After a challenging year, it was a great pleasure for karateka from all six KIMAA dojos to gather in Sydney for the end-of-year grading.
The KIMAA senior grading was conducted on Saturday 12 December at Annangrove Dojo. It was a 6-hour event, finishing with the famous 40 fights for Kyokushin Shodan. Select younger students from Sydney and a range of adult students from all dojos participated, with grade levels varying from 7th Kyu to 4th Dan.
Hanshi Howard was pleased with the standard displayed by all attempting to grade, especially given to the disruption in training earlier in the year.
It was a memorable, long afternoon of fights. All the kids did their fights first…
… followed by the adults.
Thirteen Black Belt grades were awarded. Congratulations go to Shihan Mark Shelmerdine (5th Dan), Shihan James Sidwell (5th Dan), Sensei Ben Ng (4th Dan), Sensei Don Cheong (4th Dan), Sempai Patricia Tan (2nd Dan), Sempai Tony Kuo (1st Dan), Sempai Larissa Watson (1st Dan), Sempai Blayne Gayle (1st Dan), Sempai Mick Calnan (1st Dan), Sempai Nalin Alwis (1st Dan), Sempai Eric Wright (1st Dan), Sempai Sean Stevens (1st Dan) and Sempai Annika Allen (1st Dan).
Thanks go to all instructors and students who travelled intrastate and interstate to Sydney for the occasion to Sensei Alex Lloyd and Sempai Jessica Den for the photos and videos of the day, and to Shihan Rick Cunningham for use of his dojo.
KIMAA instructors hope all students and their families remain in good health, physical and mental, during this challenging year.
For KIMAA, the COVID-19 global pandemic meant a cancelling of the March Japan group tour (including a tournament), and of course all dojos closing down in-person training for a time, in adherence with the NSW and QLD Health guidelines.
Turramurra, Lismore and Ballina dojos offered remote learning opportunities. Broadcasting once a week from Sydney, Hanshi Howard Lipman encouraged all KIMAA students to engage in the online Zoom classes open to the whole organisation, from the North Coast to Brisbane and Young dojos. Sensei Ben Ng did an outstanding job leading training each week. Some of these classes focused on kata and technical precision, while others were a mix of basics, kata and fitness.
All students displayed great adaptation and flexibility in the unusual circumstances.
As regulations changed allowing for group outdoor training in varying sizes, Shihan Rick Cunningham offered outdoor Karate and Kobudo training at the park adjacent to Annangrove Dojo. These classes proved a popular return to in-person training for many students, regardless of the winter weather.
All dojos have been reopened for training since June, following appropriate COVID safety protocols. For further questions on these protocols, please contact the head instructor of your particular dojo.
We encourage all students to return to training, and to feel safe and confident in doing so. Let’s punch our way through the rest of 2020 together. Osu!
The weekend focussed on standardisation of technique and instructing, Kata and Bunkai, Kumite and Kobudo in small groups, so all members could train appropriate to their grade level and other requirements.
In the sparring component of the weekend, students came together to engage in kumite with students of varying grade and size, and from different dojos. The goal from the sparring session was to maintain movement and keep nimble. Guards were encouraged for this activity. Different grades were paired together from the various KIMAA dojos. The bouts were relatively short to enable the participants to experience kumite against a number of different people.
At the end of the first day training of the seminar, the KIMAA dojo operators made a presentation to Hanshi Howard Lipman. In recognition of the immense perseverance and determination Hanshi has demonstrated in maintaining his commitment to martial arts and Kyokushin over such a long period of 50 years, Hanshi was awarded a plaque as well as a book of memories.
All of the KIMAA students appreciate and thank Hanshi for the continual patience and support that he has shown them over those years.
Saturday night was spent at Shihan Rick’s for a roast dinner and drinks. A special mention to both Sempai Stephen Runge for contributing a delicious roast pork and Sensei Ian Holdaway, who cooked our BBQ lunches.
A lot was learned by all who attended and it is paramount that what was learned is continuously trained, embedded and refined.
It was a great weekend and another example of how well all the KIMAA dojos bond and support one another and we are looking forward to all catching up at the senior grading in December.
Sensei Rob commenced these classes as he believes in the power of martial arts to make a difference. He has had a few kids on the spectrum pass through his dojo over the years, and they were all stand outs. “Every single one of them.” Sensei Rob was inspired to promote and dedicate classes for these children. He ended up with 8 kids in the 8-week trial period at the Pine Rivers PCYC.
Some of the children in the classes would not even speak, yet every student was committing to a loud kiai after only one class. They were all enthusiastic and took to Sensei Rob without much effort. From there, everything flowed into a very relaxing atmosphere. They handled the etiquette and discipline with aplomb, as a clear structure often does for children on the spectrum.
The classes comprise everything from basic technique and fitness to studying the movements of the first forms (kata), and even some self-defence applications.
Sensei Rob will resume these classes in the very near future. All enquiries should be directed to Sensei at the contact details on the Brisbane Dojo page.
On the Saturday morning, Hanshi Howard led a basics and bunkai session. The focus was on correcting students’ technique, as Hanshi stressed the importance of maintaining Sosai’s legacy for perfection. This included blocking combinations, and moving backwards and forwards in stance.
As the day continued, students were broken up by grade. Juniors focused on kata, both new forms and revision of existing patterns. The seniors were given a lesson in competition judging, specifically in tournament refereeing.
Sunday saw a revision of Saturday’s lessons. Sempai Patricia Tan began the session with a Tai Chi muscle warm-up before the class got into basics again. This was followed by more kata and bunkai.
Thank you to all who participated in the seminar. Photography and videography by Sempai Jonathan Lee.
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.
Seminar black belts: Sempai Wally Gray, Sensei Jon Ellis, Hanshi Howard Lipman, Sempai Alex Lloyd, Sempai Patricia Tan and Sensei Rob James.
The karate class after the grading on Sunday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Four students were attempted their 1st Dan Black Belt, which led of course to the world-renowned Kyokushin 40 fights.
Hearty efforts were put in by all students. Congratulations to all the senior kyu grades. Special recognition goes to the Yudansha:
Sempai Joshua Darley, Nidan
Sempai Stephen Runge, Shodan
Sempai Jermaine Downs, Shodan
Sempai Bernard Wilson, Shodan
Sempai Cody Choi, Shodan
Sempai Jermaine is a hard-working, strong, diligent student from Brisbane Dojo. He is the first to reach Shodan from Brisbane, under the tutelage of Sensei Rob James. Sempai Jermaine has balanced his Kyokushin training with work and family commitments, but always attended seminars when he is able, and has been a strong deputy to Sensei Rob. He is a highly a capable fighter, budding instructor and good martial artist, with a bright future ahead of him. Congratulations Sempai Jermaine, and Sensei Rob on bringing your first student to back belt.
Sempai Cody is one of a crop of promising young KIMAA karateka who have, after years of dedicated training under Hanshi Howard and Sensei James Sidwell, persisted and worked in the adult General Classes towards the goal of Shodan. He has previously competed in tournaments.
Sempai Bernard also has muchtournamentexperience and trained with increasing intensity over the years, becoming a strong young man with many years of excellent Karate ahead of him.
Sempai Stephen has been training at Turramurra Dojo for a long time, despite persistent injuries. His dedicated attitude to training despite obstacles has not gone unnoticed. He has also become a regular assistant instructor in the Kids classes and to newcomers in the General classes. He is an invaluable presence at the dojo, and a good Karate man.
Sempai Josh began his Karate training in 2012 and has been an impressive young personality at Turramurra Dojo since the beginning. He has fought in tournaments, trained with Shihan Ken Ogura, done tameshiwari and regularly pushed himself to the next level of technical excellence. He has applied himself diligently in his training to Nidan, as he did for Shodan. While it is rare for one so young to be a Nidan, he has certainly earned the grade in the eyes of the seniors.
That night, everyone celebrated with the Turramurra Christmas Party – with all those out-of-town and grading invited along, of course.
Congratulations to all who participated in the grading – a strong, fine way to end the year.