Year In Review – December 23, 2014

2014 was a busy and exciting year for Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia. The growing number of seminars and dojo events gave students new avenues to pursue the martial way, while tournaments and gradings were opportunities to measure and reward the progress of KIMAA students in Kyokushin Karate and Kobudo.

Sydney, NSW

Sydney was once again the home of KIMAA’s major events of the year. KIMAA President Shihan Howard Lipman (8th Dan Kyokushin, 6th Dan Kobudo) oversaw activities at the Turramurra Honbu Dojo, as well as running seminars with the assistance of Shihan Rick Cunningham (6th Dan Kyokushin, 5th Dan Kobudo) at his Annangrove Dojo.

Kobudo Class, February 2014
Kobudo Class, February 2014

February saw Shihan Dez Paroz of Shorinjiryu Karate return as a guest instructor for KIMAA. After teaching the Jō to Kobudo students last July, Shihan Paroz led a Senior First Aid course for KIMAA’s black belts and senior kyu grades.

Following the November 2013 trip to Okinawa, a Kobudo grading was held December last year. Sempai Todd Murphy, Sempai Alex Lloyd and Sempai Don Cheong received their belts from Shihan Cunningham in February and were presented their certificates by Shihan Lipman in March. Kobudo training has been diligently attended by the core group of Sydney students throughout 2014, as many of the class look towards heading back to Okinawa to train with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama (10th Dan) in March 2015.

The biannual KIMAA seminars were held in April and August this year. Instructors and students from the North Coast and Brisbane dojos flew down to Sydney for these events. Both weekends followed the same template: Kobudo training on the Saturday afternoon, with an all-day Karate session on the Sunday. The Sunday classes were attended by students of all grade levels, and was a prerequisite for anyone attempting either the June or September senior gradings. The Sunday sessions were also attended by students of Knox Grammar School.

The seminars this year had an increased focus on bunkai (self-defence applications derived from kata). This was to provide students with a wider repertoire of self-defence techniques, as well as increasing their understanding of the katas they perform in class every training. Instruction was led by Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham and Sensei Peter OliveThe August seminar also focused on tameshiwari, where students enjoyed smashing through a great deal of wood.

This year saw many from KIMAA earn new Dan (black belt) grades. In a June Black Belt grading, Azaan Vohra and Jason Lambe were graded to 1st Dan and Sempai James Campbell to 2nd Dan. Sensei Ian Holdaway was promoted to 3rd Dan in August. After attempting a gruelling grading in September, Sensei Jon Ellis received his 3rd Dan, while Sempai Rob James, Sempai Alex Lloyd and Sempai Todd Murphy all received their 2nd Dan.

These grade promotions were earned from the long years of service to the organisation and regular hard work in training. They reflect the growing collective knowledge of KIMAA instructors. Sensei Jon and Sempai Rob run Ballina and Aspley dojos respectively, while Sensei Ian and Sempai Todd regularly teach at Annangrove, and Sempai James and Sempai Alex at Turramurra.

Sempai James in the August 2014 tournament
Sempai James in the August 2014 tournament

Sydney students were also very active – and successful – in tournaments in 2014. Sempai James Campbell competed in his first tournament, the Queensland Kyokushin State Titles, in May and was runner up in his division.

He later competed in the annual Australian Open Full Contact Karate Tournament in August. Sempai Ben Ng and Sempai Don Cheong from Turramurra Dojo and Daniel Williams from Annangrove Dojo also competed in this tournament. Daniel won the 3rd and 4th Kyu Open Heavy Weight division.

All students did their instructors proud and admirably represented KIMAA. They followed a hard training program under the watchful eyes of Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham and Sensei Mark Shelmerdine. Sempai James and Sempai Don will compete in Japan next March, representing Australia.

In November, three students from Turramurra Dojo fought in a tournament run by the International Federation of Karate Kyokushinkai Australia. Brothers Angus and Victor Sweeney, students of Shihan Howard Lipman and Sensei James Sidwell, both won places. Angus came Second in the Cadet Male Heavy Weight division and Victor Third in the Boys 14-15 years over 70kg. Young Zac Zibaee was originally a Knox Prep Karate student taught by Shihan Lipman and Sempai Alex Lloyd, but has since also trained with Shihan Lipman and Sensei James in the Turramurra Dojo Little Lions classes. Zac placed Second in the Boys 11-14 years 40-45kg. Shihan Lipman was very pleased with all the boys’ efforts and looks forward to watching them give it another go in future tournaments.

Knox Karate Demonstration, November 2014

Knox School Karate had another successful year. Students participated in the major seminars, and Zac Zibaee in a tournament.

Gradings for Knox were held in May and November, with many students moving up through the Kyu belt levels. Once again, Knox held an end-of-year Karate BBQ at the school. This was the first year where the BBQ also included a demonstration for parents.

2015 will be the tenth of year of Knox’s affiliation with KIMAA.

The Turramurra Dojo kids class rounded off the year for Sydney with a grading in December. Belts and certificates were awarded in the final training session for 2015, on December 19th.


North Coast, NSW

Lismore Dojo and Ballina Dojo saw a flurry of growth and activity in 2014, led by Sensei Mark McFadden (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo) and Sensei Jon Ellis (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo). Shihan Rick Cunningham came up from Sydney to take seminars for the North Coast karateka. One was held recently in October. A black belt training day also took place in April, led by Shihan Cunningham.

Blue September fundraiser at Lismore Dojo
Blue September fundraiser event at Lismore Dojo

Besides Sensei Jon Ellis’s promotion to ‘Sensei’ (3rd Dan) and Jeremy Gray reaching 1st Kyu in Sydney’s September grading, the North Coast held their own gradings. This included a Little Lions grading in April, among others, documented photographically on the North Coast Facebook page. The attendance and success of these gradings and seminars were marked by an increasing body of students at Lismore and Ballina dojos, all passionately striving to better their karate.

Creative Weapons win at NAS
Creative Weapons win at NAS

Sensei Mark played host at Lismore Dojo to more than just gradings and seminars, including the Blue September fundraiser event. Sensei Mark, assisted by Sensei Jon and others, also cooked a record number of snags at the various Bunnings BBQ events, raising funds for the dojo and promoting the Kyokushin way.

The North Coast enjoyed many successes in tournaments in 2013, and this continued in 2014. Patricia Tan placed First in the Advanced Women’s Kata division in the National All Styles in July, as well as competing in the Traditional Weapons section. Wesley Snyder placed Third in the 14-years-old age group in the 10th-4th Kyu Kata section in the July NAS. Trish continued her streak of tournament victories by placing Third in her Kata division of the Queensland NAS in October. In this event, she also competed with Sensei Mark McFadden in the Creative Weapons division. Sensei Mark and Trish placed First.

Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon, Sempai Wally and Jeremy Gray, Trish Tan, Will Brook and others from the North Coast were regular attendees of seminars and gradings in Sydney as well.

North Coast with Sydney Senseis
North Coast karateka with Senseis from Turramurra Dojo at the Sydney September grading. L-R: Sensei James Sidwell, Jeremy Gray, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Jon Ellis, Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, Will Brook and Sempai Wally Gray

Brisbane, QLD

Sempai Rob James (2nd Dan Kyokushin) led Aspley Dojo into its third year of operation in 2014.

Sempai Rob strove to keep giving his students new challenges in their study of Kyokushin. Sempai Rob often took students to seminars held at Lismore Dojo. He returned the favour and played host in May and November, with instructors and students from the North Coast dojos travelling up to Brisbane to train with Sempai Rob’s students.

Sempai Rob held a Karate grading in March and an Open Kata Tournament in July, among other grading events. All were great successes, with a strong, healthy core group of Kyokushin students developing at Aspley Dojo.

Aspley Dojo with Shihans
Shihan Lipman, Sempai Rob, Jermaine, Shihan Cunningham

KIMAA’s Queensland branch trained hard throughout 2014, as evidenced through Sempai Rob’s keen posting on the Aspley Dojo Facebook page. The students were constantly challenged by their instructor, as well as often being motivated by their Sempai’s regular online updates and images.

Sempai Rob brought his senior student, Jermaine, down to train in Sydney. Jermaine, like his Sempai, attempted the senior grading in Sydney in September.

In other news


A new Student Profiles section started on the KIMAA website this year. Four students were profiled: Josh Darley, Turramurra Dojo Little Lion; Eliza Bolger, Aspley Dojo Little Lion; Sempai James Campbell, Turramurra Dojo Nidan; and Ayla Calnan, Ballina Dojo Little Lion. These profiles will continue in 2015. These are to complement the Karate instructor and Kobudo instructor profiles already on this website, building the reputation of what KIMAA is all about: its students. It is also for the stories of these exemplar students to be shared across dojos and to motivate one another to keep pushing and training harder.

Shihan Bob Boulton

On December 2nd, Shihan Bob Boulton sadly passed away. Shihan Boulton was an early student of Sosai Mas Oyama at the Honbu in Tokyo and brought Kyokushin to the United Kingdom in the 1960s. Shihan Boulton then moved to Australia and was responsible for the martial arts training and development of KIMAA President Shihan Howard Lipman. May he rest in peace.

Looking forward

There is a lot to look forward to in 2015 for all KIMAA dojos. This includes a fast-approaching Japan group tour in March, for training with Sensei Hokama and competing in an international Kyokushin tournament.

Your instructor will advise you of which dates your dojo is closed over the holiday period, or of your holiday training timetable.

Annangrove Dojo will stay open on Monday nights, with training at 6.30-8.00pm on the 22nd and 29th of December. Turramurra Dojo will reopen on Monday the 5th of January.

KIMAA instructors wish their students a safe and happy holiday season.

KIMAA's head instructors: Sempai Jon, Sensei Mark, Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham & Sempai Rob
KIMAA’s head instructors: Sensei Jon, Sensei Mark, Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham & Sempai Rob – April 2014