Monday, 22 December 2014

Year in review 2014

Wollongong Dojo – Year in review.

The Dojo
Its has been a big year for Wollongong dojo with our good friends Terri and Tom expanding the switchfit gym that houses our Dojo and allowing us to move next door to the bigger open space floor with well over 100 square meters of dojo training floor. 
As Terri Bowen became busier with the gym expansion she became unable to continue teaching the kids class and handed the reigns over to Daniel Athanassopoulos. I thank Terri for her great work getting the kids class off the ground with a great bunch of kids and now thank Daniel for picking up the task and doing a fantastic. Teaching will also be valuable for Daniels own development in 2015 as he trains for his Shodan  (Black Belt) grading in November.

 The final grading for the year saw only 2 students ready to grade, Rebecca Weller and Goran Jovanovic. Both did a great job and were successful in passing 6th Kyu and 10th Kyu respectively.


The last class for the year was on the 18th Dec and we did a short Kihon session followed by me teaching the students a Nidan (2nd Dan Black Belt) Kata called Seienchin as a special treat which they all enjoyed. We then went to the North Gong hotel for dinner and a beer and chat to finish the year.
1st class back for 2015 is the 8th of January.

National Camp
The annual Shinkyokushin Karate training camp was held in the usual beautiful  location at Harrietville in the Alpine region of Victoria and the base of Mt Hotham. The camp was attended by 10 students from Wollongong Dojo including our first student from the kids class, Olivia. It was a fantastic experience for her and from the questions back in the dojo and the stories she told the other kids I would expect a big contingency from the kids class next year.

Every year we invite a guest from overseas and this year its was Multiple Australian and multiple Japanese Regional tournament winner Sam Gilbert who has lived and trained in Japan for the last 10 years.  Sam was a great guest as he is a physio therapist and strength and conditioning trainer along with being a champion fighter he was able to share his knowledge of biomechanical and physiological understanding of how the body works directly related to Karate fighting.

The camp also saw Daniel Athanassopoulos grade for 1st Kyu and Amanda Madruga grade for Nidan. I sat on the technical grading panel and both students performed very well with their technical proficiency.


 Annual Dojo Awards
Every year I look at the performance of the adult students and award some of them a certificate in recognition of their dedication, commitment and achievements. This year there were 4 awards given:
Technical Excellence Award – Daniel Athanassopoulos for his outstanding grading performances and great instruction of the kids class.
Spirit Award – Goran Jovanovic for showing fantastic spirit after breaking his finger and continuing to train and not miss a class in a finger cast even though in pain.
Student of the Year – Rebecca Weller for dedication to training, attendance and tournament victories
Outstanding Achievements – Amanda Madruga for the following results in 2014: 1st AMAC Junior Games, 1st Shinkyokushin NSW championships, 1st Shinkyokushin Victorian championships, 1st Shinkyokushin National championships, 2nd Shinkyokushin Asian championships and graded for Nidan at the National Camp to finish off the year. 

Sensei John

Asian Championships - Amanda Madruga

Asian Championships 2014

On 20 September 2014, Wollongong student Amanda Madruga , along with the 6 other members of the Australian team, competed in the All Asian Championships in Kuala Lumpur.

She fought in the lightweight female division (under 65kg). Her first opponent, from Iran, did not show up to the tournament so she was lucky to score a free pass into the second round. Amanda’s second round opponent was from Kazakhstan the winner of the last All Asian Championships and proved to be tough. After fighting three rounds, Amanda won by the judges decision. Amanda reports that this was one of my toughest and best fights to date.

In the semi final, she came up against a strong and fiery opponent from Singapore, and won by judge's decision in the first 3 minute round.

In the final, Amanda fought off against another very strong opponent from Kazakhstan. The fight commenced strongly with both fighters giving their all but unfortunately the Kazakhstani fighter  landed a very well time rolling kick, which knocked Amanda out cold. She was very lucky not to get any serious injuries from the knockout. .

 Photo from left to right - Amanda Madruga (2nd lightweight), Shihan Kenji Midori (president), Anna Texler (2nd Heavy) weight

Quote from Amanda

”I have taken away a lot from the tournament, especially realising the importance of a strong mind and spirit when competing. My first tournament was only in 2011, so I am proud of my achievement. I encourage everyone in the dojo to train hard to reach your goals in karate too, whether or not they involve competing at a high level. Also trust your instructor – if it wasn't for Sensei John Hall encouraging me to enter my first tournament in 2011 and continuing to support my fighting pursuits, I would have not reached this achievement.”



Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wollongong Dojo Newsletter October 2014

New Students

Welcome to our newest students Richard and Chev. They both have experience in Martial Arts and have fit in straight away. I am sure they will find we are a great Dojo that offers lots of support to its students. Please make sure they feel welcome.


New Dojo

Congratulations to Terri and Tom for expanding the Gym to double the size. You now have access to the biggest and best equipped training area of all the  Shinkyokushin Dojo’s in Australia. Do not underestimate how lucky we are to have the space we do. Now let’s fill it up with new students.

Kid’s class – Change of instructor

As you are probably aware by now Daniel Athanassopoulos is the principle instructor of the kids class. I would like thank Sempai Terri for the great work she did establishing the kids class from scratch, this is very difficult to do and she did it with great success and we now have a good bunch of kids to build on.
Daniel is doing a fantastic job which is good for his own development and I am sure he will produce some young champions in the near future.
Please try to get to the Dojo early once in a while and assist Daniel with the kids class with bag work or sparing etc, especially on the Thursday class.


Summer Training

It is always very important to be well hydrated for training.  Now it is getting warmer make sure you are drinking at least 2 litres of water during the day and more on training days. Ensure you re-hydrate well after training or you will suffer muscle cramps and more seriously dangerous renal and brain function problems if you get dehydrated.


New Student Incentive

If you bring a new student who signs up and stays with us, you get the next month training for free. If you bring 2 new people you get 2 months free. Etc.


Karate is a dynamic sport that involves powerful techniques, severe stress on muscles, ligaments and joints not to mention the sparing. Injuries although, usually mild, are common. When you have hurt yourself ensure to follow the RICE system. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. When you are injured it does not always mean you can’t come to training. There are always things you can do and as long as you let me know before class we can work around your injuries.



National Camp Nov 21-23

The annual camp is the highlight of the year for many students. It is held in the Alpine region of Victoria which is a beautiful part of Australia. We all travel in convoy leaving at 0800 Friday morning from an arranged meeting point.
There are 6 training sessions over the weekend finishing on Sunday lunch time before heading home. Meals are provided from Saturday breakfast through to Sunday lunch.

What to bring?

·     2 Dogi’s
·     Sparing gear (mouth guard, groin guard gloves, shin pads, breast guard) , water bottle, sweat towel
·     Thongs to wear to and from training
·     Casual clothes for travel and wear between classes.
·     Toiletries (include soap) and a bath towel.
·     Some money for lunches while travelling to and from camp and dinner on Friday night, Also we have a drink at the pub next door on Saturday night.
·     Girls need a crop top for river training, we take off our Gi tops.
·     Advice from experience – bring coat hangers to hang Gi’s in the sun, toilet paper and Glen 20 spray for shared bathrooms. Plastic bag for your wet Karate belt after river training for packing to come home (or it will stain your Gi)
·     Bedding is supplied.
Don’t miss out it is a great weekend and a chance to train with students from around the country and make some new friends.


Training times

Try to get to class by 6:15 at the latest so you can get ready to start at 6:30. The class will usually finish a little after 8:00pm but we usually stay until 8:30 for personal practice, mentoring, practicing a technique, Kata practice , do some weights or just to have a good stretch etc. Every one is welcome to do this and it is also an opportunity to ask questions or for help from seniors.
If you are late (stuck at work) please send me a text so I know you will come in late but please still come. No excuse for just being lazy with poor time keeping, get in on time.

Sensei’s Quote 

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
Chinese Proverb

Sensei John Hall