• Communication from the Board

    Christmas Greetings 2020

    Please enjoy Christmas Greetings from Italian members and friends


    The board of the SNJU would like to wish all our members, friends, sponsors, volunteers, officials, coaches and our amazing athletes a Very Special and Safe Christmas and New Year

    2020 was an extremely challenging year for everyone. A year that saw many of our tournaments, seminars, courses and trainings being cancelled or postponed.

    We foresee these challenging times continuing in the first half of 2021 but rest assure we are still working hard in the background preparing for events, projects and trainings once some normality has returned to the world.

    The SNJU continues to be a progressive force in the development of worldwide SN/Adaptive judo. 2020 saw our membership grow again with many new countries and federations becoming members. We truly believe together we can do more!

    2020 started off well for the SNJU as we launched our European Erasmus Project “Autjudo” with our research partners from Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. This project will explore the benefits of judo for people with autism and other disabilities. The project will run for three years and will produce an International Adapted Judo Best Practice Handbook as well as scientific findings and papers relating to the benefits of judo for people with autism.

    Competition Opportunities: Tournaments opportunities were nonexistence for most of the year. Many of our planned major tournaments were postponed or cancelled including the World SN Judo Games & BENG in the Netherlands, The Swiss SN Open and Erasmus Conference in Uster, Switzerland and the European SN Games in Ireland.

    The Swiss SN Open and Conference has been rescheduled for June 2021 and the European SN Games have been also rescheduled for October 2021. Further details will follow in the New Year.

    Development courses: Our online courses were incredibly busy throughout 2020 as many took to online learning during their imposed spare time. Our Adaptive Coaching Course was by far the busiest with a large number of coaches from all over the world signing up to learn a bit more about adaptive judo. This of course is a very positive development because as the popularity and demand for adaptive judo grows worldwide so does the need for knowledgeable and enthusiastic coaches.

    We approach 2021 with the same enthusiasm and drive as planned for in 2020 and aim to keep moving forward.

    For now we would like to wish the whole judo world and very Happy Christmas and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in 2021.


    The SNJU Team

    Tomas, James, Tycho, Cilia, Bob

    Comments Off on Christmas Greetings 2020
  • Regular News


    As part of our Special Features section, we would like to introduce Judo Club Zeleznicar Maribor, Slovenia.  This club is a recent and welcomed addition to the SNJU family; this is their story.

    Judo club Želežničar Maribor is one of the oldest judo clubs of Slovenia. We are located in the second biggest city, the city of Maribor. Since our founding in 1954 we have produced a number of top fighters – sportsmen, who achieved the highest domestic and international successes. The name of the club has been embeded in the minds of judoists ever since. We have been proud of our members’ achievements, have taken their loses with dignity and learned from their mistakes.

    The club performes judo in various age groups, i. e. pre-school judo group, U10 judo group, U12 judo group (girls and boys), U14 judo group (girls and boys), U18 judo group and recreational group for adults. In 2019 we’ve established an inclusive judo group for children and adolescents and have successfully performed it ever since.

    There have been people with specific impairments included in our regular programmes up until 2019, but since then they are participating workout in a secluded group, so that children with mental impairment (such as autism, Down syndrome) and other impairments (cerebral palsy) can participate. They wouldn’t be able to take place in judo training otherwise.

    The goal of the inclusion group is to be able to allow every individual to develope and performe to his best abbility possible and to achieve success, gain confindence and feel accepted as a part of a group. It is our endevour to make children with impairments feel equal amongst peers, so socialising in group practice and other club activities and events is of essential meaning. Individuals, that are able to take part in regular practice despite of their impairment are included in regular training acitivities. Therefore, individuals have been included in the pre-school judo group and other age groups. For instance, in the recreational group for adults a judo master II. dan, who was totally blinded by disease, participates and it is a great honour for us to be able to practice by his side. We are participating annualy in the national inclusive judo competition and organise tournaments within the club.

    We are extremely proud that our non-inclusive members have accepted the group as equal and are willing to participate in the group’s trainings to help out. Every person that steps onto our club’s tatami is an important part of the club chain and equaly significant. There is a common spirit of respect, help, co-operation, support and genuine joy about our members’ achievements that dominates our club.


    Comments Off on Introducing JUDO CLUB ŽELEZNIČAR MARIBOR Slovenia
  • Uncategorized

    SNJU Membership

    Dear Valued Members & Friends,
    The SNJU are now moving into our fifth  year in operation and what an amazing journey it has been so far.
    Our membership continues to grow and currently stands at 58 different bodies spanning 29 countries worldwide. This includes 6 national federations, 18 organisations and 34 clubs. This is incredible for the development and promotion of special needs judo and it is our plan to keep moving in this positive direction.
    Membership to the SNJU is renewable each year and is due on the 1st April 2020. We invite all our current members and all new members to join us for the coming years. There is a small administration fee of just €20 which can be paid through our website at  https://snju.org/product/snju-membership-renewal/ . An undated membership certificate will be issued once payment is received. As we are a non-profit organisation and run by volunteers, any proceeds collected will be used to further promote and develop SN Judo worldwide.
    In addition to the increasing membership, we have also had great success in the number of SNJU supported events over the past year and some really exciting events coming up this year.
    Our main supported events are the World SN Judo Games & BENG Tournament in Beverwijk, Netherlands 3 – 5th April, The Swedish SN Judo Open, Lindsburg 21st May, Swiss SN Championships, Uster 18– 20th June and the European SN Open in Ireland 15-18th October.  Our new international online SN event calendar is now available on our website https://snju.org/calendar/. If you would like anything added to the calendar please forward the details and we’ll add it.
    The SNJU team were also the main contributors to last year’s EJU Festival in Croatia where Special needs judo was a topic for the first time ever. It is planned to further develop our presence at this year’s event in June.
    Also in the past year the SNJU team have collaborated with the EU and a number of partner countries to develop an Erasmus+ research project that aims to research the positive effects the sport of judo has for people with autism. This is a three year project and you can follow its progress from here http://recerca.blanquerna.edu/autjudo/
    Following the success of our on-line SN referee development programme last year, we have recently launched our new on-line SN coaching programme. More information and registration can be found here https://snju.org/coaching-and-training-course/
    And finally we would like to thank you all for your continued support and we look forward to seeing and working with you all at some stage in the future. If any of our members would like to hold/host an event or workshop and would like assistance please do get in touch as we have a number of very experienced experts only too willing to help. Remember:
    Together we can do more.
  • Regular News,  Uncategorized

    Happy Christmas – Year in Review

    As we wish all our members and friends a very Happy Christmas we reflect on the amazing inclusive judo year we have shared together promoting and developing inclusion in judo worldwide.

    The SNJU continues to be a progressive force in the development of worldwide SN/Adaptive judo. 2019 saw our membership grow to an all time high with many new countries and federations becoming members of the fastest growing SN/Adaptive judo organization in the world.

    In the past eleven months we have achieved and surpassed some of our goals and ambitions for adaptive judo and look forward to the joys and challenges of 2020.

    2019 started off with our own board meeting in Switzerland at which we laid out our ambitious plans for the year ahead. These plans included more development courses, more competitive opportunities, more personal development and more unity amongst countries with SN judo programs. This we not only spoke about and planned – but also achieved!

    Competition Opportunities: This year we staged and supported the European Open SN Games in Sweden, the World SN Games in The Netherlands and the Swiss Open SN Championships in Switzerland. In additional our team was the lead support team for the Special Olympic World Games in Abu Dhabi. Individually each of our team members supported and organized inclusion events in their respective counties and helped many more in other countries.

    Development courses: Our online SN referee course continues to attract interested parties and has resulted in an international register of developing SN referee across the world. We continue to host workshops and seminars at all our supported events and this year we added some additional seminars of interest including therapy/disability assisted dogs programmes, SN tournament preparation, SN & unified kata to name but a few.

    In Switzerland this year we staged the first two day Coaching & Competition Seminar and workshops. A large number of our members clubs/countries took part in this incredible two day course which covered adaptive coaching, play & contest rules, disability awareness seminars, Judo games workshops and much more..  The event was run under the aspics of Special Olympics Switzerland, Swiss Judo Federation and run by SNJU directors James Mulroy and Cilia Evenblij.

    Unity and Inclusion: The SNJU has been working very hard to bring together as many SN judo organizations, clubs and federations for the single purpose of raising awareness and further developing adaptive/SN/inclusive judo worldwide. Early this year we had the ideal opportunity to do just that. For the very first time in judo history SN judo was invited to take part in the annual EJU Judo festival in Croatia. The SNJU were instrumental in delivering seminars, workshops and advice to a number of large interested audiences.

    Other amazing firsts was the inclusion of a number of teams who wowed the audience at this year’s EJU Kata Championships with demonstrations of adapted and unified kata. This we see as a major step forward in EJU thinking and policy and could possibly open the door to further development in this area of our sport.

    In other News: The board of the SNJU are delighted and excited to be the major contributors to the EU funded “Autjudo” Erasmus + programme. Funding was secured and the research program will run for the next three years across six European countries.

    We approach 2020 with the same enthusiasm and drive as 2019 and aim to keep moving forward. In 2020 we will be launching the long awaited online coaching course, this will go live in early January. Supported competitive events will include the World SN Games in Netherlands in April, the Swiss SN Open in June and the European Open SN Games in Ireland in October.

    In addition we will be staging a number of seminars and workshops again next year at the EJU Judo Festival in Croatia.

    For now we would like to wish the whole judo world and very Happy Christmas and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in 2020.

    SNJU Team Tomas, James, Tycho, Cilia, Bob  

    Comments Off on Happy Christmas – Year in Review
  • Uncategorized

    Progress and Success at European Kata Champioships

    Progress and Success

    The SNJU would like to congratulate our technical director Tycho and his kata partner David on their fantastic achievement of winning silver at the recent EJU European Kata Championships in Gran Canaria. Their performance in katame no kata was just 5 points off the gold medal spot.

    This alone gives us great pride; however the story doesn’t stop there. For the very first time in European Kata Championship history, a very special demonstration was invited to take place.

    With the progressive development of adaptive kata practice within SN judo across Europe, it was fitting for two teams from the Netherlands to demonstrate the possibilities of adaptive kata to a packed audience at this year’s European Kata Championships.

    First of the demonstrations came from the pairing of Sanne Simons and Thomas Schepen. Sanne and  Thomas both have Down Syndrome and both share their passion for Judo and in particular Judo Kata. They presented three adapted series of the nage no kata to a packed arena who could not contain their appreciation and excitement following the final rei. The standing ovation and applause lasted as long as the demonstration itself.

    When eventually the audience calmed down, it was the turn of Cees Roest and his kata partner Janienke Roelfsema.  Cees is paraplegic and his display of brilliance was performed from a kneeling position.  The various techniques were adapted to Cees’ condition, and they demonstrated a meticulously executed interpretation of nage-nō-kata. Again following the final rei, the arena goes wild with a well-deserved standing ovation and applause delivered by a stunned and appreciative audience.

    This is a major step forward for adaptive judo in general and adapted kata in particular. It is fair to say that the interest of the European judo community has been aroused and the possibilities acknowledged.

    SN Judo Kata has been developing across Europe for some time now and is now included in a number of SN judo tournaments, the biggest of which is at the SN World Judo Games in Beverwijk, Netherland in April each year. We are confident moving forward that SN kata can be included at more events both SN and mainstream and will promote positive inclusion right across our sport.  We would like to thank the EJU for having the vision and courage to understand and recognise the importance and possibilities of adapted judo and for taking the historic step forward to include all ability judoka in its future plans and visions.

    Comments Off on Progress and Success at European Kata Champioships
  • Uncategorized

    Swiss International SN Judo Festival

    Last weekend (20-23/6) the SNJU proudly supported the Swiss International SN Judo festival in conjunction with Special Olympics Switzerland and the hosts, Uster Judo club.

    Thursday 20/6

    It was an incredible 4 days of inclusion, play, fun, sightseeing and competition. The event started on Thursday with the arrival of international teams from Romania, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany and France. Two international inclusive training sessions were arranged by the hosts Judo club Uster and were run by SNJU directors James Mulroy and Cilia Evenblj. Fun and games was the topic of the day and a great session was enjoyed by all.

    Friday 21/6

    Friday morning it was time to see of the wonders Switzerland has to offer. With volunteer guides everyone boarded the train to see the magnificent Rhine fall, waterfalls. What an amazing trip with incredible views, great company and a soaking boat trip to the base of the waterfall.

    In the afternoon it was off to the venue for check-in and the now infamous mixed, mixed international team event.  This event mixes countries, players, coaches, weights and levels to create mixed mixed team who all compete together in a fun and friendly contest.

    Dinner was served for all at Scout House where most of the visitors made their home for the duration of their stay. As the very tired athletes headed off to get some sleep, the coaches, referees and guests gathered for our seminars and workshops.  In our quest to deliver new and interesting education seminars, James introduced a seminar on autism assistance dogs and their benefits and roles. He then handed over to parent Eamon who presented George the dog and informed every one of his and his children’s experience using a service dog.   The seminar was certainly interesting and attracted a lot of questions. Next up was the topic of divisioning and the importance of the involvement of coaches and referees. This was expertly delivered by Cilia. Last on the list was the contest and play safety rules seminar delivered by James.

    Saturday 22/6

    And on to the main event…   Saturday morning saw the arrival of the Swiss teams and the check-in and divisioning. The divisioning was led by Cilia and assisted by all the coaches as discussed the previous evening. The result of the divisioning was 24 beautifully created pools that were even and fair for the athletes. Competition started at 1.30 and was a beautiful display of friendship, skill, determination and judo spirit. The divisioning proved its worth with fair yet competitive pools in all categories.

    After the medal presentation it was back to the scout house for an evening food, drink, fun and laughter, a great end to a great event. Congratulations to Cilia for a great run event and to everyone involved in the preparation and execution of a wonderful festival of judo.

    Comments Off on Swiss International SN Judo Festival
  • Uncategorized

    Special Feature – Judo Klub Sokel, Solenvia

    The SNJU are proud to introduce you to one of our member organisation/clubs, who are the first to be featured in our Special Features section of our website.

    This new section of the website is aimed at promoting and highlighting the amazing work that is going on all over the world in the area of inclusive judo.

    Welcome to Judo Klub Sokol, Slovenia.

    Judo Klub Sokol is a judo club that has been working in the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia for over 24 years. They are an enthusiastic small club with a lot of warm-hearted and open-minded people, aiming to contribute to the development of their society.

    They started as a section of the Judo Club Golovec in 1987. This section became so numerous that they decided to set up an independent club in 1993, with the main goal of spreading the philosophy of this martial art in Ljubljana (Slovenia). Initially, the club started with a very few members, but with the effort and dedication of everybody, started growing slowly.

    In the recent years, the club has experienced a substantial growth, and it has turned into an institution that works for the improvement of society using sports as a tool to achieve this goal. However, it has never lost the atmosphere that characterizes it, being always a family club where everybody is welcome and free to bring new ideas.

    As a good example of this, most of the people who are working or volunteering in the club were practising judo with us previously, and some of them are even combining working and participating in classes as judo pupils as well. All trainers are professional judokas with broad experience on teaching. Some of them were very successful competitors in national and international judo competitions.

    They are also one of the few sport clubs in Slovenia that welcome judokas with disabilities in our classes, including them in every activity we make, and integrating them into the groups, in order to give them an opportunity to participate as anyone else.

    Inclusion is the main topic that concerns us nowadays. They are working very hard to show society that it is possible to include people with disabilities in the same classes as people without disabilities, thus normalizing a situation that they find unfair.

    “Many times families with kids with disabilities have to face barriers when they are trying to enrol their kids in sports, just because they are different. That is our reason, to work for a more human world, in which everyone can participate and bring their skills to our activities”.

    The club works with people aged from 5 to 75 years old. Currently, with a membership of circ. 300 students.

    Here are some great videos about inclusive judo from Judo Klub Sokol:

    1. Festival juda za vse Jožeta Škrabe, Koper 2018 –  2nd Judo Festival for All Jože Škraba 2018
    2. Obisk predsednika RS Boruta Pahorja –  Visit of the President of Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor in inclusive judo training 2019
    3. Svetovne igre SOS in obisk predsednika – World Special Olympic Gold Medal and president on national TV 2019
    4. Adrijan in Benjamin – evropska promotorja združenega športa – Adrian & Benjamin are SOEE young promotors of unified sport

    Contact person: Viktorija Pečnikar Oblak

    Email: viktorija@judoklubsokol.si

    Telephone: 00 386 31 766 880

    Address: Pokopališka ulica 35, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

    Open hours: Monday till Friday from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

    Comments Off on Special Feature – Judo Klub Sokel, Solenvia
  • Uncategorized

    SNJU Renewal Invite

    Dear SNJU friends & members,

    We thank you for your support to date and hope we can rely on your continued support into the future.

    Over the past 12 months the SNJU have been working tirelessly on the promotion, development and raising awareness of SN/adapted Judo worldwide.

    In this time we have

    • increased our membership to 56 member clubs/organisations/Federations spanning over 26 countries
    • launched an online SN referee training program
    • Hosted a number of high profile SN judo tournaments
    • Been instrumental in the running of the Special Olympic World Games – Judo in Abu Dhabi
    • Run a number of adaptive coaches courses in various countries
    • Identified and assisted in the setting up of new SN programs in various countries

    In the coming months we will be

    • Involved in an European Erasmus+ project to research and develop the effects of judo in people with special needs / autism
    • Launching an international online SN coaching program
    • Delivering special needs seminars at the upcoming EJU festival in Croatia
    • Running year 2 of the SN World Games in the Netherlands
    • Assisting in the running of the Swiss SN Championships
    • Running further adaptive coaching courses

    This is us just getting warmed up, there will be lots more development of SN judo worldwide as our program grows and more and more people get involved in this amazing part of our sport.

    To continue to be part of this wonderful journey we how invite you to renew your annual membership with us. This membership renewal is due the 1st April each year and cost just a nominal fee of  €20. You can renew by following this link https://snju.org/product/webstore-snju-membership/

    We thank you in advance for your support and look forward to working with you all in the future.

    SNJU Team

    Tomas, James Tycho, Cilia, Bob

    Comments Off on SNJU Renewal Invite
  • Communication from the Board

    SNJU cooperates with EU in the ERASMUS+ Project

    The SNJU board of directors in conjunction with the University of Barcelona are proud to be the driving force in a European Erasmus + project application to study the benefits of the adapted sport of Judo for people with autism.
    The study will last for three years and will see six European countries (Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Switzerland) working closely together in research, data collecting, seminars, international training & events and much more.
    We are very excited to prove what we already know, that participating in judo is hugely beneficial for people with autism and indeed many other disabilities.
    The first meeting of the whole group will take place in Barcelona on Friday 1st February 2019.

    Comments Off on SNJU cooperates with EU in the ERASMUS+ Project
  • Communication from the Board

    Enrollment for the Ben van der Eng Memorial is open!

    Dear Judo friends,

    It is a great pleasure to be able to invite you for the great Special Needs Judo tournament in Beverwijk.

    The 21st Ben van der Eng Memorial Tournament takes place on April 12, 13 and 14, 2019. Due to the large amount of participants and the fact that we do want divisioning, and we do want to show some educational stuff, in 2018 it was already necessary to include the Friday afternoon in our schedule. In 2019, the Friday afternoon is an integral part of the organisation.

    Hence, the tournament will be (tentatively) scheduled as follows:

    • Friday april 12 (afternoon): Divisioning and workshops
    • Saturday april 13 (ochtend): Special Needs World Judo Games
    • Saturday april 13 (afternoon): SNWJG Kata
    • Saturday april 13 (evening): Party in Castle Assumburg
    • Sunday april 14: BENG XXI

    Another change is a dedicated website for the tournament: http://bengmemorial.com

    All information on the tournament can be found at THIS LINK.

    Subscription forms can be downloaded HERE.

    Comments Off on Enrollment for the Ben van der Eng Memorial is open!