3 May 2022

I don't bring bruises home, says judoka Vít Škrkoň

Judoka Vít Škrkoň (right) during a match | Autor: archives of V. Škrkoň

To defeat but not to injure. That is the goal of judokas, including the FME student Vít Škrkoň. A junior national champion, now competing in the men’s under-90-kilogram category, Škrkoň has been involved in judo since childhood. As he puts it, he likes the versatility and humility that come with this martial art, as mandated by its philosophy.

"As a child, I was quite wild, so my parents decided to enrol me in a martial art to calm me down," recalls Vít Škrkoň. He quickly embraced judo, even giving up hockey, which he used to play. "I liked the group I trained with and the knowledge that I was able to defend myself. In life, I’ve never fought in public; it's enough for the opponent to know that I practice judo and they keep their distance," he says with a smile.

According to him, behind the martial art with Japanese roots, there is much more than just the technical moves viewers see on television. "Judo is primarily about the flexibility and coordination of the whole body. Our warm-up always includes gymnastics, and strength training and physical fitness are also crucial. To master judo techniques, one must develop a certain sense; you have to know how to work with your opponent's centre of gravity and use their movements to your advantage. That is why a judoka can throw a heavier opponent. They sense where the opponent is unstable and exploit it,'' describes Škrkoň.

In 2019, Vítek won the Czech Junior Championship | Autor: archives of V. Škrkoň
In 2019, he was the junior national champion. The next season was disrupted by the pandemic, and now he competes in the men's under-90-kilogram category, where he secured a bronze medal in the last national championships. "I consider defeating the Italian opponent Kenny Komi Bedel my greatest life success. He became European vice-champion two months later and even ranked fifth in the World Championship the following year. Knowing that I defeated an opponent who achieved such success gave me a lot of confidence," he says.

No all kimonos are the same

Thanks to judo, Vít Škrkoň discovered a talent for other sports. "The falls are also an advantage; in judo, I learned to fall so as not to get injured. People often experience breaking their arm, for example, when falling on skis because they put it underneath. A judoka is used to falling and knows how to roll up to avoid getting hurt," says Škrkoň.

Causing harm is not the goal in judo | Autor: archives of V. Škrkoň
He doesn't bring home bruises from judo. The goal of this martial art is to beat but not hurt. "People see a kimono and it may seem that all Eastern martial arts have the same principle. However, the fact is that they differ a lot. For example, karate involves a lot of strikes and kicks. In contrast, judo translates as the gentle way. The goal is to throw the opponent and immobilise them, not to hit. Judo teaches humility and respect; at the beginning of the match, you bow to your opponent, and at the end, you shake hands," appreciates Škrkoň, adding that, like in any sport, injuries can occur, but causing harm is not the aim in judo.

Unfortunately, the crutches he brought to the interview confirm this. During a match, his opponent made a technically incorrect grip and sat down on his knee from the side. Now Škrkoň awaits surgery. "That's what happens in sports," he says calmly, looking forward to returning on the tatami after rehabilitation.

It is evident that he does sports mainly for joy. "I try to manage school, judo, and leave some free time for myself. I don't have a sports idol; I try to improve for myself and because I enjoy it. I know I will never make a living with judo," adds Škrkoň, who is completing his Bachelor's studies at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. In the future, he would like to gain experience in management and join the family business.



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