Building our Dojo
From the beginning of the club, we were training either within sports clubs or village halls. Two clubs we still hold today, we are proud of these clubs as they helped us create the beautiful dojo we have today. We feel it is important to not move on from these communities and continue to support the children within Dartford and Bexleyheath. Through years of saving, our next journey was beginning…
Many hands make light work. We’re very lucky at United Judo Club as we have over the years formed a family of judokas, parents, coaches and volunteers – through this and hard effort the target to build our very own dojo was possible. For a club, having your own practice area that you can be proud of, which helps get kids off the streets and individuals on the straight and narrow is a fantastic achievement. Since starting the club back in 2011, savings were made and sponsorship money was put into a pot rather than spending it on unnecessary things – the long-term goal was to create somewhere safe for people to practice.
In 2022, our coaches Paraic Hernon, Dan Gibbons and Ken Gibbons helped massively to build from the ground up our mat space sprung mat floor, spectator seating area, reception area and gong tori gate. In addition to our stars building the dojo we had a team of judokas helping to paint the club, clean the club and get it prepped for opening night – special thank you to everyone who helped us on this journey. It was important to us that the club was welcoming and unlike anything we’d seen before, so it was only appropriate for us to support a local artist and get her in to paint our walls with fantastic murals making a statement that judo clubs don’t have to just be black and white – special thank you to our artist, Kelly Hudson.
The hard work didn’t stop there as a digital advantage was needed, so with the funding of various sponsorships and charities we were able to afford televisions for judo analysis and inspirational footage display. In addition to the competitive boards we also have wall mounted, enabling us to hold judo competitions at the club itself. The support doesn’t stop there with donations being made left right and centre like the Podium stand built by Eric Caistor and carparking space from Dartfordians Rugby Club.
Our opening night could not have been better with Neil Adams MBE travelling all the way down south to help us open the club with a bang. The opening night consisted of friends and family from all over the years even those who have moved away – everyone travelled back to the club for the grand opening to make it a spectacular event.
We would not be here if not for our supporters, sponsors and judo family and for this we are eternally grateful. You’ve helped make a dream, a reality.