Warrnambool karate club members relish international tour

WARRNAMBOOL Funakoshi Karate Club members will use the experiences from an overseas trip to fast-track their training.

Warrnambool Funakoshi Karate Club members travelled to Asia and Europe.

Warrnambool Funakoshi Karate Club members travelled to Asia and Europe.

Fifty students and parents from Warrnambool, Hamilton and Camperdown spent 21 days in Asia and Europe, enhancing their Funakoshi skills and learning different karate styles.

They arrived back in the south-west on Saturday afternoon.

Head instructor Frank McKenzie said the tour was an eye-opener.

“For me some of the highlights were interacting with clubs from other styles, especially in Asian countries Hong Kong and Singapore,” he said.

“I found them welcoming and happy to share their knowledge.

“Another highlight was training with Junior Lefevre in Belgium. 

“We’d trained with him before on a previous tour in 2005. It was quite inspirational.

“The German crew, we were with them for six days and they had a jam-packed program.

“We had three sessions of Krav Maga, which was developed in Israel for the special forces and quite a few countries now use them for their police units.

“It’s very interesting and very valuable.”

Funakoshi Karate International leader Edwin Ward conducted Skype sessions from Canada with the group.

Ward is a 77-year-old South African who moved to Canada some three decades ago. “They were hard but good — you were glad when they were over,” McKenzie said.

“Six or seven of us in small dojo (did some sessions) and then the whole group did a three-hour session with him from Germany.

“We broke it into six half-hour blocks and took it a step at a time.”

Warrnambool contested an international karate championship in Belgium. 

It attracted 180 competitors from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Belgium and South Africa.

Warrnambool contested 27 of the 40 divisions, receiving nine firsts, eight seconds and 17 thirds.

It scored three trifectas — Chris Naidoo, Peter Conroy, Jillian Cole and Peter Moore (35-plus DHN grades mixed), Hamilton Crusaders, Hard Target and Sunrise (junior team kata), Jillian Cole, Simone Rolfe and Sarah Irving (35 years women two-minute).

Simon Young, Jace Nepean, Victoria Kelly and Cherryl Naidoo all won individual titles.

McKenzie said the group’s itinerary was jam-packed.

“Half was karate-related and the rest was sightseeing,” he said.

“Each place we visited we did a half-day city tour so you got to see the highlights. We visited quaint cities with history and a castle or two.”

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