Year In Review – December 20, 2018

For Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia, 2018 was a year of consolidating knowledge, pursuing higher technical ability and pushing new goals in tournaments.

Sempai Jason Lambe and Sempai Patricia Tan during the Sydney KIMAA Seminar.

Three major seminars were held. The first took place in Sydney, at Shihan Rick Cunningham’s Annangrove Dojo. The seminar focused on all things Kyokushin – kihon (basics), kata (forms), kumite (sparring) and tameshiwari (board breaking). The seminar had students from all the New South Wales dojos in attendance. Some standout board breaking performances in the video below include Sensei Ben Ng, Sempai Jason Lambe, Sempai Joshua Darley and Sempai Angus Sweeney.

Wesley Snider of Lismore Dojo tests his flexibility in the North Coast KIMAA Seminar.

Training continued at a relentless pace in the lead-up to junior and senior gradings in May and June. In May, Hanshi Howard Lipman taught at the KIMAA North Coast Seminar, hosted at both Sensei Mark McFadden’s Lismore Dojo and Sensei Jon Ellis’s Ballina Dojo. Sensei Rob James and students of his Brisbane Dojo also participated. This was Hanshi’s second North Coast trip in as many years. The junior grades and those unable to make the Sydney trips thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being taught by the head of KIMAA. The seminar ended with a junior grading, where Hanshi assessed the students.

Sensei Alex Lloyd during the grading.

The senior Kyokushin grading in June brought members from KIMAA back together. Karateka from Turramurra, Annangrove, Lismore and Young dojos were all assessed by Hanshi. Sean Stevens had the honour – and the pressure – of being the first student from Young Dojo, having become part of KIMAA last year, to be assessed at a KIMAA senior grading. Despite some nerves, Sean took on the challenge. Wesley Snider of Lismore, despite suffering bronchitis, stepped up and achieved the rank of 1st Kyu. And two students from Turramurra received new black belt grades: Jasper Choi fought through the 40 fights for Shodan (1st Dan), becoming a Sempai; and Alex Lloyd reached the rank of Sandan (3rd Dan), becoming a Sensei.

Sempai Jasper and Sensei Alex also wrote essays for their gradings, published on the KIMAA website: ‘Growing Up With the Martial Arts’ and ‘The Role of Teaching in the Development of a Martial Artist’.

Shihan Peter Olive instructing.

In between the major calendar events, each dojo continued the hard work. The Sydney KIMAA yudansha (black belt grades) came together when they could to train. Two dedicated classes were held at Turramurra Dojo in February and August. At Turramurra, Hanshi Howard pushed his senior grades to take up the mantle of teaching on more occasions, with the General classes rotating between the instruction of Hanshi, Shihan Peter Olive, Shihan Idir Bahamid, Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, Sensei James Sidwell, Sensei Ben and Sensei Alex. Sempai Jasper, in the lead up to his grading and in the months following, became an integral part of the Kids classes, either as instructor or in assistance to Hanshi Howard and Sensei James – despite undergoing his Year 12 Higher School Certificate. Annangrove Dojo, meanwhile, saw an expansion of its timetable, with Sempai Jason beginning Saturday morning classes, providing more opportunities for Annangrove students to train. This is an excellent step for a young Nidan (2nd Dan) who, under the tutelage of Shihan Rick, Shihan Peter, Sensei Paul Finnerty and Sensei Ian Holdaway, is beginning to walk the long path of teaching.

Jermaine Downs, of Brisbane Dojo, at the North Coast KIMAA Seminar.

Similar efforts were replicated at Sensei Rob James’s Brisbane Dojo, with Sensei Rob’s senior student, then-1st kyu Jermaine Downs, being a significant support in the adults and Little Lions classes. Sensei Rob also chose to embrace the reputation of the ‘Sunshine State’, regularly taking his students to outdoor training sessions. By exposing his students to different environments, it takes them out of their comfort zones and increases awareness in training. Another significant initiative undertaken by Sensei Rob was the commencement of martial arts classes specifically tailored for children on the autism spectrum. These were conducted at the Pine Rivers PCYC and will resume in January 2019 – interested parties should contact Sensei Rob at his number listed on this page.

KIMAA North Coast Little Lions at the NAS.

Between their own seminar and travelling to Sydney for seminars and gradings, the North Coast calendar was already full. But that was hardly an obstacle for these karateka. Students of Lismore are regular competitors at the National All Styles tournaments, which continued through 2018. Under the tutelage of Sensei Mark McFadden, Sempai Wally Gray and Sempai Patricia Tan, many Little Lions gave it a crack both on the sparring mats and in kata demonstrations. Ballina Dojo had an exciting relocation – and space upgrade. The new dojo opened in August, with Sensei Jon Ellis receiving great assistance from his loyal brown belts and ‘dojo sergeant major’ Larissa Watson.

Following the 2017 introduction of Naihanchi kata into the KIMAA syllabus, honing this kata was a focal point of training throughout the year for all KIMAA students, under Shihan Idir’s supervision.

Sensei Mark Shelmerdine runs through the Bo with students at the Shihan Ken Seminar.

The study of Okinawan Kobudo continued in 2018 across KIMAA. In Brisbane, Sensei Rob ran Kobudo study groups during the year, focusing primarily on the Bo staff. Sensei Dave and others at Young Dojo gained further exposure to Kobudo during Sydney seminars. The North Coast and Sydney Kobudo classes ran regularly, with chief instructors being Sensei Mark McFadden and Sensei Jon Ellis, and Shihan Rick Cunningham and Sensei Mark Shelmerdine respectively. The North Coast junior Kobudo students continued to expand their kata repertoire, while the seniors particularly focused on the new Eku kata taught at the 2017 Shihan Ken Seminar. In August, Hanshi Howard Lipman graded Sensei Alex Lloyd to 3rd Dan and Sensei James Sidwell to 2nd Dan in Kobudo, which was certified by Sensei Hokama.

Shihan Ken Ogura demonstrates bunkai with Sempai James Campbell.

The penultimate calendar event that brought the dojos together was the 2018 Shihan Ken Seminar. This was the third Australian seminar featuring Shihan Ken Ogura as the guest instructor, following the 2016 and 2017 seminars, and the 2015 and 2017 Japan trips. Over the course of the week, Shihan Ken exhaustively went through kata, bunkai (self-defence applications) and Kobudo with karateka of all grade levels from the New South Wales dojos, and some guests from other organisations. The seminar was a highlight of the year, and exemplifies the ongoing relationships between KIMAA and Japan.

Sensei David Craigie with Josh and Damon at the KIKO Tournament.

Throughout the course of the year, Sensei David Craigie at Young Dojo had his students hard at work on their kumite, with an eye to competing in tournaments. Josh Galea and Damon Townsend competed in a local Griffith tournament in September, both placing First in their respective divisions. Josh powered through his opponents, while Damon executed a brilliant knock-out kick. They followed this up in November, at the KIKO National Tournament held in Sydney by Kancho Doug Turnbull. Josh and Damon again took First places, returning to Young with a delighted Sensei and the news that they were national champions.

Sempai Jermaine Downs and Hanshi Howard Lipman after the grading.

The second senior Kyokushin grading was the final calendar event to bring the KIMAA dojos together. It was held at Turramurra in December. Students from Sydney, Brisbane and the North Coast participated in the grading, conducted by Shihan Peter, Shihan Idir and assessed by Hanshi Howard. All students performed admirably, including the new black belt grades: Sempai Josh Darley (Nidan), Sempai Stephen Runge (Shodan), Sempai Jermaine Downs (Shodan), Sempai Bernard Wilson (Shodan) and Sempai Cody Choi (Shodan). This grading notably resulted in the first Black Belt produced by Sensei Rob and Brisbane Dojo – Sempai Jermaine.

Hanshi Howard Lipman, Sempai Cody Choi, Sempai Josh Darley, Sempai Bernard Wilson, Sempai Jermaine Downs & Sempai Stephen Runge

You can read Hanshi Howard’s report on the 2018 Yudansha gradings here, on Facebook.

The North Coast end-of-year session.

Following the grading in Sydney, the North Coast crew conducted their usual end-of-year Kyokushin training and grading session, celebrating at the end with Student of the Year awards.

KIMAA’s year was made up by its dedicated students continuing to push hard at their martial arts – whether it was for a tournament, a grading or simply their own self-development. Thank you as always to the dojo operators and instructors for keeping things running smoothly. The best way to summarise the year, the milestones reached and the fun that was had, is with the latest KIMAA video below. Have a wonderful holiday season all, and see you in 2019.

Hanshi Howard Lipman: “I wish all students and instructors a happy Christmas and New Year. Best wishes to all.”

Year In Review – December 21, 2017

Another enjoyable and successful year has passed for Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia. The year saw the expansion of the organisation, further refinement of technical ability and entry in various competitions.


Senior grades from various dojos partook in the KIMAA Japan Group Tour, January 7-24. These included Hanshi Howard Lipman, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sensei Paul Finnerty, Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, Sensei James Sidwell, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Jon Ellis, Sempai Alex Lloyd and Sempai Patricia Tan.

A good portion of the trip was spent sightseeing in Tokyo, Yudanaka, Nagano and Kyoto, before heading to Okinawa. One of the destinations was the shrine to Sosai Mas Oyama at Mt Mitsumine, as well as his actual grave.

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Tony Kuo of Turramurra Dojo joined the group in Okinawa. The first highlight in Okinawa was training with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama and Shihan Ken Ogura in Karate and Kobudo weapons. Sensei Hokama also graded Sensei Jon to 3rd Dan in Kobudo, and Sempai Alex to 2nd Dan.

The final event of the tour was the Kyokushin Union’s 4th World Tournament, a two-day event featuring Kyokushin fighters from a large range of countries. The trip was a memorable and enjoyable experience.

KIMAA at the Kyokushin World Tournament.


The Sydney dojos were home to a variety of KIMAA events in 2017, from junior and senior gradings and a major seminar. The year began for some Sydney instructors with the Japan trip, including the World Tournament.

Students of Turramurra Dojo participated in the IFKKA full-contact Kyokushin Karate tournament in May. A number of placements were achieved in this tournament.

These competitive efforts were followed quickly by Turramurra and Annangrove Dojo members competing in the AKKA New South Wales State Championships in June, hosted by Hanshi John Taylor. A large group competed, led by senior grade Sensei Ben Ng. Special mention goes to Elia Parsanejad, Eric Wright and Sempai Josh Darley for their placements.

Annangrove Dojo continued its fitness program over the course of the year. Shihan Rick Cunningham and Sensei Paul Finnerty teach fitness classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in addition to the Karate classes on other weeknights and weapons on Sundays. Not all participants in the fitness classes train in karate, many coming along just to improve their wellbeing and cardio ability. The group has grown steadily.

The focus moved from competitive fighting to the wider level of training needed for a grading, in preparation for the Senior Kyokushin Grading in August. Participants included members from Turramurra and Annangrove, as well as karateka travelling down from the North Coast dojos. Hanshi Howard assessed students while the grading was led by Shihan Rick and Shihan Peter Olive.

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The day produced KIMAA’s newest black belt, Sempai Will Brook, of Ballina Dojo.

Sempai Will Brook, Hanshi Howard Lipman & Sensei Jon Ellis

At the conclusion of the grading, Shihan Rick announced a special surprise for the Chairman of KIMAA. The KIMAA Grading Committee – consisting of Shihan Rick, Shihan Peter, Shihan Idir Bahamid and Sensei Mark McFaddenpromoted Howard Lipman to the rank of 9th Dan and the title of Hanshi in Kyokushin Karate.

The KIMAA grading committee with Hanshi Howard Lipman. From left: Sensei Mark McFadden, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Hanshi Howard Lipman, Sensei Idir Bahamid & Shihan Peter Olive.

Following the success of the 2016 Shihan Ken seminar, Shihan Ken was warmly invited back to instruct in the KIMAA Shihan Ken Seminar of 2017. The seminar ran over three weeknights and a full weekend in September at Turramurra and Annangrove. Members from all KIMAA dojos participated, as well as Shihan Doug Turnbull of KIKO on one night, and guest members from Sensei David Craigie’s Kyokushin dojo in Young across most of the week.

The week focused heavily on bunkai (self-defence applications from kata), as well as conditioning, miscellaneous self-defence, technical training and weapons. All students look forward to future training with Shihan Ken.

KIMAA at the Shihan Ken Seminar, September 2017

One of Sydney’s senior instructors was promoted during the seminar – Idir Bahamid was awarded by Hanshi Howard his 5th Dan in Kyokushin and the title of “Shihan”. Shihan Idir is already a 5h Dan in Shotokan Karate.

Hanshi Howard Lipman & Shihan Idir Bahamid

Kobudo training continued throughout the year at Annangrove Dojo. The senior group focused in particular on new katas taught to them by Shihan Ken.

Final Sydney Kobudo training of 2017. From left: Sensei James Sidwell, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sempai Jessica Den, Shihan Peter Olive, Sensei Paul Finnerty, Sempai James Campbell, Sensei Mark Shelmerdine & Sempai Alex Lloyd.

The start of the year also unveiled an ongoing series on this website, “From the Archive”. Hanshi Howard dug up his wealth of Kyokushin photos, documenting his training from white belt to training with Sosai Mas Oyama to the present day. After a lot of scanning by Sempai Alex, a new batch was posted to the website every month. The publishing program finished with the year 2010, posted this December:

1970s, Part 1 | 1970s, Part 2 | 1970s, Part 3 | 1980s, Part 1 | 1980s, Part 2 | 1990-1991 | 1992 | 1993-1999 | 2000s | 2010

Sensei Elaine Kwok, Hanshi Howard Lipman, Sosai Mas Oyama, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sensei Carl Syddall and Sensei Adrian Layton, Branch Chief Camp in Japan, 1993.


Head instructors of Lismore Dojo and Ballina Dojo, Sensei Mark McFadden and Sensei Jon Ellis, kicked off their year with the January trip to Japan, in which Sempai Patricia Tan also participated.

Sempai Trish, Hanshi Howard, Sensei Hokama, Sensei Mark & Sensei Jon in Okinawa, Japan, January 2017.

March saw the first 2017 KIMAA seminar hosted at the North Coast dojos, conducted by Hanshi Howard Liman. Members from Lismore and Ballina participated, as well as some students under Sensei Rob James of his two dojos.

The Sunday adults class at Lismore Dojo.

The seminar was a terrific weekend held at Ballina and Lismore across the two days, focusing on basics, fitness, kata, kumite and the finer points of stance and technique across the Little Lions, adults and senior grades.

The North Coast students continued their hard training, entering a number of competitions over the course of the year. This includes the Little Lions’ efforts in May, and young Isaac’s in October.

Lismore Dojo at the NAS

The North Coast enjoyed reminding the rest of KIMAA that Karate doesn’t always have to mean indoor training! Sensei Mark held a grading for Lismore Dojo in June, which students of Ballina also attended, at Evans Head beach. The class enjoyed the sunny teachings of Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon, Sempai Wally Gray and Sempai Trish.

North Coast Beach Grading

In August, Sempai Will Brook of Ballina Dojo was graded to 1st Dan (Shodan) in Sydney by Hanshi Howard Lipman.

Kobudo training was a key focus in the lead up to the September seminar in Sydney.

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More members of the North Coast came down to Sydney the following month for the Shihan Ken seminar.

The KIMAA NSW Far North Coast crew with Shihan Ken Ogura.

During the seminar, Sensei Mark McFadden was promoted to 4th Dan by Hanshi Howard Lipman.

Hanshi Howard Lipman, Sensei Mark McFadden & Shihan Rick Cunningham

The last major activity for the year was the combined North Coast dojos grading and Christmas Party.


Sensei Rob James, head instructor at both North Brisbane and Nundah dojos, kept his students busy throughout the year! Some accompanied him to the North Coast seminar in March.

Later that month, North Brisbane’s Little Lions entered one of the National All Styles tournaments. Young Sean gained a placement, and all entrants were participating in their first tournament. Sean continued his efforts at the NAS in October.

Sensei Rob with some of his Little Lions at a tournament

The Queensland KIMAA students are a bit further way from the central action of KIMAA geographically, but they don’t let that stop them keep driving harder and harder to pursue greater martial arts skills. This was typified by the efforts in the June gradings.

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Sensei Rob represented Queensland at the Shihan Ken seminar in September. Like all seniors who participated, he honed his technique and took away insightful lessons of Karate’s hidden secrets. He was also greatly surprised when Hanshi Howard promoted him to the rank of 3rd Dan and title of Sensei.

Hanshi Howard Lipman & Sensei Rob James


Sensei David Craigie commenced his Kyokushin training in 1971, obtaining Shodan in 1976. He has also been teaching since the 1970s.

During the KIMAA Shihan Ken Seminar in September 2017, Sensei David was invited to attend and bring some of his students. Over the course of the seminar, Sensei David was greatly impressed by the quality of people and martial arts skills at KIMAA. He enthusiastically accepted when invited to join by Hanshi Howard Lipman.

Young Dojo with Hanshi Howard & Shihan Rick

On September 10, Sensei David and his dojo formally joined KIMAA, and was welcomed by all. Sensei David is the dojo operator of KIMAA’s seventh dojo.

Young Dojo represented KIMAA for the first time at the Riverina Kyokushin Karate Country Championships, where Sean and Josh took Third Place in their divisions.

Sean and Josh with Sensei David Craigie

Hanshi Howard and Shihan Rick Cunningham taught a day-long seminar at Young Dojo in November. The day focused on technique and kata. Improvement could be seen in all students as a result.

The students of Young Dojo with their instructors

While a newcomer to KIMAA, Sensei David has been teaching Kyokushin for over forty years. Hanshi Howard graded Sensei David to 4th Dan in recognition of his decades teaching Kyokushin.

Hanshi Howard Lipman, Sensei David Craigie & Shihan Rick Cunningham

The final training session of the year featured a guest appearance from Sensei Don Cheong, of Turramurra Dojo, and Sempai Mark Long, an old student of Hanshi Howard.

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This year saw KIMAA continue its efforts internally and externally, through seminars and gradings to Japan trips and tournaments, pushing its students and seniors to improve their Karate in every aspect. Strong and experienced leadership has seen the KIMAA students continually exposed to new opportunities, especially spending time with other great senior martial artists.

Warm thanks go to the dojo operators and other instructors for keeping the organisation running smoothly, especially Hanshi Howard, Shihan Rick, Shihan Peter, Sensei Mark, Sensei David, Sensei Jon and Sensei Rob.

Your instructor will advise you of holiday closure dates, or any combined classes and holiday training. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, and see you in 2018. Osu!

Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia, September 2017

Year In Review – December 23, 2016

Navigate by topic: Sydney | North Coast NSW | Brisbane | Japan 2017 | Closing

2016 was a year of new dojos, big seminars and eventful gradings for Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia. Sydney hosted a lot of significant events, the North Coast competed in a range of tournaments and Brisbane expanded its operations to two dojos. All the hard work culminated in a massive week-long seminar with international guest instructor Shihan Ken Ogura, followed by the largest black belt grading in recent years, all while KIMAA seniors prepared for a Japan trip in early 2017.


Sensei James Sidwell & Sensei Mark McFadden in the February Black Belt class.
Sensei James Sidwell & Sensei Mark McFadden in the February Black Belt class.

Students of both Turramurra and Annangrove dojos continued to up the pace and intensity of their training in 2016, whether focusing on kata and bunkai, or kumite and tournament skills. Students of Shihan Howard Lipman actively pursued the finer points of basics, kime (focus) and the core principles of training that affect one’s practice of the martial arts. Some Kobudo technique was also studied in preparation for the Shihan Ken Seminar, and those students attempting gradings also upped their fight training. Annangrove Dojo saw the introduction of its fitness classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights, giving KIMAA students the space to increase their fitness and bag work in tandem with focusing on their Kyokushin in the normal general classes.

The year began for students of Turramurra Dojo by celebrating the achievements of late 2015. Sensei Ben Ng and Sensei Donald Cheong received their 3rd Dan black belts and certificates following the November 2015 grading. These were awarded by Shihan Howard Lipman, KIMAA Chairman.

Senior training got off to a quick start, with the first KIMAA Black Belt Class being held in February. This was the first of four black belt classes for the year: each one had Kyokushin training on the Saturday and Kobudo on the Sunday. The others were held in May, June and September.

Four KIMAA weekend seminars were held in 2016, with the first held in Sydney. The KIMAA Sydney Seminar ran March 12-13 at Annangrove Dojo and was run by Shihan Rick Cunningham. Students came from all KIMAA dojos to participate, focusing on Kyokushin and Kobudo.

The first tournament entered by Sydney’s karateka was at the AKKA NSW State Tournament in May, with students from Turramurra and Annangrove dojos competing.

Sydney’s next major weekend, June 25-26, comprised three events. The first was a Black Belt Class was held at Turramurra Dojo on the Saturday morning. The class revised basics, breathing, partner work, bunkai and senior katas. Yudansha from up the coast and interstate – Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Jon Ellis and Sempai Rob James – joined the Sydney black belts for training.

The senior grading took place that afternoon. Among the grading applicants were Will Brook and Trish Tan from the North Coast, both going for 1st Kyu. All involved performed well. The next morning, the Kobudo class made use of Jonathan Lee’s photography skills to capture them in action in a photo shoot.

While the final black belt weekend session took place in September, Shihan Howard travelled to Queensland. He visited Sensei Matsumoto, a long-time friend of Shihan Howard and widely respected martial artist.

Shihan Rick Cunningham, Shihan Peter Olive, Shihan Ken Ogura & Shihan Howard Lipman, November 2016.
Shihan Rick Cunningham, Shihan Peter Olive, Shihan Ken Ogura & Shihan Howard Lipman, November 2016.

Knox Karate continued throughout 2016, with the final Knox grading for 2016 taking place on November 12. Shihan Howard conducted three gradings for the different classes within the Knox Karate cohort.

The biggest event in the KIMAA calendar for the year was undoubtedly the Shihan Ken Seminar. The KIMAA Japan Group Tour had met Shihan Ken at Sensei Hokama’s dojo in 2015. Shihan Howard invited Shihan Ken to teach in Australia, and Shihan Ken happily accepted.

Six classes were held over five days, November 16-21, including two full-day sessions on the weekend. These were attended by members from all six KIMAA dojos. The KIMAA karateka are all grateful for their time with Shihan Ken. Especially gratifying for KIMAA was Shihan Ken’s enthusiasm for the Australian students and his pride in what they accomplished during the week. It was a great honour to train with such a brilliant martial artist.

During the seminar, Sensei Peter Olive was promoted by Shihan Howard to 5th Dan, also giving him the title of “Shihan”. Congratulations to Shihan Peter – osu!

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Only two weeks later, a black belt grading was held at Turramurra Dojo. Shihan Howard and Shihan Rick assessed the students while Shihan Peter took the applicants from Annangrove, Turramurra and Lismore dojos through the grading. It was a long day, but in the end KIMAA had six students achieve new black belt grades: Nidan (2nd Dan) for Jason Lambe, and Shodan (1st Dan) for Jonathan Lee, Angus Sweeney, Joshua Darley, Victor Sweeney and Patricia Tan.

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It was a busy week for gradings in Sydney that week. Shihan Rick Cunningham took North Coast students Trish Tan and Wesley Snider through a Kobudo grading the next morning. On Wednesday December 7, Sensei James Sidwell held a Karate grading for the Turramurra Kids classes.

Turramurra Dojo's final class of 2016, on Monday December 19.
Turramurra Dojo’s final class of 2016, on Monday December 19.

Turramurra Dojo’s final class for 2016 was held on Monday December 19, with Shihan Howard Lipman instructing. Annangrove Dojo will continue on its holiday training timetable – dates are available in the calendar.

Shihan Howard and Shihan Rick are proud of all their students achieved in the year, and look forward to seeing how the hard training bears fruit in 2017.



Sensei Mark & Sempai Wally
Sensei Mark & Sempai Wally

KIMAA students from the Far North Coast had a packed year, kept busy by their head instructors Sensei Mark McFadden and Sensei Jon Ellis. Many weekends saw students tirelessly doing extra training for their next goal: tournaments, seminars or a grading, students were always in the dojo, getting sweaty and working hard.

The year began by celebrating a major achievement of the previous year, with Sempai Wally Gray receiving his 2nd Dan in Kyokushin. Sempai Wally was graded to Nidan in the November 2015 grading by Shihan Howard Lipman, and was awarded the grade in January 2016 by Sensei Mark.

Coming off the back of the Sydney seminar earlier that month, Kyokushin gradings were held on the last two days of March. Sensei Jon took Ballina Dojo students through a grading on March 30th while Sensei Mark ran Lismore Dojo students through the ring on March 31st.

Students from both dojos backed this up only days later by competing in the Frank Everett Memorial Tournament, where Mick Calnan earned his nickname “The Gumtree”.

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Valiant efforts by the North Coast karateka came in all shapes and sizes in 2016. Only a week after the Frank Everett tournament, Little Lion student Cooper competed in the first round of the National All Styles and came second in the Pee Wee Points Sparring division. Sensei Jon was very proud of Cooper’s efforts, who was coached on the day by Sempai Rob James.

The new Ballina Dojo.
The new Ballina Dojo.

Also in April was the opening of a new Ballina Dojo. The large, impressive new dojo is a proud expansion of KIMAA’s operations on the North Coast.

The second KIMAA seminar of the year was held at Lismore Dojo on the weekend of April 16-17. Shihan Rick Cunningham travelled from Sydney to conduct the seminar, hosted by Sensei Mark. Shihan Rick ran students through bunkai from the Pinan katas and Naihanchi. This was followed by a Kobudo grading the next morning, and a Little Lions session.

The North Coast karateka maintained their efforts in the National All Styles competitions, with a small team participating in May.

The following month, on the afternoon of June 25, a senior Kyokushin grading was held in Sydney. Will Brook from Ballina Dojo and Patricia Tan from Lismore Dojo were the senior students participating in the grading. Shihan Howard graded them both to 1st Kyu.

The KIMAA team at the Gold Coast Budo Challenge, October 2016.

KIMAA’s North Coast students are never ones to shy away from another tournament! At the Gold Coast Budo Challenge in October, Sensei Jon led a team from Ballina Dojo and Sempai Wally the group from Lismore Dojo. Sensei Jon told the students to “enjoy the tournament, the atmosphere, whether it is your first or 31st” and that the results were second to effort and having a good time. All put in their best and thoroughly enjoyed themselves – but the results came too! Gold trophies were taken out in three divisions, and Trish Tan came third place in a kata division.

Next on the North Coast calendar was the Ballina Seminar, hosted by Sensei Jon and taught once again by Shihan Rick.

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Lismore and Ballina students were down the coast a lot in November and December for the major events being held in Sydney. Sensei Mark and Sensei Jon spent November 16-21 in Sydney to participate in all five general classes and the black belt-only class in the Shihan Ken Seminar. They also made the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb with Shihan Ken, along with Shihan Rick as well. Students from Lismore and Ballina attended the Friday night general class, as well as the all-day sessions on the Saturday and Sunday.

Two weeks later, students from the North Coast participated in the Black Belt Grading at Turramurra Dojo. This included Patricia Tan achieving her Shodan (1st Dan) in Kyokushin.

The North Coast dojos finished their year with a bang, undertaking a combined Kyokushin grading in December. Sensei Mark and Sensei Jon assessed the students while Sempai Wally, Sempai Patricia and Will ran the students through the grading. Well done to all involved for an excellent end-of-year workout and celebration.

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Sempai Rob James and his Little Lion champions.
Sempai Rob James and his Little Lion champions.

2016 saw KIMAA‘s operations in Brisbane massively expand under the leadership of dojo operator Sempai Rob James.

Along with students from the North Coast, eight of Sempai Rob’s Little Lions competed in the Frank Everett Memorial Tournament, with three winning placements.

Sempai Rob James with Kancho Jim Casey at the NAS.
Sempai Rob James with Kancho Jim Casey at the NAS.

Sempai Rob not only kept the pressure on his students to keep reaching new goals, but always furthered his own personal goals as well. Sempai Rob competed in the Open Black Belt and Veterans divisions of the National All Styles, placing 4th in the Open Black Belt division by performing the Kyokushin kata Seienchin.

In July, Sempai Rob sought to relocate Aspley Dojo. As part of the move to Kedron, Sempai Rob formally closed Aspley Dojo and reopened in Kedron as North Brisbane Dojo. The new home is a bigger and better training facility for Sempai Rob’s students to get the most out of their Karate sessions.

Amanda Bolger with the Eeku.
Amanda Bolger with the Eeku.

Sempai Rob not only upgraded KIMAA’s Brisbane presence, but doubled it, by opening a second dojo. Nundah Dojo was opened shortly after the opening of North Brisbane. Classes at both dojos are run by Sempai Rob.

Sempai Rob and his student Amanda Bolger travelled to Sydney in late June for a big weekend. Sempai Rob trained in the Turramurra black belt class on the morning of June 25. That afternoon, he watched Amanda participate in the senior Kyokushin grading, whom was assessed by Shihan Howard Lipman. Both trained in the Kobudo class the next morning at Annangrove Dojo with Shihan Rick Cunningham.

The next month, Sempai Rob hosted the third KIMAA seminar for 2016. The seminar, for students of North Brisbane and Nundah dojos, was taught by guest instructor Shihan Rick Cunningham, an experience that pushed them but was thoroughly enjoyed.

Sempai Rob then made it to Sydney in November for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions of the Shihan Ken Seminar.


JAPAN 2017

KIMAA’s senior Kobudo students have been in hard training preparation all year for the January 2017 Japan Group Tour.

Shihan Howard and his students have enjoyed a long, respectful relationship and close friendship with Sensei Hokama over the years. Shihan Howard arranged the trip for he and his students to train with Sensei, and Shihan Ken, once again in Naha, Okinawa. Sensei Hokama was pleased, as always, to welcome back the Australian team.

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The bulk of the group will fly out from Sydney on the night of January 7 to sightsee in Tokyo, Yudanaka and Nagano, before meeting with Shihan Howard and his wife Masumi in Kyoto. After a few nights there, the core karateka will travel to Okinawa for training with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ken, for some to participate in a Kobudo grading, and all will attend the World Karate Tournament. Everyone will arrive back on the morning of January 24th.

Going on the trip are:

We wish everyone good luck! For students at Turramurra, Annangrove, Lismore and Ballina dojos, please find out from your instructor if any class times are affected by the seniors being away in Japan.


KIMAA dojo operators with Shihan Ken, November 2016: Sensei Mark McFadden, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Shihan Ken Ogura, Shihan Howard Lipman, Sensei Jon Ellis & Sempai Rob James.
KIMAA dojo operators with Shihan Ken, November 2016: Sensei Mark McFadden, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Shihan Ken Ogura, Shihan Howard Lipman, Sensei Jon Ellis & Sempai Rob James.

2016 was a diverse year of expansion, hard training and achieving goals. Improvement of Karate technique was consolidated, finesse and speed in weapons were improved, tournaments were competed in, gradings were accomplished and five massive seminars were held, the final one with Shihan Ken being the most special of all in the last few years. Thank you to all the students who gave it a go throughout the year – you make KIMAA.

Big thanks must go to the dojo operators and other instructors for continuing to develop their students and push out new goals, for the dojo and themselves as expert martial artists. Shihan Howard, Shihan Rick and Shihan Peter provide incredible leadership for KIMAA, as do the other dojo operators Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon and Sempai Rob.

KIMAA wishes a safe and happy holidays to all. We look forward to seeing you back at training in 2017. Osu!

Shihan Ken and the Saturday class.
Shihan Ken and the Saturday class.

Year In Review – December 22, 2015

Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia had a busy and rewarding 2015. The senior grades took every opportunity to train together to advance and consolidate knowledge, while the juniors made big leaps forward in achieving individual personal goals. KIMAA had a particularly good year in tournaments at all levels: local, state, national and international.

Japan Group Tour

The year began with final preparations underway for the Japan KIMAA Tour in March. The tour group included:

KIMAA tour group with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura
KIMAA tour group with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura.
  • Shihan Howard Lipman
  • Shihan Rick Cunningham
  • Sensei Mark McFadden
  • Sensei Jon Ellis
  • Sempai Don Cheong
  • Sempai James Campbell
  • Sempai Alex Lloyd
  • Patricia Tan

The tour began in Okinawa with several training sessions with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama (10th Dan Goju-ryu & Kobudo). Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ken Ogura ran through Kobudo (weapons), kata and self-defence with the tour group, checking their technique and assessing their grades.

Sensei Hokama was most impressed with the standard displayed, and Shihan Ogura proclaimed he had never seen an international group as proficient in Kobudo as ‘the Australian team’.

New black belt (Dan) grades in Kobudo were awarded to members of the tour group, and other KIMAA karateka not on the tour, at the recommendation of Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham. Shihan Lipman, the Branch Chief of International Hokama Kobudo in Australia, was also promoted to 7th Dan, and Shihan Cunningham to 6th Dan.

A major highlight of not only the trip, but the entire year, was the 22nd Okinawan Karate Tournament in which Sempai Don and Sempai James competed. The tournament was hosted by Shihan Lipman’s old friend, Shihan Yasuhiro Shichinohe (7th Dan Kyokushin), whom KIMAA trained with in 2013. Don and James were the only international competitors at the tournament and admirably represented KIMAA. Sempai Don lost his first round while Sempai James made it to the quarter finals, finishing as one of the top eight in the Men’s Open division. Their coaches, Sensei Mark McFadden and Sensei Jon Ellis, were proud of Don’s and James’s efforts.

Sempai Alex Lloyd, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Jon Ellis, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sempai Don Cheong, Sempai James Campbell and Trish Tan at Shurijo, Okinawa.
KIMAA at Shurijo, Okinawa.

Some more training with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura followed, as well as exploring the sights of Okinawa. A ‘Kyokushin photo shoot’ was also undertaken by the tour group!

After a final night class with Sensei Hokama, the group enjoyed sightseeing in Hiroshima and Kyoto.

Sydney, NSW

Sydney Kobudo students began the year preparing for the Japan trip. In addition to their normal Kobudo training, they also had a go at tameshigiri (trial by cutting) in January, cutting through mats with the kama and the sword, which they revisited in July.

KIMAAMay2015Seminar-Mid - 40
Sensei Mark Shelmerdine teaches Kobudo at the May weekend seminar.

The first major KIMAA calendar event of 2015 was held by Shihan Howard Lipman (8th Dan Kyokushin, 7th Dan Kobudo) in Sydney. The weekend seminar of May 9-10 focused on Kyokushin basics, bunkai and Kobudo. The seminar ensured that the correct technical standard was being upheld throughout all KIMAA dojos.

After the Kobudo grading in Japan in March, belts and certificates were awarded to students in May, presented by Shihan Rick Cunningham (6th Dan Kyokushin, 6th Dan Kobudo).

Following on from the performance of Sempai Don and Sempai James in Japan, students from Turramurra and Annangrove dojos got into training for the NSW Kyokushin State Championship in May. All students fought well against their opponents. Special recognition goes to James Parasyn and James Kosimar for their wins, and to Victor Sweeney for coming equal Third in his division.

As winter set in, eyes turned to the combined senior grading and seminar later in the year. Training intensified throughout KIMAA. Yudansha (black belts) from all dojos came together for a weekend of training together in August. This included Kobudo training on the Saturday afternoon, and an intensive kata session on the Sunday, both at Shihan Cunningham’s Annangrove Dojo.

Men's Open Middle Weight champions.
Men’s Open Middle Weight champions.

Soon after the Yudansha weekend, many students from Turramurra and Annangrove competed in the IFKKA Tournament on Sunday September 6. KIMAA dominated the event, its students winning many placements and medals. KIMAA took the top three spots in the Men’s Open Middle Weight: Sempai Don Cheong (First), Sempai Ben Ng (Second) and Sempai Alex Lloyd (Third); Kasra Parsanejad came First in his division; and Andy, Elia, Christian, Jasper, Bernard and James came Second or Third in their respective divisions.

After the tournament, attention turned back to the upcoming seminar and grading. Sempai Ben and Sempai Don were rigorously training for their sandan (3rd Dan black belt).

To further their efforts, a senior kata session was held by Shihan Lipman at Turramurra Dojo. Black belts from Turramurra, Annangrove and Ballina Dojo were in attendance. Shihan Lipman and KIMAA’s technical director, Sensei Peter Olive (4th Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo), were satisfied that the overall technical standard of the black belts has never been higher.

The landmark weekend finally arrived, with KIMAA’s combined seminar and grading running October 30 to November 1. The karateka – from the smallest Little Lion to the adults – were hungry to prove themselves and show the results of their dedicated training.

2015-Seminar-GroupShots- - 2
Shihan Lipman and KIMAA Yudansha at the seminar.

The first night of the seminar, on a Friday, was held at Turramurra Dojo. Ray, a Krav Maga instructor, taught at Shihan Lipman’s invitation. Students were given an introduction to basic self-defence against an opponent with a gun, and an opponent with a knife. The students enjoyed learning some new skills.

The Kyokushin seminar began on Saturday morning at Annangrove Dojo. Adult and Little Lion attendees from all five KIMAA dojos, including Knox Karate, participated on the day. Kihon (basics), Sanbon Kumite (three-step sparring) and bunkai were revised extensively during the morning. In the afternoon the tameshiwari (board breaking) component of the grading was undertaken, including some impressive multi-breaks by Sempai Ben and Sempai Don, and four-board breaks with seiken (forefist) and shuto (knifehand) by Sempai Wally Gray. The day finished with fight training.

Sunday November 1 saw the senior grading take place. Sensei Peter led the class while Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham assessed the students. The senior Kyu grades and black belts attempting the grading were Sempai Ben Ng, Sempai Don Cheong, Sempai Wally Gray, Josh Darley, Victor Sweeney, Patricia Tan and Jermaine Downs. During the long session, Kyu grades and black belts not grading broke up into groups for specialised training, led by Sensei Paul Finnerty (4th Dan Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo), Sensei Mark Shelmerdine (4th Dan Kyokushin, 4th Dan Kobudo), Sensei James Sidwell (4th Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) and Sempai James Campbell (2nd Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo).

2015-Seminar-Tameshiwari- - 8
Sensei Don Cheong performs tameshiwari.

After a hard morning, the grading was over. Congratulations are once again extended to all who participated, especially the new Dan grades: Sensei Ben Ng (3rd Dan Kyokushin), Sensei Don Cheong (3rd Dan Kyokushin) and Sempai Wally Gray (2nd Dan Kyokushin).

Essential to the success of both seminars were Shihan Cunningham’s wife Kirsti, Sensei Mark McFadden and Sensei Ian Holdaway (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo), who kept everyone well fed!

Sensei Don also wrote an essay on the importance of visual focus in Karate for his grading, which Shihan Lipman encourages all to read.

Sydney's Kobudo black belts.
Sydney’s Kobudo black belts.

Regular Kyokushin training at Turramurra and Annangrove continued for the rest of the year. The final Kobudo class was held on Sunday December 20.

During the year Turramurra Dojo created its own Facebook page, which we encourage all to Like to keep up to speed with the latest updates and photos.

A new KIMAA video was also released during the year, using footage from 2014 and 2015. Thanks go Sempai Alex Lloyd (2nd Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) and Jonathan Lee for the extensive photography and video work throughout the year, and all other contributors.

KIMAA students from Sydney competed in local, state and international tournaments, smashed through new personal bests in challenges such as board breaking, and raised the standard of their weapons and kata to a whole new level.

The success of Sydney students in these tournaments reflects the quality tournament training. For Turramurra and Annangrove students, particular thanks for this goes to Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham, Sensei Mark Shelmerdine and Sensei James Sidwell. However, it also reflects the hard work and positive attitude of the students, many of whom only fought in their first tournament in the last two years.

KIMAA Black Belts
KIMAA Black Belts: Mark McFadden, Rick Cunningham, Paul Finnerty, Jon Ellis, Rob James, Ben Ng, Howard Lipman, Don Cheong, Alex Lloyd, Mark Shelmerdine, James Campbell, Mark Long, Peter Olive & James Sidwell.

Far North Coast, NSW

Sensei Jon and Sensei Mark with their fighters, James and Don.
Sensei Jon and Sensei Mark with their fighters, James and Don.

KIMAA students of Lismore and Ballina dojos had a busy year, particularly in tournaments.

Early in the year, three karateka from the North Coast were part of the Japan group tour. Sensei Mark McFadden (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo) and Sensei Jon Ellis (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo) returned to Japan to once again train with Sensei Hokama. Patricia Tan also partook in her first KIMAA trip to Japan.

Sensei Mark last went to Japan in the 2013 tour, Sensei Jon in the 2010-11 tour, and Trish last trained with Sensei Hokama in Sensei’s 2012 visit to Australia.

During this trip, Sensei Mark and Sensei Jon were graded to 3rd and 2nd Dan in Kobudo respectively, as well as coaching Sempai Don and Sempai James in the tournament.

Karateka from Lismore and Ballina trained at the May Sydney seminar, displaying an exemplary standard of technique.

The North Coast held its own seminar in July. Shihan Cunningham taught at the seminar, with Sensei Mark and Sensei Jon also leading instruction. The seminar expanded upon the bunkai work looked at in previous seminars, both in Sydney and held at Lismore. The seminar concluded with a Kobudo grading.

Sensei Mark McFadden
Sensei Mark McFadden at the Yudansha Training Weekend.

Little Lions and adults competed in various local, state and national competitions throughout 2015, with the National All Styles and other organisations.

KIMAA competitors at the NAS QLD State Titles.
KIMAA competitors at the NAS QLD State Titles.

For the NAS competitions, students had to complete a qualifying round before being able to enter the state competition. Students who had qualified competed in the NAS Queensland State Titles in October.

Many trophies were won, but as Sensei Mark told his students, ‘It’s not the trophies – it’s the participation, it’s overcoming the fears of getting up in front of everyone or standing up to fight someone. Osu and well done.’

In between all the tournament training, practising kata and Kobudo continued. Students regularly attended weekend classes, always geared to prepare for the next major seminar, grading or tournament, or just for regular weapons training. Sensei Mark attended the August Yudansha Training Weekend at Annangrove Dojo, and Sensei Jon flew down for the October Senior Kata Training at Turramurra Dojo.

Instructors and students from the North Coast dojos once again travelled to Sydney in October for the combined seminar and grading. Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon, Sempai Wally Gray, Jeremy Gray, Trish Tan and Ben Brady made the journey. Sempai Wally, Trish and Ben attempted the grading and performed very well in what was a long weekend. Sempai Wally received his 2nd Dan, Trish her 2nd Kyu and Ben his 3rd Kyu.

Trish and Amanda perform their Creative Weapons demo.
Trish and Amanda perform their Creative Weapons demo.

The efforts of the North Coast karateka at the NAS throughout the year culminated in the Australian Championships, held on the Gold Coast. Many students from Lismore, Ballina and Aspley competed. Trish Tan and Amanda Bolger had a particularly long day, pairing up in multiple partner demonstrations and also fought each other. In the end KIMAA had 3 Thirds, 2 Seconds and a First place in the National All Styles.

The North Coast karateka know the meaning of persistence. After a two day competition on six mats the previous weekend at the NAS, the following weekend saw Lismore and Ballina come together for a grading. Sensei Mark and Sensei Jon put the students through the ring but most came out not too battered and bruised on the other side.

Lismore and Ballina students, like their Sydney counterparts, had a strong year in tournaments. The challenge to push yourself to your own limits and be the best you can be was a driving force in the long hours of consistent training undertaken by the North Coast karateka. This mental fortitude translated into other Kyokushin pursuits, such as gradings, further developing the quality of martial artists from Sensei Mark’s and Sensei Jon’s dojos.

North Coast December Grading.
North Coast December Grading.

Brisbane, QLD

Aspley2015Tournament - 1
IKO State Titles, April 2015.

Students of Aspley Dojo continued to develop their kata and bunkai knowledge through internal competitions, particularly among the Aspley Little Lions. Under the instruction of Sempai Rob James (2nd Dan Kyokushin) they also continued their rigorous tournament training, with competition participation at an all-time high from KIMAA’s only Brisbane dojo.

The first major competition Sempai Rob’s students competed in was the Queensland IKO State Titles in April. KIMAA walked away with three medals.

Sempai Rob was ‘extremely proud’ of all of his students, ‘not just the ones who came away with a medal. You all worked hard on the day and displayed great spirit and determination.’

Students of Aspley Dojo continued to build a strong relationship with the students of Lismore and Ballina dojos throughout 2015. Sempai Rob and students teamed up with the North Coast for training weekends, competitions and seminars, including the North Coast July Seminar. Queensland karateka also made their way to Sydney for the May seminar.

Trish Tan & Amanda Bolger
Trish Tan & Amanda Bolger

Sempai Rob came back to Sydney for the Yudansha Training Weekend in August.

Aspley Dojo’s next major outing was at the NAS Queensland State Titles.

Amanda Bolger paired with Patricia Tan from Lismore for a partnership entry in two demonstration events: Creative Weaponry Demo and Creative Form Demo.

Amanda and Trish demonstrated their proficiency in Kobudo, coming First in both categories. Amanda also placed Second in her Points Sparring division and Fourth in Individual Kata.

The young Aspley Little Lion Jack Bolger also did his dojo and instructor proud. Jack represented KIMAA by competing in the Continuous Sparring 7-9 Years. Jack was eliminated in the first round, but he returned to fight in the Points Sparring 8-9 Years. He won one round. This was Jack’s first tournament and he exhibited excellent character and endurance to face up after a loss and keep pushing. Jack is one of many of Sempai Rob’s budding young martial artists.

By the end of October, it was time for the Queensland crew to return to Sydney for another KIMAA event, the seminar and grading. Jermaine Downs, Hieu Hoang and Chris Mitchell came to attempt the grading, and of course Sempai Rob came to support his students and partake in the seminar. They all passed the grading and advanced to their next Kyu grade, which for Jermaine is 2nd Kyu (brown belt).

Sempai Rob and Shihan Lipman lead the class.
Sempai Rob and Shihan Lipman lead the Karate class.

In November, Aspley Dojo enjoyed hosting Shihan Lipman for a weekend seminar. Shihan Lipman and his wife Masumi travelled to Brisbane for the weekend. It was Shihan Lipman’s inaugural trip to Aspley Dojo.

Sempai Rob James with Shihan Howard Lipman
Sempai Rob James with Shihan Howard Lipman, KIMAA Chairman.

Shihan conducted several sessions with the adults and Little Lions, focusing on basics, ido geiko, kata and self-defence techniques. For the students who had not had the opportunity to travel to Sydney before, it was a great experience to be taught by Shihan Lipman.

KIMAA’s head instructor emphasised to all the meaning of Kyokushin, the pursuit of the ultimate truth, and doing so as per the teachings Shihan learned from Sosai Oyama.

‘Aspley has had a very successful year, going from strength to strength. Students’ knowledge is improving as is their technical ability, and the support I receive from both adult students and parents of the Little Lions is humbling. I believe in building the people before the dojo and, as a result, we have a solid core of students both in the Adults and Little Lions who work hard and have a positive “can-do” attitude.’ – Sempai Rob James on 2015 for Aspley Dojo.

The quality of Sempai Rob’s instruction is reflected in the strength of a young dojo, a dojo that is a firm part of the KIMAA family.

Closing Remarks

KIMAA Dojo Operators
KIMAA Dojo Operators: Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sempai Rob James, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Jon Ellis & Shihan Howard Lipman.

2015 was undoubtedly a triumph of a year for Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia. Success in all tournament levels, new highs in Kobudo, sharper kata and a deepened knowledge of bunkai continue to develop among KIMAA’s martial artists, regardless of age or gender. Everyone saw the challenges their fellow students were setting themselves – gradings, tournaments, overseas trips – and aspired to improve themselves, emulating their peers, and achieved just that. Well done to all KIMAA students on a terrific year.

Our thanks goes, as always, to the dojo operators and other instructors who set the tone and culture of KIMAA, maintaining a competitive but friendly learning environment where each student is challenged to do their best. Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham, Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon and Sempai Rob run dojos of which every student is delighted to be a part.

Enjoy the holiday season and see you all in 2016. Osu!

Shihan Rick Cunningham & Shihan Howard Lipman
Shihan Rick Cunningham & Shihan Howard Lipman, November 2015.

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

Year In Review – December 23, 2013

Students of Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia participated in a range of seminars, gradings, tournaments and a group tour to Okinawa. 2013 was a big year for KIMAA students, with the head instructors working hard to give every opportunity possible to deepen and diversify the knowledge of the martial arts across all KIMAA dojos.

Sydney, NSW

Turramurra and Annangrove Dojos were home to a lot of important events in the KIMAA calendar.

Sensei Mark & Sempai Rob's visit to Sydney in February
Sensei Mark & Sempai Rob’s visit to Sydney in February

The year started with Sensei Mark McFadden (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo) and Sempai Rob James (1st Dan Kyokushin) visiting Sydney for training in Karate and Kobudo. This was the beginning of a lot of travelling between dojos by the head instructors to further each others’ skills and share knowledge. The North Coast dojos and Aspley Dojo formed a particularly close rapport.

KIMAA offers training in full-contact Kyokushin Karate and International Hokama Kobudo (traditional Okinawan weapons). In 2013 KIMAA expanded the repertoire of weapons in the Kobudo syllabus, starting with a knife attack and defence seminar in March. This was taught by guest instructor Sensei Robert King (5th Dan) of Koryu Uchinadi (KU) Kempo Jujutsu. The seminar was seen as such a success that Sensei Robert King and Sempai Aaron Jones returned in June to teach a second knife seminar, building on the skills of the first.

In early July, Shihan Des Paroz (6th Dan) of Shorinjiryu Karate, along with Sensei Chrissy Hanley, taught an introductory seminar on the Jō, a four foot staff.

A black belt grading was held at Turramurra Dojo in July. Sensei Mark Shelmerdine (4th Dan Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo) and Sensei James Sidwell (4th Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) received their 4th Dan grades, and Sempai Sammy Vieira became KIMAA’s newest 1st Dan.

Shihan Howard Lipman presents Shihan Rick Cunningham his dojo operator license
Shihan Howard Lipman with Shihan Rick Cunningham, October 2013

In October, the KIMAA Kyokushin & Kobudo Seminar was held at Turramurra and Annangrove Dojos. KIMAA President Shihan Howard Lipman (8th Dan Kyokushin, 6th Dan Kobudo) and Shihan Rick Cunningham (6th Dan Kyokushin, 5th Dan Kobudo) have instigated these KIMAA seminars as an annual event, with all green belts and above expected to attend. The seminars will also be a prerequisite for anyone attempting a senior Kyu grading or higher.

The weekend seminar was attended by members from all five KIMAA dojos in New South Wales and Queensland. The Friday night and Saturday sessions were spent on Karate, focusing on basics, bunkai, kumite and senior kata. The Sunday spent some time on Karate but was mainly focused on Kobudo. Sessions were led by Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham, Sensei Paul Finnerty (4th Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo), Sensei Peter Olive (4th Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) and Sensei Mark Shelmerdine.

The rationale behind these seminars is to bring seniors from all KIMAA dojos together to train and uphold strong, correct technique across all dojos. The seminar was seen as a great success, with the next one scheduled for March 2014.

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Two Knox gradings were held in 2013, one in March and the other in November. Knox alumnus Nicholas Cheng has also joined the Knox Sports Academy as a member of the coaching staff. He will be assisting Shihan Lipman with the Knox Karate classes in 2014.

North Coast, NSW

Following the combined training weekend in Sydney, Sensei Mark McFadden and Sempai Jon Ellis (2nd Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) hosted Sempai Rob and students of Aspley Dojo at Lismore Dojo. Training focused on both Karate and Kobudo. After this weekend in March, another North Coast and Brisbane combined seminar took place at Lismore Dojo in August.

In March, Sensei Mark McFadden was promoted to 3rd Dan in Kyokushin and 2nd Dan in Kobudo by Shihan Lipman. Sensei Mark’s promotion in Kobudo was certified by Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama (10th Dan) on the Okinawa Group Tour.

In October 2012, students from Lismore and Ballina Dojos competed in the National All Styles competition and achieved some impressive results. North Coast KIMAA students continued to enjoy success at the National All Styles, winning placements and trophies in May and December, with Patricia Tan becoming the Australian Kata Champion in her division in December.

After the final week of training in 2013, North Coast and Brisbane students joined together for a day of beach training.

Brisbane, QLD

Shihan Cunningham visited the students of Aspley Dojo in February to teach an introductory Kobudo seminar. Sempai Rob and his students expanded their Kobudo skills by training with the North Coast dojos in March and August and at the KIMAA Kyokushin & Kobudo Seminar in Sydney in October.

Little Lions classes began at Aspley Dojo in April, allowing the kids to receive instruction geared specifically for their age. The Little Lions hit things off with a great start, such as the April board breaking class, and the first Little Lions grading that was held in June.

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Aspley Dojo moved into a long-term new home in July, equipped specifically for martial arts training. Aspley Dojo held its final Karate grading for 2013 in December.

Okinawa Group Tour

In November a group of black belts travelled to Okinawa for training.

KIMAA tour group photo with Sensei Hokama
KIMAA tour group photo with Sensei Hokama.

The tour group included Shihan Howard Lipman, his wife Masumi, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sempai Don Cheong, Sempai Alex Lloyd and Sempai James Campbell.

They spent a week training with Sensei Hokama in Kobudo, as well as kata bunkai and general self-defence. They also had one training session with Shihan Yasuhiro Shichinohe (7th Dan) in Kyokushin Karate.

After the week of training, the group spent a few days sightseeing in Kyoto.

The trip was instructional and enjoyable, as there is always much to learn from Sensei Hokama, who has such an incredible knowledge of the martial arts.

The next group tour to Japan is being planned for March 2015.

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Dates for dojo closure periods are available in the calendar. The KIMAA instructors give their best regards to all for the festive season.

We look forward to seeing you back in 2014.

Shihan Howard Lipman
KIMAA President
8th Dan Kyokushin
6th Dan Kobudo

Year In Review – December 21, 2012

Sempai James Campbell performs tameshiwari (board breaking) with shuto (knife hand).
Board Breaking

2012 was a year of many achievements for Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia, for both its students and instructors.

Sensei Hokama leading instruction on the Bo staff.
Sensei Hokama leading instruction on the Bo staff

Sydney was home to a lot of KIMAA activity. Many Turramurra and Annangrove students had their first experience with tameshiwari (board breaking), and had much success. Karate students of Knox Grammar School made further advancement in technique and fighting skills, and farewelled one of its main coaches and alumnus. The Honbu Dojo held a Black Belt grading in June, with five students earning their 1st Dan Black Belt after a six hour test, including forty full contact fights.

The highlight of the year was undoubtedly Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama’s visit to Australia in September. The 10th Dan master of Karate bunkai and Kobudo weapons spent a weekend with students from the four New South Wales Dojos, developing the skills of the senior grades and introducing basic techniques to beginners.

At the end of the weekend, Sensei Hokama awarded new black belt grades in Kobudo to Shihan Howard Lipman (6th Dan), Shihan Rick Cunningham (5th Dan), Sensei Mark Shelmerdine (3rd Dan), Sensei Paul Finnerty (2nd Dan) and Sempai James Campbell (1st Dan). Overall Sensei Hokama was most impressed with the standard of the KIMAA students at Kobudo.

Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham followed up Sensei’s visit by travelling to Okinawa in November for further training. The two Shihans also took Sensei to learn boomerang throwing and visit Jenolan Caves during his Australian trip. Photos of these have been added to the September article since it was originally published.

Shihan Cunningham with some of Aspley Dojo's new students
Shihan Cunningham with some of Aspley Dojo’s new students

September was a big month for KIMAA, with Sempai Rob James opening up Aspley Dojo. Aspley Dojo, Brisbane, is KIMAA’s first Dojo in Queensland. The Dojo has been successful, and held its first grading in late November. Shihan Cunningham visited in December to run a weekend seminar with Sempai Rob.

National All Styles trophies won by North Coast KIMAA students
National All Styles trophies won by North Coast KIMAA students

Members of Lismore and Ballina Dojos came down to Sydney for the grading and Sensei Hokama’s Seminar. Students from the North Coast also had great success in October, competing back-to-back in two tournaments. Saturday October 20th saw some compete in the Australian Kyokushin Karate Association tournament, and the following day in the National All Styles contest, both in Queensland. Many won places and trophies, and all represented KIMAA admirably.

Late 2012 also saw the launch of this new website. This new website aims to provide both visitors and members of KIMAA with accessible and comprehensive information on Kyokushin Karate and Kobudo. News articles, upcoming events, announcements, and the latest photo and video galleries across all five New South Wales and Queensland Dojos will be made instantly available to you. For live updates, you can click the “Follow” button in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen to receive an email notification every time a new event or gallery is posted. Otherwise, just keep checking in.

Dates for the Dojo closure periods are available in the calendar. The KIMAA instructors wish all a safe and happy holiday season. See you at training in 2013!

Shihan Cunningham, Shihan Lipman