Another enjoyable and successful year has passed for Kyokushin International Martial Arts Australia. The year saw the expansion of the organisation, further refinement of technical ability and entry in various competitions.
Senior grades from various dojos partook in the KIMAA Japan Group Tour, January 7-24. These included Hanshi Howard Lipman, Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sensei Paul Finnerty, Sensei Mark Shelmerdine, Sensei James Sidwell, Sensei Mark McFadden, Sensei Jon Ellis, Sempai Alex Lloyd and Sempai Patricia Tan.
A good portion of the trip was spent sightseeing in Tokyo, Yudanaka, Nagano and Kyoto, before heading to Okinawa. One of the destinations was the shrine to Sosai Mas Oyama at Mt Mitsumine, as well as his actual grave.
Tony Kuo of Turramurra Dojo joined the group in Okinawa. The first highlight in Okinawa was training with Sensei Tetsuhiro Hokama and Shihan Ken Ogura in Karate and Kobudo weapons. Sensei Hokama also graded Sensei Jon to 3rd Dan in Kobudo, and Sempai Alex to 2nd Dan.
The final event of the tour was the Kyokushin Union’s 4th World Tournament, a two-day event featuring Kyokushin fighters from a large range of countries. The trip was a memorable and enjoyable experience.
The Sydney dojos were home to a variety of KIMAA events in 2017, from junior and senior gradings and a major seminar. The year began for some Sydney instructors with the Japan trip, including the World Tournament.
These competitive efforts were followed quickly by Turramurra and Annangrove Dojo members competing in the AKKA New South Wales State Championships in June, hosted by Hanshi John Taylor. A large group competed, led by senior grade Sensei Ben Ng. Special mention goes to Elia Parsanejad, Eric Wright and Sempai Josh Darley for their placements.
Annangrove Dojo continued its fitness program over the course of the year. Shihan Rick Cunningham and Sensei Paul Finnerty teach fitness classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in addition to the Karate classes on other weeknights and weapons on Sundays. Not all participants in the fitness classes train in karate, many coming along just to improve their wellbeing and cardio ability. The group has grown steadily.
The focus moved from competitive fighting to the wider level of training needed for a grading, in preparation for the Senior Kyokushin Grading in August. Participants included members from Turramurra and Annangrove, as well as karateka travelling down from the North Coast dojos. Hanshi Howard assessed students while the grading was led by Shihan Rick and Shihan Peter Olive.
The day produced KIMAA’s newest black belt, Sempai Will Brook, of Ballina Dojo.
At the conclusion of the grading, Shihan Rick announced a special surprise for the Chairman of KIMAA. The KIMAA Grading Committee – consisting of Shihan Rick, Shihan Peter, Shihan Idir Bahamid and Sensei Mark McFadden – promoted Howard Lipman to the rank of 9th Dan and the title of Hanshi in Kyokushin Karate.
Following the success of the 2016 Shihan Ken seminar, Shihan Ken was warmly invited back to instruct in the KIMAA Shihan Ken Seminar of 2017. The seminar ran over three weeknights and a full weekend in September at Turramurra and Annangrove. Members from all KIMAA dojos participated, as well as Shihan Doug Turnbull of KIKO on one night, and guest members from Sensei David Craigie’s Kyokushin dojo in Young across most of the week.
The week focused heavily on bunkai (self-defence applications from kata), as well as conditioning, miscellaneous self-defence, technical training and weapons. All students look forward to future training with Shihan Ken.
One of Sydney’s senior instructors was promoted during the seminar – Idir Bahamid was awarded by Hanshi Howard his 5th Dan in Kyokushin and the title of “Shihan”. Shihan Idir is already a 5h Dan in Shotokan Karate.
Kobudo training continued throughout the year at Annangrove Dojo. The senior group focused in particular on new katas taught to them by Shihan Ken.
The start of the year also unveiled an ongoing series on this website, “From the Archive”. Hanshi Howard dug up his wealth of Kyokushin photos, documenting his training from white belt to training with Sosai Mas Oyama to the present day. After a lot of scanning by Sempai Alex, a new batch was posted to the website every month. The publishing program finished with the year 2010, posted this December:
NORTH COAST, NSW
March saw the first 2017 KIMAA seminar hosted at the North Coast dojos, conducted by Hanshi Howard Liman. Members from Lismore and Ballina participated, as well as some students under Sensei Rob James of his two dojos.
The seminar was a terrific weekend held at Ballina and Lismore across the two days, focusing on basics, fitness, kata, kumite and the finer points of stance and technique across the Little Lions, adults and senior grades.
The North Coast enjoyed reminding the rest of KIMAA that Karate doesn’t always have to mean indoor training! Sensei Mark held a grading for Lismore Dojo in June, which students of Ballina also attended, at Evans Head beach. The class enjoyed the sunny teachings of Sensei Mark, Sensei Jon, Sempai Wally Gray and Sempai Trish.
Kobudo training was a key focus in the lead up to the September seminar in Sydney.
More members of the North Coast came down to Sydney the following month for the Shihan Ken seminar.
During the seminar, Sensei Mark McFadden was promoted to 4th Dan by Hanshi Howard Lipman.
The last major activity for the year was the combined North Coast dojos grading and Christmas Party.
Later that month, North Brisbane’s Little Lions entered one of the National All Styles tournaments. Young Sean gained a placement, and all entrants were participating in their first tournament. Sean continued his efforts at the NAS in October.
The Queensland KIMAA students are a bit further way from the central action of KIMAA geographically, but they don’t let that stop them keep driving harder and harder to pursue greater martial arts skills. This was typified by the efforts in the June gradings.
Sensei Rob represented Queensland at the Shihan Ken seminar in September. Like all seniors who participated, he honed his technique and took away insightful lessons of Karate’s hidden secrets. He was also greatly surprised when Hanshi Howard promoted him to the rank of 3rd Dan and title of Sensei.
Sensei David Craigie commenced his Kyokushin training in 1971, obtaining Shodan in 1976. He has also been teaching since the 1970s.
During the KIMAA Shihan Ken Seminar in September 2017, Sensei David was invited to attend and bring some of his students. Over the course of the seminar, Sensei David was greatly impressed by the quality of people and martial arts skills at KIMAA. He enthusiastically accepted when invited to join by Hanshi Howard Lipman.
On September 10, Sensei David and his dojo formally joined KIMAA, and was welcomed by all. Sensei David is the dojo operator of KIMAA’s seventh dojo.
While a newcomer to KIMAA, Sensei David has been teaching Kyokushin for over forty years. Hanshi Howard graded Sensei David to 4th Dan in recognition of his decades teaching Kyokushin.
The final training session of the year featured a guest appearance from Sensei Don Cheong, of Turramurra Dojo, and Sempai Mark Long, an old student of Hanshi Howard.
This year saw KIMAA continue its efforts internally and externally, through seminars and gradings to Japan trips and tournaments, pushing its students and seniors to improve their Karate in every aspect. Strong and experienced leadership has seen the KIMAA students continually exposed to new opportunities, especially spending time with other great senior martial artists.
Warm thanks go to the dojo operators and other instructors for keeping the organisation running smoothly, especially Hanshi Howard, Shihan Rick, Shihan Peter, Sensei Mark, Sensei David, Sensei Jon and Sensei Rob.
Your instructor will advise you of holiday closure dates, or any combined classes and holiday training. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, and see you in 2018. Osu!