So, to cut a short story even shorter, we’re not getting a new dojo. Yet…
Back in August 2022, the former Mill Road Library was put up for sale by Cambridgeshire County Council. The former library, built in 1892, is Grade II listed and recorded as an Asset of Community Value; as such only bids that promoted and improved the local community’s wellbeing were considered.
With the number of martial arts practitioners across Cambridge, a dojo in the centre of town could definitely be considered as promoting and improving the local community’s wellbeing. Such a historic building would be perfect for CUJC, which being the oldest Judo club outside of Japan really deserves its own dojo. A permanent dojo would also allow us to train more frequently and eliminate the need to move mats before and after every session (which, overtime, damages the mats).With such appealing prospects, we had to start preparing a bid.
After conversations with other martial arts clubs, the University, and the real estate agents, David-Benjamin (2018-20 President), Mike (Aikido Coach and CUJC member), and I started preparing a bid. Our viewing gave us an opportunity to visualise a new dojo within the 8m x 30m area. The ground floor could be filled with our recently purchased mats, the basement was large enough to be converted into changing rooms, and with the quadruple height ceilings, a loft space could be created for a variety of functions. However, it was not to be. Although the University fully supported this venture, it was not in a position to offer financial assistance.
I still believe CUJC, with its rich history, deserves a permanent dojo. Therefore, I am considering setting up some form of alumni committee, with the goal of fundraising for a dojo as well as other CUJC activities. If there are current members or alumni with any experience in fundraising, real estate, or would generally be keen to help, please get in touch at email@example.com as I will need all the help I can get!
Showgo Kimura, President 2022/23