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

North Coast Competition Victories – October 20-21, 2012

Students from the NSW North Coast Dojos competed in two competitions this October up in Queensland.

The team did incredibly well in the Australian Kyokushin Karate Association titles, held on Saturday October 20. Many students competed in the full contact and non-contact events. Of these Rian and Jeremy won placements in the contact event (1st and 3rd), and Courtney in the non-contact event (1st).

The next day, October 21st, students also competed in the Queensland National All Styles. They entered in traditional weapons, point sparring, continuous sparring, kata and more. Jeremy Grey came 1st in continuous sparring, doing it the hard way with 2 draws and following on from the Saturday’s competition. Dianne Turner came 1st in the Queensland Veterans Women Continuous Sparring, and Trish Tan came 2nd in the same division. Trish also came 2nd in the point sparring at Kyu grade level. Those who did not win trophies still performed admirably, putting in the effort to train, to compete and perform their best.

North Coast team that competed at the National All Styles, October 21.

Sensei Hokama’s Australian Seminar – September 14-16, 2012

Sensei Hokama came to Sydney at the invitation of Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham. This invitation came after the success of 2009, and the considerable amount of time they have spent with Sensei over their numerous trips to Okinawa. This was Sensei’s second trip to Australia to teach at a seminar organised by KIMAA.

The seminar included Kobudo techniques and Kata, with Sai and Bo, as well as Kata and Kata Bunkai, Gyaku Waza, and some pressure point techniques. Sensei seems particularly fond of these! Those who have been subjected to such techniques before tend to move to the rear and push the more junior students forward, or Seniors who have not “enjoyed this experience previously”. The more senior group also learnt techniques and the first Kata with the Eeku, a new experience for many. KIMAA students from Sydney and the North Coast Dojos participated, as well as many guest Shihans and Senseis.

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The seminar went over Friday night at Turramurra, and all day Saturday and Sunday at Annangrove. This included a group dinner at Noodle City in Gordon on Friday, and a BBQ dinner at Shihan Cunningham’s on Saturday. The seminar was enjoyed by all with many new friendships formed.

Students were split into groups depending on their knowledge. Besides the adult classes, there were classes for children and adolescents, many of whom had their first experience with the Bo and acquitted themselves well. Sensei moved around these groups with Shihan Lipman so they all benefited from Sensei’s teaching.

In addition to the seminar, Shihan Lipman and Cunningham took Sensei to have some Boomerang throwing lessons with Albert, a full-blood Aboriginal, and he became quite proficient in a short period of time. After the weekend the Shihans also took him to Jenolan caves, which he thought was a great experience as he has a deep understanding of all things archaeological.

Sensei was most impressed by the standard of the students and the teaching ability of those involved, as well as the enjoyment and friendliness of the students.

The highlight of the seminar was Shihan Lipman being promoted to Renshi in Hokama Okinawan Kobudo and awarded the rank of Rokudan (6th Dan). In addition, Shihan Cunningham was promoted to be a full-fledged Shihan in Hokama Okinawan Kobudo and was promoted to the rank of Godan (5th Dan). Sensei Mark Shelmerdine received his 3rd Dan, Sensei Paul Finnerty the rank of 2nd Dan, and Sempai James Campbell the rank of 1st Dan, as well as some new Kyu grades.

Shihan Lipman and Cunningham will travel again to Okinawa on November 18th for one week for further training with Sensei.

Special thanks go to all those who helped with instruction and those who helped organise the BBQ. Very special thanks go to Kirsti, Shihan Cunningham’s wife, for organising food for a small army and making accomodation available for so many. Very special thanks also goes to Shihan Lipman’s wife, Masumi, for all her help with Sensei, taking care of him in their home and assisting with translation during training.

A small selection of photos are featured in the sideshow above. More photos, including individual shots with Sensei Hokama, are available on discs that can be loaned to KIMAA students from Turramurra and Annangrove Dojos.

Black Belt Grading – June 23, 2012

Mark Varnam, Jessica Den, James Campbell, Todd Murphy and Di Turner all participated in Kyokushin’s world-renowned six hour Shodan (1st Dan) grading on June 23rd. They performed admirably and have been welcomed as KIMAA’s newest black belts.

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Other KIMAA students performed to a high standard, including Jonathan Lee, Theo Schreuder, Nick Cheng and Chris Alcorn, who all reached 1st Kyu.

Karate & Kobudo Seminar – August 26-28, 2011

The much awaited Karate & Kobudo Seminar was held on the last weekend of August. On Friday the 26th at Turramurra Dojo, participants came to revise bunkai techniques and takedowns as well as learn some new ones. It was a successful night with a lot of the work revolving around the Pinan Katas and other throws, followed by a group dinner.

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The next morning started promptly at Annangrove Dojo at 8am. Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham, Sensei Mark and Sensei Paul took turns instructing the beginners in the basics of the Bo staff and Sai. Despite a few “mishandlings” of the Sai, the new students picked up the techniques well. Those already learning Kobudo progressed onto new kata and bunkai, as well as helping the beginners with partner work. Training went for nine hours followed by a barbeque dinner at Shihan Cunningham’s.

The next morning was the same early start. After a couple of hours of revision, younger students from the Kids and Knox classes arrived to learn the basics of the Bo.

By mid-afternoon a Grading was held. The adult beginners went through the Bo and Sai, whereas the Kids and Knox groups just concentrated on the Bo. Ian Holdaway, James Campbell, Jessica Den and Todd Murphy also graded with the Bo, Sai and Eeku, giving a fine demonstration to the newer students of how their Kata should look with a bit more practice!

It was a well-run, highly successful weekend that covered a lot of ground and generated significant interest in Kobudo within KIMAA. Many thanks to the Shihans for the wonderful weekend. This is some footage from the seminar:

Visit to Far North Coast – July, 2010

Shihan Howard Lipman spent time in the Far North Coast of New South Wales to instruct and train with students from Lismore Dojo and Ballina Dojo. The visit was a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended training.

Training was focused on refining grabbing techniques and kata on the first night in Lismore. The focus turned to Kobudo at Ballina Dojo on the second night. Shihan Lipman also dedicated an entire Saturday to develop Sempai Mark McFadden and Sempai Jon Ellis, which in turn will further benefit KIMAA’s North Coast students.


Sensei Hokama Visits Australia – February, 2009

Written by Shihan Lipman, 2009

Shihan Cunningham and I invited Sensei Hokama to come to Sydney in February of 2009.

He happily accepted the invitation, and came for eight days, during this time he stayed in my home and we had many long discussions.

The purpose of us inviting Sensei to Sydney was to show him our Dojos, introduce him to our students, and for him to see firsthand the progress they had made in their study of Kobudo.

During his stay Sensei attended one of the Knox Grammar School classes and as expected proved really popular with them.

He took three general classes at Turramurra Dojo based on Kata Bunkai, Gyaku Te and Kyusho techniques.

His last class was held at Annangrove Dojo and was devoted to Bo Jutsu, this class again proved very popular and the students’ knowledge went up a notch.

Everyone enjoyed being with Sensei as his instruction is always interesting and his manner towards everyone open and friendly… is the Okinawan way.