Celebrating 35 Years of Shorinjiryu Karatedo in Australia

Over the weekend of the 20-22 April, members of the Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo Association celebrated a major milestone in the practice of Shorinjiryu Karatedo in Australia - its 35th Anniversary.

Founded by Shihan Lori Vanniekirk in 1977 as a branch of the Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo So Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan, Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo has been practiced continuously since that time by the instructors and members of the Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo Association Inc.

During the National Camp of Shorinjiryu Koshinkai Karatedo (the school of Shorinjiryu Karatedo taught by the Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo Association), the 35th Anniversary was celebrated by the members at a special dinner on the Friday night, and at a specially prepared Saturday evening meal and presentation evening.

We were honoured to be joined for this special occasion by international visitors including Hanshi Myron Lubitsch, 9th Dan, and Shihan Troy Lester, 6th Dan, of the Shorinjiryu Kenryukan in New York, and Shihan Jeffrey Henderson, 6th Dan, of the International Budo Institute, along with the instructors and members of all dojo of Shorinjiryu Koshinkai Karatedo in Australia.

The Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo Association is the original association of Shorinjiryu Karatedo in Australia, and has operated continuously since the organisation was formed in 1977. With 8 active dojo along the east coast of Australia, we are proud to represent the largest group of Australian instructors and practitioners ofShorinjiryu Karatedo as founded by Kaiso Kori Hisatsaka (1907-1988).

In celebrating the 35th Anniversary, the instructors and members paused to thank those that have paved the way for our current practice. These include:

  • The founder of Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo, Kaiso Kori Hisataka (1907-1988)
  • The international head master of Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo, So Shihan Masayuki Hisataka (with whom we were affiliated from 1977 to 1995)
  • The chief instructor of Shorinjiryu Kenyukai Watanabe Ha, Kaicho Shunji Watanabe (with whom were affiliated from 2007 to 2011)
  • The founder and President of the International Shorinjiryu Shinzen Kyokai, Hanshi Myron Lubitsch
  • The founder of Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo, Shihan Lori Vanniekirk
  • The patron Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo, Shihan Phil Hooper (retired)
  • Current chief instructors Kyoshi Jim Griffin and Shihan Max Estens
  • The current and former instructors and members of Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo

This is an important milestone, not only because of the history it represents, but the fact that this history provides the foundation for our continued growth into the future.



Happy New Year

Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu

Wishing everyone all the best for a happy, safe and successful New Year.

2012 marks the 35th anniversary of Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo, and we will be celebrating throughout the year at different events.

An anniversary like this is a good time for us to show our appreciation for the people who have paved the way for the karate we practice today in Shorinjiryu Koshinkai Karatedo. These people should include:

  • The founder of Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo, Kaiso Kori Hisataka
  • Our former headmasters, So Shihan Masayuki Hisataka (Kenkokan) and Kaicho Shunji Watanabe (Kenyukai Watanabe-Ha) for their guidance and example
  • The founder of Australian Shorinjiryu Karatedo, Shihan Lori Vanniekirk
  • Our former chief instructors, Shihan Phil Hooper and Shihan Scott Brown
  • Our current chief instructors, Shihan Jim Griffin and Shihan Max Estens
  • All the dojo instructors, present and past

And most importantly, all the past and present members of Shorinjiryu in Australia (including the above) for helping us with our training, guiding us, and pushing us to improve.

So please join me saying a big arigato goziamasu to all these people. The best way we can do this of course, is to train hard in 2012, helping to make Shorinjiryu Koshinkai Karatedo even stronger by building on the platform they have given us.


Koshinkai debuts in New York

On the 5th Oct 2011, Shihan Jim Griffin, Tasshi Tony Fletcher and Sempai Dee Foster, headed off to New York to attend the 25th Silver Anniversary Shinzen Shiai Tournament. They arrived in Manhattan at around 8.30pm at their apartment and headed straight to Times Square which was 1½ blocks away for a pizza and a beer NY style.

On Thursday morning they visited Ground Zero and the memorial, a very sobering experience, and then took the subway to Battery Park for the ride past the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island ferry.

Thursday afternoon saw the team heading off by train to the Imperial Dragon Hombu Dojo, the headquarters of Hanshi Myron Lubitsch’s Kenryukan Karatedo School in Jamaica Ave, Brooklyn. They were met by Hanshi Myron and after welcomes all round and Shihan Jim renewing old friendships, Sempai Dee and Tasshi Tony were introduced to Shihan Troy Lester 6th Dan, Shihan Vincent Capers Jr 6th Dan and Renshi Big Al Gonzalez 5th Dan plus a host of other karateka from the Hombu Dojo.

The team enjoyed a good training session with everyone there and also had the chance to view some of Hanshi Myron’s students go through their paces for the upcoming tournament. The team then went for dinner with Hanshi Myron, Shihan Troy, Shihan Vincent and Renshi Big Al. Great people, excellent dinner.

It was a very early start for the team on Tournament day, Saturday, to ensure they were on time. The venue for the competition was a large timber floored basketball hall at a High School in Middle Village. The floor area had been setup to handle the 10 rings and close to 300 competitors.

It is amazing to see such a large hall with that many people, all Shorinjiryu. As Hanshi Myron proudly proclaimed, this special event was supported by 17 different schools of Shorinjiryu. The line up for the bow in was a sight to be seen with four (4) 9th Dans heading the line followed by a couple of 8th Dans, a handful of 7th Dans, a group of 6th Dans followed by the 5th and 4th Dans.

After the bow in, the opening ceremony began with presentations to a range of senior karateka, recognitions for long service and dedication to Shorinjiryu and the Shinzen.  Shihan Jim was presented with a special appreciation award by Hanshi Myron. This was followed by a resounding session with a group playing the drums. This was an outstanding ceremony with lots of pride and emotion.

The tournament began with the black belt kata divisions so the black belts could then officiate throughout the day. The first division was the over 50’s kata of which Tasshi Tony was a competitor. In a large field, he was able to achieve a well deserved 4th place trophy. Obviously he was very happy with the result.

Sempai Dee had to wait till midday before she was able to perform her weapons and kata for which she also received a 4th place trophy and 5th place medallion respectively, both in strong fields. These were excellent achievements for Sempai Dee  and Tasshi Tony in their first international tournament.

During the rest of the day both Shihan Jim and Tasshi Tony officiated at the tournament and used any free time to meet as many other karateka that they could. Sempai Dee was very conspicuous taking lots of photos of the tournament and people in general. The tournament finished around 5pm with the sun still up, proving a well organised and efficient team were running this large event.

We all left and arranged to meet later for the evening formal dinner being held at the Roma View function centre, Howards Beach. Just on 200 people attended this function, which was just superb. The camaraderie shown by all was outstanding and testament to the continued support of the Shinzen in it’s 25 years.

The evening was a combination of awards, presentations, meeting people, reliving old memories, making new ones, music and dancing.  Shihan Jim and Tasshi Tony were presented with beautiful trophy cups to commemorate their most recent promotions and Shihan Jim presented Hanshi Myron with a nice katana on behalf of Shorinjiryu Koshinkai Karatedo in appreciation of the great work he has done over many years unifying Shorinjiryu worldwide. Hanshi Myron is a true friend and mentor of Koshinkai Australia. Around 1:30am on Sunday, the team wearily took their Lincoln town car and headed back to the apartment very late and tired but very happy.

The remainder of the time the team spent in New York was filled with doing the “touristy things” like visiting the Empire State Building, Central Park, Central Station, Rockefeller Centre, shopping on 5th Avenue and walking the Brooklyn Bridge. They attended a Broadway show, seeing Brooke Shields in the Addams family. Tasshi Tony managed to sneak in a visit through the Apple Centre in New York and took some photos to show off to Shihan Max and Renshi Des, who will be extremely jealous. The Columbus Day Parade was a highlight as was Canal Street, China Town and Little Italy. A great days haggling was had by all.

All in all, this was a very enlightening and satisfying trip for the team members. For those of you who haven’t taken the chance to visit a Shorinjiryu Shinzen Shiai yet, start saving now as you won’t regret it. 


Black Belt of the Year 2011

Each year consideration is given for the award of a Black Belt of the Year within Shorinjiryu Koshinkai Karatedo Australia. Nominations are invited from the various Dojo Instructors, with those nominations reviewed by Shihan Jim, Shihan Max and the senior advisory council. This award is made at the Annual Black Belt Camp, which was held this year over the weekend of 20-21 August 2011.

For this years award, five individuals were nominated for the Black Belt of the Year. Each of these individuals is very committed to Shorinjiryu, and is a consistent contributor to various events and aspects of the organisation. A range of excellent input was provided in support of these nominations, and any one of the nominees would make an excellent Black Belt of the Year. 

On behalf of Shihan Jim and Shihan Max, I was pleased to announce that the Black Belt of the Year award for 2011 went to Sensei Dean McKernan of the Kensuukan Dojo. The below information is copied from nominations received for Sensei Tony:

Sensei Dean's personal karate technique is outstanding and he takes great pride in the development of our style - a future leader of Koshinki.

Dean is only 25 years of age, but has taken on the responsibility of running the local club, both training students and organising sessions.

Sensei Dean has also been instrumental in organising the annual Black Belt Camp at Pilliga Pottery for the past three years.

Please join us in congratulating Sensei Dean on his well deserved award of Black Belt of the Year.


Yudansha Promotions August 2011

At the annual Black Belt Training Camp in August 2011, five candidates provided their final presentations towards their advancement. It is with great pleasure that the following individuals were presented with their certificates of rank, following the excellent progress made through diligent study of Shorinjiryu Koshinkai Karatedo.

Promoted to Shodan - 1st Dan Black Belt

Promoted to Nidan - 2nd Dan Black Belt

Promoted to Sandan - 3rd Dan Black Belt


The successful new black belts - Anne Kratzmann, Joanna Choe, James Bowden, John McDonnell and Dean McKernan