The Ben van der Eng Dojo is officially open!

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!

Click here for pictures of the proceedings

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Good news from Croatia and Romania!

Good news from the EJU Festival in Poreč, Croatia: Our rules (yes, the ones we have been working on since the end of the nineties) are now accepted as THE rules for Special Needs Judo. And, our divisioning system FCS is also accepted as THE system to be used in order to give Special Needs judoka a safe and fair competition experience. Below is a nice article from the Romanian paper Dešteptarea.

(Photo: EJU. Artikel: Dešteptarea, Translation: Google Translate. Link to original article)

From June 10-21, 2023, Croatia hosted the eighth edition of the EJU Judo Festival, the event ending with a series of activities dedicated to Special Needs athletes and coaches.
At the invitation of Denisa Marian (Deliu), advisor to the president of the European Judo Union, Romania was represented by CS Bronx Powerlifting Club Bacău, through coaches Daniel Zodian and Maria Budău, athletes Ionela Ivan, Grafian Cojocaru, Alexandru Zodian, Oana Panțiru, but also by the president of the club, Gabriela Iftimescu. Since the beginning of 2022, the club has brought to Romania the largest adapted judo campaign through which it proposed to children with mental disabilities a form of alternative therapy, through sports, in which no less than 729 children from the municipality participated Bacău, within the project “Judo is played, CE Spui?”, financed by the In Stare de Bine program, supported by Kaufland Romania and implemented by the Civil Society Development Foundation. In the year 2023, the campaign is to be expanded nationally, in 10 counties in the country, through the project “Judoka, rei!-Unde terimileri dispar…”, so that the educational and therapeutic value of judo is more and more intense promoted.
During the event, the participants enjoyed sessions of adapted judo, theoretical and practical seminars related to approaches to disabilities, the division of athletes according to the level of disability, but also the rules of Special Needs competitions, as well as games and activities informal, such as t-shirt painting or crafting. At the same time, the festival brought along judokas and coaches big names from the world of judo, such as Nuno Delgado and Malte Geppert, coordinators of the Judo for Children program in the European Judo Union, Marina Drascoviç, coordinator of the adapted judo department of the European Union of Judo, Barbara Matic, double world champion, and Olympic champion of Slovenian origin Tina Trstenjak.
Following the festival, where organizations from all over the world that work with judoka with mental disabilities were present for dialogue and exchange of best practices, the official regulations for holding Special Needs judo sports events will be published on the EJU website, as well as the way of recognition, definition and framing of disability, so that, at the European level, organizations can develop a unitary work system, removing organizational and participation conflicts.
The CS Bronx Powerlifting Club Bacău team, which, from 2021, was joined by Denisa Marian, is going to implement the first judo festival adapted alongside the European Judo Union. More than a sport, judo is a way to grow, push your limits and develop, an aspect that the Bronx Sport Club team wants to highlight by offering judo programs for typical children, but also atypical, to reach all schools in Romania, to students, physical education and sports teachers, but also to parents looking for a form of therapy for their children. The Fall School is just one example of a judo program that has been successfully implemented internationally and that can be fruitful in schools, but also in sports clubs, regardless of the sport practiced.
“Working with athletes with intellectual disabilities starts with understanding them. In people suffering from an intellectual disability, there are, according to doctors, deficiencies in two areas: at the level of intellectual functioning, through incapacity or reduced capacity for learning, motivation, decision-making and problem-solving, with an IQ below 70, and at the level of adaptive behaviors, which means the ordinary skills by which we survive in everyday life, from communication, interaction and self-care capacity. And judo comes and folds on every practitioner, because the needs of play, confidence, courage, interaction and communication are needs of every human being, regardless of abilities or disabilities. And, to quote our friends from the Special Needs Judo Foundation, promoters of adapted judo in Europe, SN judo is created for all judoka. Every participant will have the opportunity to enjoy and compete in judo together, at their own level, in the safest way possible. And this can be done because we made sure that the rules promote safety”, explained Daniel Zodian, CS Bronx Powerlifting Club Bacau coordinator judo coach.

Some comments on Divisioning

Hello judokas,

Recently we received questions from quite a number of judo coaches, teachers and other people dealing with A-Judo, asking us about the correct way to run a divisioning session: What should be in there? What is the actual purpose?

Remember that all our judoka are amateurs. The Monday after the tournament, they all go back to work, school or whatever else they do, and they should be able to do so without any injury. They rely on us, the experts, to have them put in the correct pool for maximal safety and fun.

In this article, we will try to put together some good practices and maybe some guidelines for divisioning.

First of all- what is the purposes of divisioning?

The purpose of divisioning is to put a judoka in one of the 5 FCS-classes, so that the competition can take place in a safe and fair manner, and that preventable injuries are exactly that: preventable. No more, no less.

Divisioning is done on what criteria?

  • Power – How powerful is the judoka and how does he/she utilise that power?
  • Responsiveness – How responsive is the judoka to sudden changes in situation?
  • Balance – How well-balanced is the judoka and if not, is he/she able to utilise his/her imbalance?
  • Will to win – Never mind how skilled a judoka is: If he/she doesn’t have a proper will to win, nothing will happen
  • Tactics – Does the judoka have a preferred tactic?

Divisioning is NOT done on:

  • Handicap
  • IQ
  • Experience
  • Country
  • The necessity to end up in a certain pool

..and nor is a higher evel a “promotion” from a lower level.

Let’s watch some video

SNJF have put together a number of instructional videos for EJU, to show examples of simple divisioning games. Please note: These games are just examples. Numerous other games can be figured out using the enormous toolkit that judo provides but remember: Judo is what the athletes are coming for and it is judo they should be tested on.

This video shows how to test ukemi-waza skills, and to see how fast and agile a judoka moves around on the tatami. The second part shows a test of the will to win.

Again, another test of the will to win, and how to turn over the other judoka.

A test of the judoka’s agility

A test of coordination and procedural insight

“The worst backpack in the world” tests power and the will to win.

In this game, one judoka lies on the ground and the other sits behind him in za-zen. Judoka one rolls away, judoka two tries to stop him. This game tests power and persistence.

Simple game: One judoka lies down and tries to stand up, the other tries to prevent this. Another test of power and persistence.

Two variations of a simple game: Both judoka turn their obi around so the knot is on their back. They will then try to grab each other’s knot. This game tests agility and movement speed and, if it is left to go on for a while, physical condition.

An escape game, where insight, tactics and agility is tested.

Non-judo games

As can be seen, all these games have judo aspects. Testing judoka with ball games or by having them balance on a string is less relevant. Judo has an enormous toolkit of techniques and methods from which to choose and there is no reason to use alternative tools.

More reading

..can be downloaded here.

Guidelines for divisioning of Special Needs judo tournaments v01 02EN


And here are the results of BENG-XXIII!

Many asked for the results of the BENG weekend. This takes a bit of time to compile, we have to pull them from several systems. But here they are!

Results Special Needs World Judo Games, Saturday April 15th

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Results Special Needs World Judo Games Kata, Saturday April 15th

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Results Ben van der Eng Memorial Sunday morning, April 16th

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Results Ben van der Eng Memorial Sunday afternoon, April 16th

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