neel beyers

your coach

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Hi, I’m
Neel Beyers

Your Coach at Yarra Judo.

I started my Judo journey at the age of 10, am still practising at the age of 54 and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. This is the beauty of judo, so aptly captured in this quote:

“You progress not through what has been done,
but reaching towards what has yet to be done.”
Kahlil Gibran


It all started as a favour!

A friend of my mother needed someone to go with her son to Judo and I absolutely loved that first lesson. Which sporty boy (I played rugby and tennis and took part in athletics and swimming) would not enjoy some wrestling and grappling with mates?


Benefits of Judo

Other benefits of judo came into play when playing other sports, i.e. rugby.  Although small and scrawny for my age, my inherent speed, together with the self-confidence and techniques learned from judo (i.e. how to tackle opponents much bigger than me), made me a prolific try scorer. This earned me recognition, thereby boosting my self esteem.

“It is not how many times you fall, but how many times you rise”.  This quote aptly sums up the inherent nature of judo which gets ingrained in any judoka, such as when I was running a hurdle race. When my foot hooked and I fell, I got up and completed the race – in my best time ever!


Standing up for myself 

Knowing that I could defend myself against bullies helped me carry myself with confidence (not arrogance) and this was very useful as I was not one of the ‘in’ kids in addition to being small and scrawny. Bullies are also wary of anyone that practices a martial sport. I only had to defend myself once in primary school and once in secondary school. A well-controlled throw with no pain inflicted, but nonetheless a huge scare to the bully was all that was necessary on both occasions.


To never give up 

Although I was never initially very good at judo, I loved the sport and the eastern traditions embedded in the practice. As I got older I occasionally made the provincial team, but only became a regular member of the provincial team after leaving school – winning the National Championship and gaining National Colours. On visiting my first club (I had by then moved to another part of the country) I will always remember my coach’s speech when introducing me. He said that he could never understand why I did not give up judo as I went to so many competitions, got thrown so many times and never won. Despite this I would be back at training the next week. He admitted that he never thought that I would reach the levels that I did.


Passing it on … 

I believe that the perseverance required to master new techniques, as well as the influence and approach of my coach, were key factors to me never giving up. His influence on my life was second only to my parents – something I will always treasure and I strive to have as good an influence on the children in my judo class.


What Judo has meant to me 

Judo is a lifestyle – a healthy, respectful, humble, courageous lifestyle. I will be forever grateful for all the benefits I received:

  • A strong, healthy body as a result of learning about nutrition to achieve weight divisions without starving myself and needing to maintain my fitness and strength. (That is how I learnt to eat my greens – low in kilojoules and high in nutrients. Judo was my motivation!)

  • The valuable contribution judo made to my academic development and scholastic achievements. I’m convinced that the perceptual-motion functions practiced over and over (and over!) again in my judo training contributed hugely to the development of my brain and capacity to learn.
  • The positive effect that the traits embedded in the moral code of judo had on my life – in my studies, career and how I live my life in general.


“For one thing, Judo in reality is not a mere sport or game.
I regard it as a principle of life, art and science.
In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment.”
Jigoro Kano – Founder of Judo


My family 

I have two boys aged 14 and 16 and happily married to my beautiful wife, Anphia.

One of my boys is “sporty” and eagerly attends my Judo classes, the other one is keener on art and books and is naturally more inclined to these pursuits than Judo. Although it sometimes takes a bit of negotiation to get him to class, the fact that he keeps coming proves that I am succeeding in keeping him engaged and interested. This has been a learning curve for me, which will stand me in good stead with all my students.

Click here to learn why I encourage both my boys to practise Judo.

My wife, Anphia, is not the wrestling type! Previously to establishing Yarra Judo, the boys were at another club and here the parents have to go on the mat with the children and help them practice the techniques. The boys loved it, as you can imagine, but Anphia approached each class with huge trepidation. Grappling with two growing boys was, to say the least, a challenge for her. However, as her judo skills involuntary developed, I am convinced she was actually looking forward to the next class. She won’t admit to this, of course.


  • South African National Judo Champion
  • Graded 3rd Dan
  • University of Stellenbosch Judo Club Coach for 6 years
  • Represented various South African Provincial Teams
  • Accredited Level 1 Australian Coach through Judo Federation of Australia
  • Work with children accreditation
  • First Aid Certificate


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Marissa James

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Jinga Low




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