Q & A Session with Sensei Gavin from our local Enoggera Dojo

Discipline, Focus, Confidence, Respect, Physical skills – the benefits Karate can bring to adults and children alike is endless. This is perhaps why the sport has increased in popularity in recent times.

Karate was created centuries ago in Japan and is definitely one of the top most popular martial arts today. There are many forms of the sport and recently The Hills Echo had the opportunity to visit one of our local dojo’s just a stones through away from The Hills District. The Hurdcotte Street dojo in Enoggera is the Queensland home to The International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-do Federation (IOGKF) and houses a variety of world class instructors. We had a chat with Head Sensei, Gavin Hill who is a 5th degree black belt and has vast experience in Karate (Over 30years worth in fact!)

Hi Gavin, can you tell us a little more about the IOGKF as many of our readers may not have heard about this form of Karate? The International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-do Federation (IOGKF) is the largest traditional Okinawan Karate organization in the world. Since its establishment in 1979, our members actively support our mission, objectives, and activities and IOGKF holds countless seminars, training camps and major International events every year. With over 75,000 members in over 55 different nations, we welcome all potential members to join our International Karate family. As mentioned previously, we are delighted to bring IOGKF to Queensland and call the Enoggera dojo home.

How long have you been at Enoggera for, where did you teach beforehand? The Hurdcotte Street dojo has been in operation since 2018, however I have been teaching since 1997 when I started my first dojo in Finch Hatton near Mackay. I have also taught and operated dojos in Nebo and Mackay before transferring back to Brisbane for work in 2015. Upon returning to Brisbane, I taught at the Fortitude Valley PCYC and then taught students in my garage before securing a long term venue at the Enoggera Scout Hall in Hurdcotte Street.

Do you have any other instructors at the Enoggera dojo? There are three main instructors here at the Enoggera Dojo; myself, Sensei Anton van Staden and Sensei Lachie Tristram. Sensei Anton van Staden is a 2nd degree black belt who started his training in South Africa before moving to New Zealand and eventually Australia where he has sat both his blackbelt grades under the tutelage of myself. Sensei Lachie Tristram also started his training in New Zealand before settling in Australia and attained his blackbelt last year in Thailand under Sensei George Andrews, 8th dan of England, also under the tutelage of Sensei’s myself and Anton.

Why do you love teaching Karate? I love teaching karate because Karate has done so much for me. As a child going through high school I was the tall skinny kid who was picked on and bullied by the other more sporty kids. Wanting to join the Qld Police in 1988 at 183cm I needed to weigh between 75-85kg but only weighed in at 63kg. I started Karate through a friend the following year and with that gained self-confidence, lifted my self-esteem and put on a healthy 30kg of muscle. I did eventually join the Qld Police and have served with them for over 28years. I wanted to pass on the benefits I got from Karate to anyone who was willing to give it a go, I’ve devoted my entire adult life to protecting and helping people and I gather great joy in passing on my knowledge to my students, especially children who gain so much more than a physical skill. They gain self-respect and self-discipline which sees their behaviour change, their school work improve, their ability to focus and problem solve increases, it provides so much more than just learning to punch and kick.

What makes the Enoggera dojo so special? You get world class instruction at this dojo. I have competed at both National and International level having won state and National Titles and placed highly at the 2006 world championships in Niagara Falls Canada as well as representing Australia in Sth Africa in 2010. I travel internationally on a regular basis to receive training under higher grades including trips to New Zealand, Thailand, Canada, Scotland, South Africa and regular trips to Japan including one that I leaves for next week with Sensei Lachie. I also teach throughout Australia and has been invited to teach in both Thailand and Singapore as well as being invited to teach and train with other styles including the Mackay Kyokushin Karate Club . I am one of the most senior instructors in Australia and therefore the level of training you receive at this dojo is world class.

In what ways can Karate benefit a person? Karate can improve your stamina, focus, coordination along with your fitness and overall health. It will teach you life skills, how to defend yourself against others including how to not put yourself in dangerous situations. All of this can improve self-confidence and self-esteem giving you a such a great sense of self accomplishment.

Are participants of IOGKF local or do they come from all areas of Brisbane? Predominately our students come from the local area, however, we are happy to take students from anywhere in Brisbane.

Tell us a bit more about the classes. At this stage students are taught in a group with children and adults together. Classes start at 5.30pm with a traditional warm up followed by a short sharp fitness session and then moves into anything from basics (punching, kicking, blocking) kata or bag/pad work. Children finish sometime between 6.30 and 7.00pm and then the adults/older children continue with more advanced techniques and training

Is there an age restriction for learning Karate? There is no maximum age. I have taught students well into their 60’s, however students are generally attending school before they start training. This is simply to ensure that they are used to a structured class setting to ensure they don’t disrupt others who are in class.

Are there any special events or excursions that occur during the year e.g. does the club hold any open days or trips away? Students regularly travel to training events both domestically and internationally. Myself and Anton have already been to Goulburn this year for a senior Black and Brown belt Gasshuku (training camp). I just returned from Naha, Okinawa, Japan with Lachie to attend a huge Gasshuku expecting in excess of 1500 students from all over the world. In addition to this the Enoggera dojo is hosting the annual Australian Gasshuku with guest Instructor Sensei George Andrews (8th Dan), chief instructor of England and the third highest ranked instructor in the world. Sensei George is a personal friend of mine and will be here in Australia at the end of September to teach at the National Gasshuku being held in Narangba as well as some special training for the students at Enoggera dojo.

Currently the IOGKF is offering the first 10 lessons free at the Enoggera dojo. If you would like to give the sport a go or have any queries call 0419 719 810. You can also follow them on Instagram at www.instagram.com/goju_ryu_karate_qld/

Left to right Sensei George Andrews (8th dan) CI-England, Sensei Bakkies Laubscher (9th Dan) CI-Sth Africa, Sensei Morio Higaonna (10th Dan) World Master, Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura (7th Dan) World CI and CI-Canada, Sensei Paul Parlett (5th Dan) Head instructor Goulburn and best mate of Sensei Gavin Hill at the end. (CI-Chief Instructor). Photo taken in Naha, Okinawa, Japan at the Chief Instrucotr Gasshuku in 2015


Sensei Gavin teaching in Singapore August 2018

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