for this reason, Schooljudo.nl uses JUDO VALUES to create a new and playful methodology for physical education as well as in classrooms. By participating in this program, children in primary schools learn physical and social skills with judo lessons. In the beginning, the program was mainly aimed towards promoting judo in schools. But throughout the years, Ruben and Ziggy learned that the program did so much more. The program was, and is, teaching children skills for life.

Schooljudo.nl is a professional organization.

The program is officially recognized by the government. The main office is based in Haarlem and has 10 employees in the office. Next to that there are approximately 5 drivers and 70 judo teachers hired by the company. There are over 400 schools in the project with more than 40.000 children. The organization has several partnerships with i.e. a health insurance company and Disney.


Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal is that by the year of 2030, 1,000,000 children can enjoy Schooljudo.

Support next to IJF

  • IT4kids
  • Gemeenten
  • FedEx (TNT)
  • Gezonde School
  • Stichting Aandacht voor Pesten
  • Disney
  • ZIEN!


  • Improve physical/emotional skills
  • Safe school environment (no bullying)
  • Digital Learning Environment


  • Year-round program
  • Costs logistics
  • Long term collaboration with freelance Entertrainers

Best Practices

  • Values Translated

Schooljudo.nl translated the moral code into 6 values of Schooljudo.nl: Trust, Working together, Respect, Self-control, Resilience and Discipline. They believe that children learn the most when they have fun, so they added Fun as the seventh value. The program is a continued education system for groups 3-8 in primary schools (children age 5-12). When a school enters the program, all groups will start with the value Trust as the theme for the year. The exercises in judo and in the classroom are divided for the different age groups of the school. But because the theme is the same, the children of the whole school can help each other to learn about trust.

  • Connection to the classroom

Aside from judo lessons, there are much more exercises and games in the program that teach the children about the values. With the help of Yos Lotens (judo teacher, educator and writer of several judo books), they created a feedback method that can be used in every situation. It helps the children to give compliments and feedback to each other. As for the school, it creates a safe environment where children can give their opinion and treat each other with respect. (Read more about the thums and feedback method in the teachers guidelines that you can find in our toolkit.)

To make this happen, the school teachers and judo teachers work together. Before the program starts, the school teachers will participate in a workshop about judo and its values. The judo teacher will always introduce himself to the classroom. During the program, the school teacher is always present at the judo lessons. One of our aims is to help the school teachers to lower the workload for them. During the judo lessons, the school teacher can observe the group instead of being in the middle. Alongside that, an online toolkit full of easy and fun exercises is designed to help them to teach the children in the classroom.

  • Collaboration with Disney

For children, it’s really important to use their imagination. Especially for the smaller children. When they can use the imagination, it’s much easier to stay focused and enjoy. This is why all the games in the program are supported by stories. Schooljudo.nl started a collaboration with Disney, because the storylines of Disney fit very well with the judo values and fit really well with the perception of the children. Together they created an online toolkit (a website only accesible) for the school teachers. The toolkit contains lessons and exercises for in the classroom and are supported with the storylines of Disney. Short clips of the Disney adventures help the children to learn about the theme. Again, the lessons are adjusted for each age group.

  • School judo as a brand

To make sure everybody recognizes the program, Schooljudo.nl created her own brand. Their corporate design is used throughout the whole program and in all their outings. For example, the logo of Schooljudo.nl and its values of judo are on the back and shoulders of each judogi. Schooljudo.nl created new job descriptions, so everybody understands the difference between club judo and judo in schools. The judo teacher is called ‘Entertrainer’, because learning skills for life works best when there is a mix between entertainment and training. It’s a different job than a judo teacher in clubs and therefore requires a different qualification. This is done with all the roles and other concepts of the program.

“I want to win, especially when I am the best in the field. As top athlete I know how it feels to win, but also how judo has many other benefits. As school teacher I know how it can help the pedagogical environment. It helps to gain self-confidence, teaches you how to fall and other important motor skills. I am Schooljudo ambassador because judo is the perfect outlet for me and I think that all children should have the possibility to experience this.”

Kim Polling, top athlete, school teacher and ambassador of schooljudo.nl

  • Big judo animation

To grow the program, they are using various marketing activities. One of them, is to make judo really visible to the community. At the end of a cycle, there are end events where a few schools come together. The municipality, school board, parents and children are invited to the end event. At the event, one of the national judo heroes leads the judo lesson. It’s a great way to show all stakeholders what Schooljudo.nl is all about.

"We believe in the power of judo. If you look around, you see that the society becomes tougher. Judo has the power to teach children important life lessons. If we bring this sport to primary schools, we can make the society a little better. We are convinced of that."
Ruben Houkes & Ziggy Tabacznik, founders of schooljudo.nl


If you are interested to know more about Judo in Schools in the Nederlands, please contact the project manager:

Contact person:

Peggy Buchter
Email address: [email protected]