Hainaut Cup 2019 features Adapted Judo Kata championships

Quinten Fransman and Dion Sassen perform a modified nage-nō-kata. Click the photo to show the complete gallery.

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 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.

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.

OESN Lindesberg review

Finnish referee Joona Nakki in action at OESN 2019 – Joona is the first Special Needs referee to perform in a SNJU event ever!

The Board of the SNJU wishes to express its great appreciation for Frövi Judo’s skillful execution of the OESN tournament, last weekend in Lindesberg. Our sincere compliments for the tireless efforts of Johan Orrbo and his enthusiastic team for a wonderful weekend of tournaments, seminars and fun.

Details will be forthcoming soon for the next OESN, which will take place in 2020, in Ireland ☘️

SNJU will issue a full review about the event to its members soon.

A special mention for the young Finnish referee Joona Nakki, who competed on Saturday morning, but was a referee in the afternoon- the first Special Needs referee for an SNJU event ever!

Finally: to view the photos of this amazing event, click HERE.

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

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.


Tomas, James Tycho, Cilia, Bob

SNJU will launch coaching and training course

Dear SN/Adaptive judo coaches worldwide,

The SNJU, as part of our on-going international development and promotion of Special Needs/Adaptive judo, will shortly be embarking on an incredible SN/Adaptive coaching training programme and register.
The training programme will comprise of an online training moodle which will have disability awareness modules, inspirational video lessons and practical advice from some of the world’s foremost experts in the field of adaptive coaching.
It will also have a tatami based pre-arranged practical session and certification.
An international SNJU coaching register will also be compiled from all the coaches that successfully complete this course and will be part of the on-going training and development of SN/Adaptive judo worldwide.
To be part of this amazing opportunity pre-register for your online course by clicking here and log in details will be sent to you as soon as the course is ready to be launched.
Initial places will be limited so don’t waste any time – Register Today!
The Online course fee will be just €25 payable on registration and the practical training and assessment will be €20 payable on the day of the assessment and includes certification. To apply for the practical training, click here.

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.

Six athletes of Menomonee Judo Club will participate in IBSA Paralympic World Championships in Odilevas, Portugal

This is a text by Brett Wolf of the Menomonee Judo Club which is an SNJU registered club in the USA. The Board of SNJU can only add to Brett’s enthusiasm, and wish the players of Menomonee Judo Club the best of luck in Portugal!

The Menomonee Judo Club is very excited and honored to announce that next week, six of our athletes with visual impairment will be competing at the IBSA Paralympic World Championships in Odilevas, Portugal. The World Judo Championships are the first of six qualifying events for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Paralympic Judo is specifically geared towards athletes with varying levels of visual impairment. In 2012, Menomonee Judo was named the Paralympic Judo National Training Site, the only club with that distinction in the United States.