The Amstelveen City Council was aware for quite some time that both BeterJudo and Special Needs Judo Foundation were looking for a suitable venue for their sport. Spring 2023, this all started to pick up speed through a great offer by the Council, by alderman Frank Berkhout: The old PE hall of the Piet Heijn School was made available to SNJF in the Amstelveen City Center. SNJF received the key in August and through incredibly hard work we managed to open a new dojo at the beginning of the new season.
Generous donation by various Dutch charity organisations allowed us to obtain a new tatami, wall protection and various thick crash mats, so as to modify the new dojo for our Special Needs judoka. And of course, it is entirely possible for mainstream judoka to use our new dojo as well. We plan to use the dojo for national and international training sessions for both mainstream and disabled judoka.
Friday, September 22nd, this all culminated:
The opening act for the new dojo was done by alderman Frank Berkhout, together with trainer Tycho van der Werff. Many prominent figures were present at the opening, amongst which national and international judo champions. The Judo Association (JBN) was present in the person of Hendrik Koppe.
Following the opening act, SNJF chairman Henk de Vries handed de official name plate of the dojo to mrs. Wil van der Eng-Kist, the wido of the late founder of SNJF, Ben van der Eng. The name of the dojo is now:
The Ben van der Eng Dojo
A special honor for BeterJudo trainer Tycho van der Werff was
A special honor for BeterJudo trainer Tycho van der Werff is when he received the IMAF and Kodokan Nederland pin of honor from Joop Pauel, co-founder of the International Martial Arts Federation and Kodokan Judo Nederland. Also, judo legend Karel Gietelink (8-times champion of the Netherlands, former national coach) presented Tycho with a plaque with kanji symbols stating “Beauty comes from within”. Of course, theis plaque will get a place of honour in the dojo!
After the official bit and some short speeches, Tycho and his colleagues presented a short judo lesson, in which all judoka participated. At 18:00, the normal scheduled lessons resumed- after all, they have to continue too!