This weekend during the EJU European Judo Championships, the EJU Social Inclusion Award was granted to our Technical Director Tycho van der Werff (the 2019 award) and IK Sodra, the judo club of SNJU President Tomas Rundqvist (the 2020 award). SNJU is proud to have this important prize awarded to two of our board members, and it will certainly encourage us to keep up our work in the progression of Special Needs Judo.
Sunday April 11th, James Mulroy and Cecilia Evenblij (SNJU board members) organised and hosted the second in their series of six International Online Inclusive Judo Trainings. Once again it was an amazing success with nearly 90 participants from 8 countries including Ireland, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland and Spain. A special thanks to our Italian friends who delivered part of the session.
Next session will take place on 16th May.
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
Meet the group of prof. José Morales Aznar, performing Judo in COVID-19 protective gear.
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.
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
On Sunday, October 6th Judo Aiseau – Presles organised the 10th edition of the International Hainaut Cup. And for the first time, the organisation decided to have a “handi-kata” tournament alongside the original tournament.
What can we say- the tournament was very successful! Special Needs judoka showed their art, judged by the same jury as their regular friends.
We applaud Aiseau-Presles for their effort, in line with the interest that EJU have shown into the Adapted Kata sport and we hope that there will be a follow-up in 2020, and of course that their initiative will also encourage other clubs and organisations to organise an Adapted Kata tournament!
If a club is looking for advice on how to do this, then of course SNJU are always at your service to help you with your effort.
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.