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

Beach Training – December 21, 2013

Members of the Lismore and Ballina dojos finished training for 2013 with a beach session at Wardell. Sensei Mark McFadden and Sempai Jon Ellis led instruction on the day. Sempai Rob James of Aspley Dojo also attended the training session.

The morning was spent on ‘The 3 Ks’ of Kyokushin: kihon, kata and kumite. The junior grades then worked on cardio, running along the beach while the black belts practised kata. Following this was some self-defence work, kumite drills, moving basics and finally some sparring.

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At the end of training, some North Coast students received new grades. The North Coast ‘Student of the Year’ and other awards were also presented.

After the beach session was a party at Sempai Jon’s house.

Thanks go to Sensei Mark and Sempai Jon for organising a great day of training and to Sempai Rob’s partner, Kerry, for the wonderful photography.

Sempai Rob James, Sempai Wally Gray, Sensei Mark McFadden & Sempai Jon Ellis
Sempai Rob James, Sempai Wally Gray, Sensei Mark McFadden & Sempai Jon Ellis

Australian Championships – December 14-15, 2013

On the weekend of December 14-15, KIMAA student Patricia Tan entered the National All Styles Championships, held at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, and achieved great success.

On the Saturday Patricia performed Saiha kata for the Kyu Grade Kata competition, intermediate section, and won the Gold Trophy. Patricia also performed the Bo kata Sushi no Kon Sho in the Traditional Weapons section, which was an open division. Sensei Mark McFadden and Sempai Jon Ellis performed the Bo kata Ufugusuku with Patricia, displaying the application partner work and finished with a take down for the Creative Weapons demonstration. This demonstration won them the Silver Trophy.

Patricia entered the Continuous Sparring and Points Sparring divisions on the Sunday. These were the Veterans Open division and the fights were against black belts from a mix of styles.

North Coast KIMAA students, including Patricia, have previously enjoyed success in the National All Styles competitions in October 2012 and May 2013. Congratulations to the North Coast students for their consistently high standard of performance in these national competitions. Extra congratulations to Patricia Tan for becoming an Australian champion!

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Aspley Dojo Karate Gradings – December 7, 2013

On Saturday December 7, Aspley Dojo held Adults and Little Lions Kyokushin gradings. 

The Adults grading went first, early on the Saturday morning. Jermaine Downs was graded to 5th Kyu, Jim Murphy to 7th Kyu and Mark Mathews to 10th Kyu. Shane Dwyer was not present on the day but has been separately graded to 10th Kyu.

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The Little Lions grading followed. Sidney Murphy was graded to 8th Kyu Level 1, Jack Bolger to 10th Kyu Level 3, Eliza Bolger to 10th Kyu Level 3, Owen Pitt to 10th Kyu Level 2, Jarryd Garnsworthy to 10th Kyu Level 2, Jarryd Garnsworthy to 10th Kyu Level 2 and Rocco Dwyer to 10th Kyu Level 2. Rocco Dwyer also received the ‘Student of the Month’ award for improved fitness.

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The students and parents of the Little Lions enjoyed a BBQ lunch afterwards. 

Aspley Dojo head instructor Sempai Rob James was very happy with the performances on the day. Special mention goes to Aspley Dojo senior student Jermaine Downs, who is making great progress and ‘will make a fine ambassador for Kyokushin’, with great dedication to his training. The Little Lions trained hard for the grading and ‘are an absolute delight to teach’. Congratulations to all of Aspley Dojo’s students for a most successful grading.

Aspley Dojo’s final class for the year will be on Thursday December 19. The Tuesday December 17 classes will not be held. Classes for Aspley Dojo resume on Tuesday January 14 2014.

Okinawa Group Tour – November 17-28, 2013

A group of KIMAA black belts recently travelled to Okinawa, Japan for training. Most of the training was with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama (10th Dan Goju Ryu & Kobudo), and one training session with Shihan Yasuhiro Shichinohe (7th Dan Kyokushin).

The tour group included:

Sensei Hokama & Shihan Lipman, September 2012
Shihan Howard Lipman (8th Dan Kyokushin, 6th Dan Kobudo): This was Shihan Lipman’s twelfth visit to Okinawa to train with Sensei Hokama, and his 67th visit to Japan overall in his martial arts career. Shihan Lipman’s wife, Masumi, also came on the trip, playing ‘mum’ to the group.

Shihan Rick Cunningham (6th Dan Kyokushin, 5th Dan Kobudo): This was also Shihan Cunningham’s twelfth visit to Okinawa to train with Sensei Hokama.

IMG_4638Sensei Mark Shelmerdine (4th Dan Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo): This was Sensei Mark’s fourth visit to Okinawa to train with Sensei Hokama. Sensei Mark attended previous group trips in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Sensei Mark McFadden
(3rd Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo): This was Sensei Mark’s second visit to Okinawa to train with Sensei Hokama. Sensei Mark’s first trip was in 2008.

P1100415Sempai Don Cheong (2nd Dan Kyokushin, 8th Kyu Kobudo): This was Sempai Don’s first visit to Okinawa. Sempai Don started training in Kyokushin at the Turramurra Dojo several years ago as a 1st Dan, earning his 2nd Dan in 2011. He began Kobudo recently, applying his technical excellence in Karate to his study of Kobudo.

IMG_2376Sempai Alex Lloyd (1st Dan Kyokushin, 5th Kyu Kobudo): This was also Sempai Alex’s first visit to Okinawa. Sempai Alex began Kyokushin as a Knox student in 2005. He graduated Knox in 2009 and continued his association with the school as an instructor until 2012. He earned his 1st Dan in 2011, when he also started learning Kobudo.

P1100416Sempai James Campbell (1st Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo): This was Sempai James’s second visit to Okinawa. Sempai James’s first trip was in 2010. Sempai James began Kyokushin in 2008, grading to 1st Dan in 2012. He started Kobudo at Sensei Hokama’s 2009 visit to Australia, and was graded to 1st Dan in Sensei’s 2012 visit to Australia.

The group flew out on the morning of Sunday November 17 and checked in at the Nahana Hotel & Spa late that night. They celebrated with a late dinner at a nearby yakitori bar.

The next morning the group went to Sensei’s dojo to meet him for tea and introductions to the students new to Okinawa, namely Sempai Don and Sempai Alex. The group were presented with gifts from Sensei and had a look around his Karate museum, upstairs from the dojo. After this was a quick visit to Shureido Martial Arts shop. The group separated for the afternoon, with some exploring Kokusai Dori for shopping, and others to Shuri-Jo Castle and the King’s Tomb.

Sensei was busy during the day on Tuesday so the group made use of the time to do a lot of sightseeing. The group went to the bunker used by the Japanese Naval Command in the Battle of Okinawa, followed by the Emperor’s Gardens and the Chinese Gardens.

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Howard, Seki and Rick at dinner after training
Howard, Seki and Rick at dinner after training
Bo training
Bo training

The first training session of the trip was on Tuesday night with Sensei Hokama’s students. Training focused on Sanchin, including moving through the stance while holding weighted jars, and the Gekusai Dai kata. Some work was done on Nunchaku and the Bo. The group demonstrated the first Bo exercise and Kihon kata. Sensei’s students were very impressed with the Australian team. After training Shihan Arakawa, Sensei Seki and Sensei Taira went out with the group for dinner. Sensei Hokama had to greet a student coming to train with him from overseas, so he was unable to attend.

Training continued the next morning with more work on Sanchin and self-defence techniques. Sensei ran the group through the Bo, working on the first exercise, Kihon and Ufugusuku. Following this was the Tonfa kata and Tonfa against a Bo, which was very interesting.

That night the group had a Kyokushin training session with Shihan Shichinohe. Shihan Shichinohe was appointed the Okinawan Kyokushin Branch Chief by Sosai Mas Oyama, as Shihan Lipman was for Australia. Shihan Lipman and Shihan Shichinohe have been friends for a long time. Shihan Lipman’s students found training in Shihan Shichinohe’s dojo a fantastic experience; although the class was completely in Japanese, the Australian students were able to fit right in and train. As Shihan Lipman said in his address at the end of the class, ‘Kyokushin is the same everywhere’. The group had dinner with Shihan Shichinohe, his wife Vera, and his students after class.

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Self-defence training
Self-defence training

Training with Sensei Hokama continued on Thursday morning. A lot of work was done with the Bo, including the basic exercises, all parts of the Kihon kata, Ufugusuku and Sushi no kon Sho. Sensei Seki attended the morning session and worked with the group on the Bo, as well as the Eeku kata. Some more work on Sanchin and general self-defence techniques derived from Sanchin were then studied.

After a quick lunch break, the group practiced Sakugawa no Kon before moving onto the Sai katas Chibana and Hame Higa. Following the Sai, Sensei got students to train with the Nunchaku, then to use two at once! Sensei Mark Shelmerdine came up with a few combinations, leading Sensei Hokama to warn us that Sensei Mark was a ‘dangerous man’. More pressure points, joint locks and self-defence work followed.

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

Following training with Sensei was another quick visit to Shureido and a trip to the ruins of Sohgenji Temple.

On Friday morning the group demonstrated all the katas, partner work and application for the Bo, Eeku and Tonfa for Sensei. Shihan Cunningham and Sensei Mark Shelmerdine also ran through the Kama.

The group spent the afternoon exploring Kokusai Dori, the seven-storey bookstore Junkudo and the old pottery village Tsuboya. Yoshi, KIMAA’s account manager at Shureido, met up with the group for dinner.

Saturday morning was the final training session with Sensei Hokama. Techniques for disarming someone armed with a Bo were looked at, as well as bunkai from Seipai kata.

Sensei Mark McFadden was promoted to 2nd Dan in Kobudo by Shihan Lipman in March. He was formally awarded his certificate by Sensei Hokama on this trip.

Sensei Hokama also gave participation certificates to Sempai Don and Sempai Alex for coming to train with him in Japan.

Sensei Hokama's dojo, exterior
Sensei Hokama’s dojo, exterior

KIMAA senior instructors Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham and Sensei Mark Shelmerdine have had the privilege of training with Sensei Hokama numerous times, and every trip adds to their knowledge of the martial arts.

For students such as Sensei Mark McFadden and Sempai James, who have already been to Okinawa, the opportunity to go back and expand their understanding of Karate and Kobudo is one they used well and most enjoyed.

For Sempai Don and Sempai Alex, training with seniors in Japan who have such a profound knowledge of the martial arts and ability to perform them was an unbeatable experience.

All were most grateful to Sensei Hokama for his time, Masumi for providing translation when necessary, and to Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham for organising the trip.

On the morning of Sunday November 24, the group flew out to Kyoto for some sightseeing, with the exception of Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, who returned home for a short holiday with his family.

The group checked into the Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa on Sunday afternoon and made the most of their time in the city. On Sunday afternoon the group went to Tozando (a sword shop) and Chion-in Temple. The Autumn colours of the maple trees were in full bloom and a spectacular sight. At night, the group went to Kiyomizudera, which was packed with people but worth wading through the crowd for the wonderful views of the maple trees lit up at night.

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On Monday, the group went to Arashiyama to explore a range of temples, Togetsukyo Bridge and a bamboo forest. On Tuesday, the group split up to visit different areas. Shihan Lipman, Shihan Cunningham, Sensei Mark and Sempai James went to Nijo Castle followed by some shopping. Masumi visited her mother. Sempai Don and Sempai Alex went to the Fushimi Inari shrine. Everyone enjoyed their time and met up for an end of tour group dinner.

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Everyone checked out of the hotel on Wednesday morning and took a bus to Itami airport. From there they flew from Itami to Tokyo, then Tokyo to Sydney, arriving just before 8 am on Thursday morning, November 28. The group warmly thanked Masumi for looking after them all so well with a very nice Japanese silk scarf, and once again extend their sincere gratitude to Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham for a wonderful trip.

Knox Karate Gradings – November 2, 2013

On Saturday November 2, Shihan Howard Lipman held gradings for the Knox Grammar senior and prep school Karate classes. Stuart Bridges (3rd Kyu), Sam Hoberman (4th Kyu) and Jono Cheng (4th Kyu) led the senior school group while Zach Zibaee (6th Kyu), Jay-T Stubbs (6th Kyu) and James Tan (6th Kyu) led the prep school group.

Sempai Rebecca Humphries, Sempai Alex Lloyd, Stephen Runge, Nicholas Cheng and Simon Emmerson attended the grading. Sempai Alex and Steph took the students through basics and other components of the grading. All five fought the students in kumite.

Shihan Lipman was pleased with the performance of the Knox students on the day. Saturday November 9 will be normal training. An end of school year Karate BBQ for both the senior and prep school students is to be held at Knox on November 16. Certificates and belts will be presented to students at this event.

Knox Senior School grading results – click to download.
Knox Prep School grading results – click to download.

Below left: Shihan Howard Lipman, Sempai Rebecca Humphries, Sempai Alex Lloyd, Nicholas Cheng, Simon Emmerson & the Knox senior school Karate class.

Below right: Shihan Howard Lipman, Sempai Alex Lloyd, Stephen Runge, Simon Emmerson & the Knox prep school Karate class.

Lismore Seminar – August 24-25, 2013

Lismore Dojo hosted a special Karate and Kobudo seminar on the weekend of August 24-25. Shihan Rick Cunningham (6th Dan Kyokushin, 5th Dan Kobudo) travelled up from Sydney to run the seminar hosted by Sensei Mark McFadden and Sempai Jon Ellis. Sempai Rob James and some of his students also came down from Brisbane to participate.

The Saturday afternoon focused on Karate, in particular kata applications (bunkai), and the Sunday was spent on Kobudo, namely the Bo, Sai and Eeku.

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Little Lions students from the North Coast classes and Aspley Dojo also participated over the weekend. The instructors extend their thanks to the parents for bringing the kids along for the weekend, especially those who came down from Queensland. It was an excellent opportunity for these young karateka to meet and train with Shihan Cunningham. The Little Lions were awarded with certificates of participation at the end of the weekend.

The highlight of the weekend, besides the great training, was seeing the North Coast and Queensland Dojos come together again in the spirit of Kyokushin. Sempai Rob was very grateful to Sensei Mark for hosting and looks forward to returning the favour in the future.