Sydney KIMAA Seminar – March 23-24, 2019

Shihan Rick Cunningham demonstrates bunkai at the KIMAA seminar.

On the weekend of March 23-24, 2019, the first KIMAA seminar of the year was held at Sydney’s Annangrove Dojo, run by Hanshi Howard Lipman and Shihan Rick Cunningham. Karateka from across New South Wales and Queensland KIMAA dojos attended the weekend.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Thank you to all who participated in the seminar. Photography and videography by Sempai Jonathan Lee.

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.”

Senior Grading – December 8, 2018

The second senior Kyokushin grading of 2018 was held at KIMAA‘s Honbu, Turramurra Dojo. Hanshi Howard Lipman assessed the students while Shihan Peter Olive conducted the grading.

Jermaine Downs arriving at Turramurra Dojo, from Brisbane, ahead of the grading.

Participants came from Turramurra, Annangrove Dojo, Young Dojo and Brisbane Dojo. Sensei David Craigie and Sensei Rob James shepherded their students from afar, and Sensei Mark McFadden and Sempai Patricia Tan of Lismore Dojo also came down to support those attempting new grades.

Four students were attempted their 1st Dan Black Belt, which led of course to the world-renowned Kyokushin 40 fights.

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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

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Sempai Jermaine Downs and Hanshi Howard Lipman after the grading.

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 much tournament experience 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 Darley during the grading.

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.

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

Congratulations to all who participated in the grading – a strong, fine way to end the year.

KIKO Tournament – November 4, 2018

After their success in the Griffith Riverina Tournament, Sensei David Craigie took his students Josh and Damon to the November KIKO Tournament. The Kyokushin International Karate Organisation is run by Kancho Doug Turnbull.

The KIMAA Young Dojo karateka were both competing in their first Kyokushin Sydney tournament.

Josh Galea, in the male adults beginners/intermediate 80kg & over, was the Australian Champion in his division.

Damon Townsend, male adults beginners under 70kg was the Australian Champion in his division.

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Congratulations to both Josh and Damon. Sensei David praised his students for their “efforts and tenacity”.

Griffith Riverina Tournament – September 30, 2018

Two Kyokushin karateka of Young Dojo entered the Griffith Riverina Tournament in the full contact division.

They were supported by other students from their dojo and coached by Sensei David Craigie.

Damon fought in the novice lightweight division and came First. Josh fought in the novice heavyweight division and took Second place.

For Damon’s fight for First place, it was taken to an extension. Damon won the bout by knocking his opponent out with jodan mawashi geri (head-high roundhouse kick).

Congratulations to both students and for representing KIMAA.

Shihan Ken KIMAA Seminar – September 19-24, 2018

September 2018 saw Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia host its third Shihan Ken Seminar.

Shihan Ken Ogura with nunchaku, March 2015.
KIMAA tour group with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura.

KIMAA traditionally runs two seminars in Sydney twice a year, in addition to those conducted at the other dojos. In the 2015 Japan Group Tour, senior KIMAA karateka met and trained with Shihan Ken Ogura (8th Dan) at Sensei Hokama’s dojo. The group were all impressed with Shihan Ken’s martial arts ability, and his excellent teaching. Hanshi Howard Lipman invited Shihan Ken to Australia to conduct a seminar in 2016, focusing on bunkai (self-defence application from techniques, particularly in kata) and Kobudo. This was repeated in 2017 and again this year, due to the seminars’ continuing success and the interest of students.

This year, Shihan Ken (who lives in Nagoya, Japan) arrived in Australia on Wednesday September 19th. He came by the Kids Class at Turramurra Dojo with Hanshi Howard, Sensei James Sidwell and Sempai Jasper Choi.

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The seminar formally began on the Thursday night at Turramurra. The smaller group focused on bunkai from Sanchin, Pinan Yon and Pinan Go. Shihan Peter Olive resumed his role as Shihan Ken’s partner in bunkai – a.k.a. crash test dummy!

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The Thursday night group with Shihan Ken Ogura.

The Friday night drew a large crowd. Students from Ballina and Lismore dojos arrived, under the leadership of Sensei Mark McFadden, Sempai Wally Gray, Sempai Patricia Tan and seniors from Ballina Dojo. The first wave of karateka from Young Dojo, including Sensei David Craigie and Sempai Mark Long, also arrived.

Training focused on the same kata as the previous day – revision for the now ‘advanced’ students while everyone else caught up.

Special guests for the seminar, just on the Friday night, included Kancho Doug Turnbull and some of his KIKO students. Also appearing over the weekend was Kie Matsuoka, one of Shihan Ken’s students, who came out from Japan to train with Shihan Ken and KIMAA.

After training, the class went to dinner at Gordon Noodle City.

The Friday night group at the 2018 Shihan Ken KIMAA Seminar.

The seminar continued on the weekend at Annangrove Dojo. The rest of the Young Dojo contingent arrived. The day began with a basics session, conducted by Hanshi Howard. Students then broke up into groups based on grade level. Black belts studied Seienchin bunkai with Shihan Ken, while junior grades were taught by other seniors elsewhere.

Juniors took a turn with Shihan Ken, while Yudansha revised Pinan Ura kata with Shihan Peter and middle kyu grades practised Pinan Ni with Sensei Ben Ng. Then the middle-senior kyu grades went inside with Shihan Ken to look at a group bunkai drill for Gekisai Dai, assisted by Sensei Paul Finnerty.

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Junior kyu grades then had a turn learning new kata bunkai with Shihan Ken. The senior grades worked on the formality, intensity and accuracy of Sanbon Kumite. Shihan Idir Bahamid had middle kyu grades revise Naihanchi kata, then Shihan Rick Cunningham taught the group some bunkai for that kata. A few students took turns over the course of the weekend being Shihan Ken’s new demonstration partner, including Sempai James Campbell and Sempai Jason Lambe.

Shihan Ken also took some seniors through various Kobudo drills after lunch.

At the end of the day, Hanshi Howard presented Sensei Alex Lloyd his 3rd Dan in Kobudo and Sensei James Sidwell his 2nd Dan in Kobudo. They had been graded the previous month by Hanshi Howard and Shihan Rick, and now were formally presented with their certificates from Sensei Hokama (10th Dan).

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It was a long day with a large number of training sessions. Well done to all. Thanks go to both days on the weekend to Sensei Ian Holdaway, Kirsti Cunningham and Masumi Lipman for keeping everyone fed.

After the last photos were taken for the day, a dinner was held at Shihan Rick’s home.

At the end of Saturday at the 2018 Shihan Ken Seminar.

Training resumed Sunday morning. Things began with an outdoor basics session – during which, a long selfie stick and drone were flying around to film the training. This  and other footage compiled over the past few years was put together for the new KIMAA video.

KIMAA Little Lions were in attendance on the Sunday morning. Shihan Ken held a class for the kids while the adults split into groups for Kobudo training, based on their experience level. Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, Sensei Paul Finnerty, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Alex Lloyd, Sensei James Sidwell, Sensei Ian Holdaway and Sempai James Campbell taught Bo and Sai to the groups.

After lunch, the kids were done for the day and the adults went back to training with Shihan Ken. This included some revision of kata bunkai and sanbon kumite. Finally, Shihan Rick conducted a bunkai test – having students rotate through different pairs, demonstrating bunkai from various kata at random.

KIMAA has firm standards of students being able to demonstrate bunkai in Kyokushin Karate gradings – the quantity and complexity of which being dependent on their grade level. These seminars are an integral part of this preparation.

A group demonstration of the Naihanchi kata was recorded on the Sunday afternoon.

The final session of the seminar was held on the Monday night at Turramurra Dojo. Shihan Ken had fun in the Kids Class, including some sparring. The adults class focused exclusively on bunkai from the Okinawan Seipai kata.

At the end, Sensei Mark, Sensei James and Sensei Alex demonstrated the Kyokushin Seipai kata for Shihan Ken, which he found most impressive. At the end of the night, Shihan Ken expressed his warm thanks for his reception in Australia, and how much he has enjoyed watching the organisation come along over the years he has been affiliated with us.

The final night of the 2018 Shihan Ken Seminar.

Thanks go to everyone who travelled to Sydney for the weekend, especially of course to Shihan Ken Ogura for travelling from Japan on this third occasion to teach KIMAA students. Further thanks go to all the seminar organisers, including Hanshi Howard Lipman and Shihan Rick Cunningham.

It is now over to the instructors and students who attended the seminar to revise what they learned, consolidate their knowledge and continue to develop their skills – to keep travelling the path.