ABU DHABI: Professional Judo coach in the UAE Koki Ashida has been teaching the sport in several countries, sharing his passion for Judo with athletes.
Ashida told Arab News Japan he was interested in the sport since he was a child and watched the martial art competitions with his father, who was a fan.
“The more I watched them, the more I came to like it. Especially during the Athens Olympic games in 2004, which influenced me,” he said.
“Tadahiro Nomura and Kosei Inoue who participated in the Olympic games were so cool and I thought I wanted to be like them when I saw their fights, and I started doing Judo,” he added.
Ashida started his career in Judo when he was eight years old. His first Dojo was in a local police station and he trained there twice a week.
The Judo coach was always interested in living in a foreign country and considered moving to Uzbekistan to help athletes learn and practice the martial art. He moved there for a year and a half.
“However, before I went there, I had wondered if I should go to Uzbekistan because I have never lived in foreign country, also the language and the culture between Japan and Uzbekistan are different so I did not have confidence to work there,” Ashida told Arab News Japan. “Eventually I decided to go and work there. When I think back my memories in Uzbekistan, I had many troubles though, I enjoyed and could learn the new culture that is far from Japanese one. These experiences lead my current career in the UAE.”
In the UAE, Ashida worked in the capital city of Abu Dhabi. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Judo players reduced rapidly.
“To increase the number of Judo players in Abu Dhabi again is also an important work for me. Moreover, I am a national coach so I go to international competitions with my local players and compete. Of course, we sometimes have training camp to improve our Judo level and to win in international competitions,” he added.
Regarding his upcoming projects in the near future, Ashida said:” It’s important to increase the number of Judo players in the UAE Especially since most of Judo players are males as aspect of the culture in the UAE though, I would like to increase the number of female judo players and to spread ID (intellectual disability) Judo as well in the future.”