Jan Plas, founder of Mejiro Gym Amsterdam, went on a visit to Japan in 1975 with Jan van Looyen and Peter van der Hemel. In Japan he met with sensei Kurosaki at his dojo in Tokyo. The dojo of Kurosaki was situated in the “Mejiro” district so this is where the name originated from.
Jan Plas, impressed by the level of skill at Mejiro Gym Tokyo, decided to stay and train with famous champions like Fujiwara and Shima. Still impressed by all he experienced in Japan, Jan Plas, together with some other Muay-Thai pioneers, founded the N.K.B.B. (The Dutch Kickboxing Association). Boxing Gym Vermeulen provided accommodations for the newly formed Mejiro Gym Amsterdam. Among the first Mejiro Gym fighters were men like; Lucien Carbin, Johan Vos, Aris Koopman, Bert van Os, Thijs Veldman.
It was 1978 when they all moved to their own location at Lauriergracht 86 in Amsterdam. It was there that the now famous “Mejiro Style” was further developed and perfected. This resulted in the first of many national and international titles for Mejiro Gym. Muay Thai Kickboxing became more and more popular in Holland. The first big events were hosted at the Jaap Edenhal in Amsterdam and it was in this period that the rivalry with the other Amsterdam Vos Gym and Chakuriki started.
In 1982 Rob Kaman became the first world champion WKA kickboxing for Mejiro Gym. In the years after he was followed by; André Brilleman, Fred Royers and Milo el Geubli. They promoted the Mejiro Gym style worldwide, speed and strength in combination with highly developed techniques, worldwide to stimulate a whole new generation of Mejiro Gym fighters.
At the end of the 1980’s Mejiro Gym had their first champions of this new generation. Names such as Mustafa Yamali, Tom van de Berg, André Mannaart and Nina van Roeden still appeal to one’s imagination. Other famous fighters were Leo de Snoo, Iwan Grando, Paul Lamoth and Bob Schreiber.
The 90’s were also very successful for Mejiro Gym. Under the new owner and sensei André Mannaart with wins from Kaman over Hoost, Changpeuk, van de Vathorst, Verheije and the title at K1 in Paris, Mejiro Gym became one of the most famous dojos in the world. Other fighters like Mannaart, van de Berg en de Snoo also contributed to the worldwide success.
After the retirement of Kaman, van de Berg and de Snoo a new generation of fighters came up: Remy Bonjasky, Rodney Faverus, Rogier van der Heijden, Freek Ezechiels, Lorentz Bults en Donald Brenner.
Right now there’s again a new group of fighters ready to prove their skills in the ring; Sem Braan, Reamon Welboren, Brice Guidon and Roël Mannaart. Under supervision of sensei André Mannaart (world champion for WKA, WPKL, ISKA and WAKO), the success story is sure to be continued!
Under the guidance of Jan Plas, the Mejiro-Style produced many big names. It’s a long history of many victories, titles, and successful careers. After Jan Plas André Mannaart took over as coach, under his guidance are names to find as Remy Bonjasky and Peter Aerts, both now have a successful career. Below are all the legends that have fought for Mejiro Gym.