KIMAA Weekend Seminar – May 9-10, 2015

Saturday training group.
Saturday training group.

The first KIMAA seminar for 2015 was held on the weekend of May 9-10 at Annangrove Dojo.

Sensei Mark McFadden (3rd Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo) and Sempai Wally Gray (1st Dan Kyokushin) brought down students from Lismore and Ballina, while Sempai Rob James (2nd Dan Kyokushin) brought some of his students from Aspley.

Sensei Paul Finnerty performing basics.
Sensei Paul Finnerty performing basics.

Training began on Saturday afternoon under the instruction of Shihan Rick Cunningham (6th Dan Kyokushin, 6th Dan Kobudo). Shihan Cunningham took the students through Kyokushin basics, focusing on the progression from initial basic training to practical use in kumite (sparring). This involved various partner work and light contact exercises.

Students were broken up into groups for Kobudo, focusing on the Bo and Sai. After this, everyone came back together for bag work and more contact drills.

The senior grades and visitors from the Far North Coast and Brisbane then went to Shihan Cunningham’s for dinner.

Sunday morning started at 9 am with a basics session led by Shihan Howard Lipman (8th Dan Kyokushin, 7th Dan Kobudo). The first session had an emphasis on technical precision, to check standards and ensure uniformity across the five KIMAA dojos. The class also practised Sanchin kata.

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Everyone then rotated through partners for practising bunkai, including from the senior kata Seienchen.

After a lunch, prepared by Sensei Ian Holdaway (3rd Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) and Shihan Cunningham’s wife, Kirsti, students again broke up into groups for Kobudo.

Sensei Paul Finnerty (4th Dan Kyokushin, 3rd Dan Kobudo), Sensei Mark Shelmerdine (4th Dan Kyokushin, 4th Dan Kobudo) and Sensei Ian took various junior groups through the Bo, while Shihan Cunningham, Sempai James Campbell (2nd Dan Kyokushin, 2nd Dan Kobudo) and Sempai Alex Lloyd (2nd Dan Kyokushin, 1st Dan Kobudo) took the senior Kobudo grades through the Bo and Eeku. This advanced group also consolidated knowledge from the recent Okinawa trip and all the training with Sensei Hokama.

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Patricia Tan receiving her 4th Kyu Kobudo certificate.
Patricia Tan receiving her 4th Kyu Kobudo certificate.

The final session had students break up into groups based on what they wanted to focus on. This included more Kobudo, Kyokushin kata and applying a choke.

At the end of the class, Patricia Tan received her certificate for 4th Kyu in Kobudo.

The KIMAA senior grades and other students extend their thanks to Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham for organising another successful seminar.

The next weekend seminar will be held in the second half of the year.

Sunday Seminar Group.

Sunday Seminar Group.

Queensland IKO State Titles – April 11, 2015

In September 2012, Aspley Dojo was opened by Sempai Rob James. Within three years of the opening of KIMAA’s Brisbane dojo, on April 11 this year, Sempai Rob and students celebrated their first milestone: five Aspley Dojo fighters competed in a state tournament – the Queensland IKO State Titles. Some have been training with Sempai Rob since the beginning, while others are a lot more recent to join the fold. All did their dojo proud.

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Aspley Dojo came away with three medals:

  • 1st Colts Middleweight Novice
  • 2nd in the Men’s Light Weight Novice
  • 2nd Boys Aged 7-8 Years

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.”

Congratulations to the competitors of Aspley Dojo, and to Sempai Rob. Special thanks also goes to Sensei Mark McFadden, who came up from Lismore to help support the team on the day.

Sempai Rob James and Aspley Dojo students
Sempai Rob James and Aspley Dojo students

Japan Tour Pt 3: Kobudo Grading and Sightseeing – March 16-26, 2015

The following article continues the story of the 2015 KIMAA Group Tour to Japan. Click here to read Part 1 and click here to read Part 2.

We had no training on Monday, so we used the free time to enjoy doing a couple of Kyokushin photo shoots, following the paths of many martial artists before us. First, we did a shoot at Shurijo.

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

We then went to the old ruins of Nakagusuku and continued the shoot.

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On Tuesday morning, Sensei Hokama presented new Kobudo black belt grades, based on the Friday and Saturday sessions and on the recommendation of Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham. The new Kobudo grades included:

7th Dan

Shihan Howard Lipman

6th Dan

Shihan Rick Cunningham

4th Dan

Sensei Mark Shelmerdine

3rd Dan

Sensei Paul Finnerty

Sensei Mark McFadden

2nd Dan

Sensei Jon Ellis

Sempai James Campbell

1st Dan

Sensei Ian Holdaway

Sempai Jessica Den

Sempai Todd Murphy

Sempai Alex Lloyd

Congratulations to all the new Kobudo grades!

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KIMAA tour group with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura
KIMAA tour group with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura

Sensei was still feeling unwell so his visiting Branch Chief from Nagoya, Shihan Ken Ogura, took the class. Shihan Ogura was very impressed with the standard displayed by KIMAA and proclaimed the “Australian team” the best he had ever taught!

Shihan Ken Ogura with nunchaku.
Shihan Ken Ogura with nunchaku

We had the afternoon off. Some of the group took Trish to the Chinese Gardens, where we enjoyed the tranquility of the grounds.

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That night it was back to Sensei’s dojo for our final training session. Sensei watched as Shihan Arakawa took the class. We did some fitness and conditioning, then some more traditional Okinawan training, including moving through Sanchin with jars and dumbbells. We then moved onto kata and bunkai.

Tuesday night class.
Tuesday night class

The following day, Wednesday March 18, we were off to Hiroshima for the next stage of our trip.

We left Hiroshima on Friday but did a lot in our brief time there. This included taking a ferry to Miyajima to explore the island and climb to the peak of Mt Misen; visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum; and seeing Hiroshima Castle. Sensei Mark had been to Hiroshima before and took up the mantle of KIMAA Tour Guide.

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After Hiroshima we made our way to Kyoto. We explored the markets on Friday afternoon and went to a green tea shop.

We started off Saturday with a traditional green tea ceremony, which was delicious and enjoyable.

We spent the rest of Saturday and Sunday exploring a range of beautiful shrines and temples. These included the streets surrounding Kiyomizu-dera (Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka) and the nearby Yasaka no To Pagoda; Kodai-ji; Kennin-ji; Heian Shrine; Nanzen-ji, Eikan-do Zenrin-ji; Ginkaku-ji and Kinkaku-ji. We also perambulated the Philosopher’s Walk, all the while admiring the local scenery.

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The cherry blossoms were just starting to come into bloom during our time in Kyoto.

On Monday the group went to Kurama and hiked through the mountains to Kibune, where it snowed as we finished the trek. We then made our way back to Kurama to relax in the outdoor Onsen while the snow fell.

Shihan Rick Cunningham in the sleet of Kibune.
Shihan Rick Cunningham in the sleet of Kibune

Tuesday was the group’s final day in Kyoto. They started with Sanjusangen-do Temple, featuring the Hall of 1001 Kannon Statues. The group split up for the rest of the day, until a final dinner that night: Shihan Lipman and Masumi shopped; Shihan Cunningham, Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon and Trish went back to Kiyomizu-dera and the surrounding streets, followed by watching an impressive archery demonstration at the Budo Centre; and Sempai Don, Sempai James and Sempai Alex shopped and enjoyed the food markets, and Sempai Alex also went to Nijo Castle.

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The group arrived safe and sound back in Sydney on the morning of Thursday March 26. The trip was a great success and very enjoyable, from Sempai Don and Sempai James competing at a high standard in the tournament; quality training with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura; a number of new Kobudo black belt grades; and the sightseeing in Hiroshima and Kyoto.

Shihan Lipman and Shihan Cunningham are now looking ahead to consolidate the knowledge gained on the trip and to pass it onto the wider KIMAA student body. Of particular note is the upcoming seminar in May.

The rest of the group thank Shihan Lipman, Masumi and Shihan Cunningham for a wonderful trip!

Japan Tour Pt 2: The Tournament – March 15, 2015

The following article continues the story of the 2015 KIMAA Group Tour to Japan. Click here to read Part 1.

The 22nd Okinawa Karate Tournament was held on March 15. This Kyokushin tournament was hosted by Shihan Yasuhiro Shichinohe (7th Dan Kyokushin). Shihan Howard Lipman’s friendship with Shihan Shichinohe goes back many years.

Representing KIMAA – and Australia – at the tournament this year were Sempai Don Cheong and Sempai James Campbell. Both competed at the Australian Nationals in 2014, and Sempai James also in the Queensland State Titles.

Sensei Mark McFadden and Sensei Jon Ellis were the coaches on the day. Sempai Alex Lloyd was the photographer. Trish Tan was the team physio and assisted Sempai Alex with filming the fights.

Shihan Shichinohe gave the group the great honour of all having seats at the Officials Table.

Sempai James Campbell won his first round with great strength.

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Sempai Don Cheong fought very well but unfortunately lost his fight.

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Sempai James approached his second fight with the same intensity as his first. He won, making it to the Quarter Finals.

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As a Quarter Finalist, the local press interviewed Sempai James – with help from Masumi!

After a lunch break, it was time for the quarter finalists to perform Tameshiwari (“trial by breaking”, or board breaking). Four breaks (minimum three boards per break) had to be made using forefist, knife hand, elbow and heel. Sempai James was one of the few entrants to complete each break on the first attempt.

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Sempai James’s Quarter Final round was hard-fought, but he lost the round. He finished in the top eight adult male competitors at the tournament.

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We congratulate both competitors on their excellent performance. They made their instructors and coaches very proud.

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We were invited to attend the Sayonara Party that night, where Sempai Don and Sempai James received further congratulations. Shihan Shichinohe expressed to James how impressed he was with his punch! We enjoyed socialising with old friends from Shihan Shichinohe’s dojo and new friends made on the day.

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Well done Don and James.

The third and final article on the 2015 Japan Tour can be read here.

Japan Tour Pt 1: Sensei Hokama – March 11-14, 2015

On the night of March 11, the KIMAA Japan Group Tour for 2015 departed Sydney for the island of Okinawa. The group included:

All of us had been to Japan before – an understatement for some! – but it was Trish’s first time in Okinawa and first KIMAA tour.

The trip had three main focuses:

  • The Okinawa Karate Tournament
  • Training with Sensei Hokama, including a Kobudo black belt grading
  • Sightseeing in Hiroshima and Kyoto

We reached our hotel early in the afternoon on Thursday. After checking in our first destination was Shureido, the martial arts shop. We stocked up on supplies and caught up with Yoshi, our account manager at Shureido for many years. After this we wandered through the shops on Kokusai Dori before heading to our favourite gyazo bar for dinner.

Friday morning was training with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama (10th Dan Goju-ryu and Kobudo) at his dojo. We did Kobudo training followed by some empty hand self-defence applications.

KIMAA and Russian teams with Sensei Hokama and Shihan Ogura

After training we enjoyed some sushi and explored the markets of Kokusai Dori and Tsuboya, the pottery village.

We were back at Sensei’s dojo again on Saturday, expanding on the previous day’s work of self-defence applications (bunkai) from kata.

We then had an easy afternoon to rest up Sempai Don and Sempai James, as the tournament was the next day. Photos and videos from the tournament are available in Japan Tour Pt 2: The Tournament.

Welcome to 2015

Welcome back to another year with Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia, for both existing students and those who will begin their martial arts journey with us in either Karate or Kobudo in the new year.


Karate training starts back at all KIMAA dojos this week. Kobudo training resumes at Annangrove Dojo for Sydney students and Lismore Dojo for North Coast students this Sunday.

Turramurra Dojo has exciting news for 2015 – it has launched its own Facebook page. This is for Turramurra Dojo students to keep up with the latest announcements from Shihan Howard Lipman, for the wider KIMAA organisation to know what’s going on in the Honbu Dojo, and to extend our organisation’s reach via social media.

Please find Turramurra Dojo on Facebook here:

Our other dojos have their own Facebook pages. You can find the links to these under the ‘Dojos’ tab on the main menu.

Osu and see you in the dojo!