News Articles

December 2018 - JKA New Zealand Dan and License Examination

****** Congratulations ******  ****** Congratulations ************ Congratulations ******

To all JKA New Zealand and JKA Auckland members who successfully passed their Dan and Licence examination which was held in Twizel on 8th Dec 2018 and in Auckland on 15th Dec 2018

SAN DAN : Ken Hanyu

NI DAN : Tomas Zatloukal / Grace Elizabeth Thurlow / Anton Van den Bergh / Desidero Leyson / Matthew Hart / John Lockhart / Graeme Gobey / Tide Sun 

SHO DAN : Salina Zhang

D-JUDGE : Sensei Gilieto Luague / Yaniv Gal / Yuriko Zimmatore / Tokiko Tsukada

D-INSTRUCTOR : Yuriko Zimmatore

Well done to all !

Sensei Karl

November 2018 - JKA New Zealand National Karate Championships

JKA Nationals 2018 was hosted by JKA NZ & JKA Auckland. Close to 100 karatekas participated in the National Karate Championships held in Auckland. JKA & other Shotokan clubs from all over New Zealand competed in the boys, girls, male, female and vetrans categories both in Kata & Kumite.

It was great to see all members young and old displaying their skills in the true spirit of karate-do.

JKA Pakuranga & JKA Cockle Bay members displaying their medals & trophies ; Well done !


March 2018 - Report of JKA New Zealand training programme with Shihan Tatsuya Naka  


This time the JKA New Zealand training programme and itinerary for Shihan Naka was slightly different from what we organized in previous years.

It was a common consensus of all senior JKANZ members to take Shihan Naka to all our major training centers so every member could experience and avail of Shihan’s training methods instead of just a privilege few who could travel to Auckland.

What a week of training it turned out to be. The response was fantastic both in the North as well as the South Island of New Zealand.  Shihan Naka traveled to Wellington, Christchurch, Timaru & Ashburton conducting Gasshuku’s and the final finale was in Auckland over the weekend.

JKA members not only trained kihon, kata and kumite but were professed in the smaller and deeper salient points so synonymous with JKA Karate. Points such as correct posture in Budo  “Kiwotsuke”, breathing technique in “Rei”, contraction of “Chu-tanden” between inhalation and exhalation and many more.

To come to think about it, Shihan Naka’s training methods were so simple yet penetrating deep in to the minds of a thinking karateka to make karate more practical, effective and relaxing.

The salient points I mention earlier stressed the need to pay emphasis on posture / making strong stance / understanding breathing / cutting off the unnecessary movements to achieve speed and to attain “Zanshin”.

Applying these principals to our training methods help us convey “Ki” to the entire body and make our karate strong.

Amazing” is the word that comes to mind,  I’m sure most karatekas who have trained with Shihan Naka would agree with my sentiments.

Thanking Shihan Naka and all members of New Zealand JKA and other friendly Shotokan clubs to make this National Gasshuku event a great success.


2017 August - Funakoshi Gichin Cup 14th Karate World Championship Tournament ; Limerick Ireland

JKA New Zealand is extremely proud of our member, Ken Hanyu who participated in the JKA World karate Championships in Limerick, Ireland.

Ken made it to the second round in both the kata & kumite events in the " boys 16-18 category ".
This was a fantastic achievement when one considers that all top karetekas from across the world were present to test out their skills and talent.

The next World Cup Champs will be held in Japan in 2020 and we sincerely hope JKA New Zealand will have a much larger contingent of participants following in the footsteps of young Ken.



2017 June  - JKANZ Gasshaku ; Dan & Kyu Examination in Wellington

Just concluded a two day training seminar and grading at the Wellington dojo on the weekend of the 24th & 25th June 2017.  It was a proud day for Sensei Matthew Sue and the Wellington members to have a 100 % pass rate this time for the Kyu gradings.




2017 April - JKANZ Achievement


It was a very proud day for JKA New Zealand with "Ken Hanyu" winning "Gold" in the Male junior 70 kg open kumite event in the Central North Island Championships.

A week later Ken goes on winning "Gold" in both Kumite and the kata event in the Shotokan open Championships in Auckland.


2017 March - JKANZ National Gasshaku with Shihan T. Imura
Vice General Manager of Technical Division JKA hq

This year, the annual JKA New Zealand National Gasshuku had the honour of hosting the legendary Instructor from JKA headquarters Shihan Takenori Imura. We also invited guest Instructor from JKA Chicago, Sensei Neeraj Dhawan who helped in demonstrating alongside Shihan Imura and helping in Japanese to English translation.

Imura Shihan, landed in Auckland on the 7th of March. The evening class saw Karateka’s from all over Auckland and the North Island of New Zealand converging at St Cuthbert’s Dojo for training.

On the 8th, Imura Shihan flew to Christchurch along with Sensei Dhawan and Sensei Karl Naoroji to conduct 2 classes which were attended by JKA members from Timaru and other Shotokan clubs from the South Island of New Zealand.

9th March was more or less a rest day, but in saying so a small group of JKA members trained with Shihan Imura in Sensei Karl Naoroji’s private Dojo in Auckland. Shihan Imura taught in depth his favourite kata “Jutte” which was a great bonus.

The annual Gasshuku, kicked off from the 10th to the 12th of March, a total of five training sessions spanning over three days.

The instructions consisted of reigi saho, (etiquette); Kihon using irikaeshi, (hand exchange) and kirikaeshi, (hip exchange). Kumite, covering Kihon Gohon, Kihon Ippon, Jiyu Ippon and Jiyu Kumite.Shihan instructed the entire Heian series, Tekki series and senior dan Kata Jutte. The kata sessions were conclusive, with in depth explanations (bunkai) and execution of techniques whilst pairing with partners. Emphasis throughout all the sessions was on correct stance, posture, metsuke, (eye-contact and focus), rhythm, distance and timing.

We had a welcome party hosted in honour of Shihan Imura on Saturday and the Gasshuku concluded with Dan and qualification exams on Sunday.

It was surely a treat for everyone to experience such unique and high-level instruction from a master like Imura Shihan.
He is the epitome of a man who has devoted all his life to Karatedo, and, in spite of his age and injuries, continues to train and teach so passionately. We look forward to having him back again in the near future.

report prepared by Sensei Karl Naoroji
JKA New Zealand Chief Instructor

2016 Dec - JKANZ National Karate Championships in Auckland

The JKANZ National Karate Championship was held in Auckland on Sunday 4th December 2016.

Karatekas from all over New Zealand participated and came away with honours. There was representation from Auckland, Wellington, Wanganui, Christchurch, Timaru.

This years Nationals attracted a record number of participation compared to the other years and we hope the trend continues to grow in 2017.

For results please refer www.jkanz.net.nz/index.php?id=2016-jka-nationals


2016 Oct - JKA Autumn Camp in Tokyo, Japan
by Graeme Underwood

The JKA International Autumn Gasshaku was again held at the JKA Honbu dojo in Tokyo and was attended by JKA members from around the world.

JKA New Zealand was well represented by Sensei Karl Naoroji and his senior students Lizelle Pelsar from Timaru and Takuma Kobayashi and Graeme Underwood from Auckland.

The opening ceremony was conducted by our chairman Kusahara Katsuhide with an inspiring talk on the importance of maintaining JKA standards worldwide, the history of karate, bushido and the constant strives to develop and improve our art. It reiterated the importance of instructors and senior karateka’s attendance at Gasshaku’s and seminars. 
The training was of the highest standard complimented by Special Dan rights testing, Qualification license testing and Dan gradings.

Congratulations to Lizelle Pelser on achieving the "D Kyu" examiners license.

This year the camp was open from third Kyu to all Dan grades and saw a wider attendance than previous years.
There was a total of 7 x seminars spread over a period of 4 days; Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th with participants split into four training groups: 3rd Kyu – 2nd Dan, 3rd & 4th Dan, 5th & 6th Dan, 7th Dan & above.

Day 1: The first day seminars focused on Tekki Shodan, Jitte and Jion fundamentals.
Day 2: We dwelled on Jitte and Jion during the morning sessions with seminars on Kihon Kumite basics in the afternoon. First aid training was also available for those that wanted to attend at the end of the day.
Day 3: Saturday opened the day with a joint class for all levels by our chief instructor Shihan Ueki in the main dojo on level four. Even in the Honbu’s larger dojo the training space with all in attendance was a little tight. It was a fantastic feeling to train amongst the headquarter masters and other senior ranks from JKA around the world.
The next two sessions concentrated on Tekki Shodan, Jitte and Jion with Judges seminars, Dan Exams and Instructor and Examiner Exams in the afternoon.
Saturday evening saw everyone come together for the traditional Honbu party and included a fantastic spread of Japanese cuisine and copious amounts of wine and Kirin beer!
Day 4: The final day with two sessions in the morning focused on Jion, Jitte and Kihon Kumite and wrapped up with the closing ceremony and awards at midday.

We hope that more members take up the opportunity to visit Tokyo next year to be a part of a large contingent representing New Zealand on the world stage and take advantage of the fantastic training available.


2016 August / September - Championship Achievements

The JKANZ senior members have done us real proud in the "All Styles" mixed Karate Championships recently.

First it was Takuma Kobayashi winning Gold in both Kata & Kumite mens black belt event in the Auckland open championship.  Jesse Parker our young black belt repeated a Silver in both Kata & Kumite in the Pukekohe invitation karate championship.

First image : Sensei Karl with Takuma   Second image : Jesse and Hayley Parker

Well done guys, we are really proud of you both !  


2016 August - JKANZ  Instructors training seminar

The JKANZ Instructors & senior training seminar / Gasshaku was held in Auckland on Saturday, 27th August 2016 at "The Mini Gym” Howick College.

JKANZ members from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Timaru, Hamilton & Matamata attended the seminar conducted by Sensei Karl Naoroji.

The seminar syllabus covered ;


2016 - JKANZ  Dan & License Examination

***Congratulations *** Congratulations ***
To the JKA New Zealand members who successfully passed their Dan & License examination 28th & 29th May 2016 in Auckland & Ashburton.

Graeme Underwood - Ni Dan
Eesan Balasubramanium - Ni Dan
Jesse Parker - Ni Dan
Lizelle Pelser - Instructors License "D-Kyu" ; Judge License "D-Kyu"
Andrew Mankin - Instructors License "D-Kyu"




2016 June - JKANZ  Gasshaku & Kyu Examination in Wellington

JKA Wellington hosted Sensei Karl for a two day training seminar and Kyu grading thereafter.

We are really proud of the efforts put in by Sensei Matthew Sue and the senior members of JKA Wellington to help the club grow not only in its membership but also the standard of Karate taught.


2016 May - JKANZ  Gasshaku in Ashburton

ASHBURTON : 29th May
Sensei Karl conducted a one day training Seminar followed by JKA Qualification License exam on Sunday 29th May in Ashburton.

This event was hosted by Sensei Lizelle Pelser - JKA Timaru & Sensei Thorsten Windhorst - Jion International Karate Ashburton.  
Karate members from JKA Timaru / JKA Christchurch / Jion Intl. Ashburton/ Tobukai (Ski Shotokan) attended.

JKA Qualifications :
Sensei Lizelle Pelser passed - "D-Kyu" Judge / "D-Kyu" Instructor
Sensei Andrew Makin passed - "D-Kyu" Instructor


2016 March - JKANZ National Gasshaku & Grading program with Sensei T. Naka & Sensei K. Okuma

What a seminar !

It was a perfect blend of harmonious techniques tempered into reality by two of the leading Sensei’s from JKA hq. Sensei Naka’s perfection complimented by Senei Okuma’s pure strength, it was a treat indeed !

JKA New Zealand karate members experienced one of the finest “Gasshaku” (seminar) over the weekend of 18th to 20th March 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. 
Karateka’s from various JKA dojo’s in and around New Zealand participated in this three day event followed by Dan grading & License qualification examinations.

In all there were five intense training sessions covering Kihon, Kata and Kumite.
Sensei Naka and Sensei Okuma put our members through the basic “kihon waza” pointing out the need for preparation, followed by execution with appropriate timing, power and speed.

Shitei” Katas (Heian & Tekki Shodan) and four “Sentei” katas (Basai dai, Jion, Kanku dai and Empi) were taught in depth to our junior and Black belt members.

This year kata “Chinte” (珍手) was the flavor of this Gasshaku taught to our senior members with emphasis on “Bunkai” (analysis).

Last two sessions saw our members practicing Kumite techniques paring up one against the other in some very innovative but very practical drills.

Overall it was a fantastic experience with the entire event spread over 6 days. Sensei Naka & Okuma also took time going around our three main Auckland dojo’s conducting “dojo training” prior to the weekend of the Gasshaku.

Our members feel truly rejuvenated with the experience and are looking forward to the visit of JKA Instructor’s from the JKA hq in the future.

On behalf of JKA New Zealand I would like to thank Sensei Naka, Sensei Okuma, JKA headquarters, JKA and Shotokan clubs in New Zealand who participated in making this event a grand success.


2015 Nov - JKANZ Dan & License Examination Results

***Congratulations *** Congratulations *** 
To the JKA New Zealand members who successfully passed their Dan & License examination on 30th June 2015 in Matamata, New Zealand.

Horst Droege - "D-Kyu" Judge
Matthew Sue - "D-Kyu" Instructor
Takuma Kobayashi - "D-Kyu" Instructor
David Thompson - "D-Kyu" Instructor

Ken Hanyu - Ni Dan
Matthew Sue - Ni Dan

David Ku - Sho Dan
Sean Halstead - Sho Dan
Anne Sinclair - Sho Dan
Tony Hollinshead - Sho Dan


2015 Nov - JKANZ North Island Gasshaku and Dan grading in Matamata, New Zealand

Sensei Karl Naoroji conducted a training seminar and Dan grading in Matamata over the weekend of the 28th and 29th Nov 2015.
JKANZ members from Matamata, Wellington, Wanganui and Pakuranga attended.
The two day seminar focused on salient points such as achieving correct stances (Tachi-kata) and the use of hips (Koshi no kaiten).
In total there were six seminars focusing on Kihon, Kumite,Kata form and Kata analysis (Bunkai).
Following kata's were taught in depth ; Hein Ni dan / Heian Go dan / Tekki shodan / Tekki Ni dan / Basai Dai / Gankaku.


2015 Oct - JKA Autumn Camp in Tokyo, Japan

This years Autumn Gasshaku was held at the JKA Honbu dojo in Tokyo, well represented by JKA members from around the world. Gasshaku training was as usual of the highest standard complimented by Special Dan rights testing, Qualification license testing and Dan grading it self.

JKA New Zealand was well represented by Sensei Karl Naoroji and his senior students Horst Droege from Auckland and Danie Vanderlinde from Matamata.

There was a total of 8 x seminars spread over a period of 4 days; Thursday 14th Oct to Sunday 19th Oct 2015.  

The first day: Seminars 1 & 2 ; Kihon and senior Katas Hangetsu & Gankaku.  
The second day: Seminars 3 & 4 ; practicing Katas Gojushiho-shou & Meikyo followed by Ouyou Kumite.
Third morning: joint Seminar 5 for all grades ; conducted by Shuseli Shihan Ueki standardisation of JKA techniques. This was followed by Seminars 6 analysis of Katas Hangetsu, Gankaku. Seminar 7 ; Skill for Judges.  
Fourth day: Seminar 8 ;  a revision of Katas Gankaku, Hangetsu, Meikyo, Gojushiho-Shou and Kumite.

Sensei Karl was successful in passing the exam for Special rights upto "SAN DAN".  Sensei Karl can now grade our NZ members for Dan testing up to 3rd Dan Black belt.  

Sensei Karl also passed the examination for conducting License testing in New Zealand upto "D-KYU" for Instructor, Examiner & Judge.  This opens doors for all JKA New Zealnd members to now sit for License qualifications examination in New Zealand bi-annually.

It was a fantastic feeling to once again train along side the hq masters and other senior members of the JKA world.

Trust more members take up the opportunity to visit Tokyo next year to be a part of a large contingent representing New Zealand on the world stage

Looking forward to the next Spring Gasshaku in April 2016 !


2015 Aug - Kyu Grading at Pakuranga Dojo  

Congratulations to all JKA Pakuranga & Cockle Bay dojo members for successfully passing the Kyu exams. 


2015 - 1st JKA Asia Oceania Karate Championships held in Bangkok, Thailand

JKA HQ in conjuction with JKA Thailand held the 1st JKA Asia Oceania Karate Championship Tournament from the 21st to 23rd of August 2015, in Bangkok- Thailand.

Venue : Sports Authority in Thailand, Indoor stadium

Sensei Karl Naoroji was the only representative from JKA New Zealand as a member of the International Referees Committee at the Championship. 


2015 - JKA National Karate Championships

JKA National Champs were held on Sunday, 26th July 2015 @ “Howick College Main Gymnasium” Sandspit Road, Cockle Bay, Auckland 2014.

This Championship was open to all JKA Clubs in New Zealand.  80 odd compititors participated in both Kata & Kumite events.

The high light of the event was,Takuma Kobayashi - JKANZ winning both the Kata & Kumite Black belt category for Men and Anna Blair- JKA Auckland winning both the Kata & Kumite Black belt category for Women.

There were a lot of other significant performances ; please refer to the JKANZ Champ results 2015.

We would like to thank all participating karate members, their parents along with supporters and the referees without whose help this event would not have been possible.

Thank you all for making this event a grand success !

Sensei Karl Naoroji - JKANZ


2015 - Dan Examination Results

***Congratulations *** Congratulations *** Congratulations ***
To the JKA New Zealand members who successfully passed their dan examination on 30th June 2015.

Well done for sucessfully passing Ni DAN this year !

Takuma Kobayashi Ni dan  
Lucas Rocha Ni dan
David Thompson Ni dan
Matthew Grant Ni dan 




Well done for sucessfully passing SHO DAN this year !

Hayley Parker Sho dan
Jesse Parker Sho dan
Arzan Mohta Sho dan
Edward Fernandez Sho dan
Alec Ewin Sho dan 


2015 - National Gasshaku in Auckland with Shihan Tatsuya Naka - April

It was once again a proud moment for JKA New Zealand to host Shihan Tatsuya Naka from JKA HQ
during the Easter holidays to conduct a 4 day National Gasshaku in Auckland from 2nd to 5th April 2015.

This Gasshaku was attended by JKA members from dojo's across New Zealand.

Sensei Anand Ratna, the Technical Director of JKA India was a special guest who complimented
Shihan Naka in teaching at the Gasshaku. Natsuko from SKI Melbourne added the international flavour
and helped with the translation.

It was a privilege for all JKA members with Naka Shihan devoting his time and efforts not only for the senior members but separately for the junior members as well. Shihan Naka’s technical knowledge and innovation in teaching methods left everyone truly amazed.

Shihan touched on all three basic aspects of JKA Karate, i.e. Kihon, Kata and Kumite during this Gasshaku. There was constant emphasis to maintain one's correct body posture and execution of techniques with speed and kime (focus). The training seminars were followed by Dan grading and License Examinations on Sunday. 

To celebrate the successful conclusion of the event JKA New Zealand welcomed members to enjoy a dinner and drinks function at the Golf Club in the suburb of Pakuranga with Shihan Naka.

We had some wonderful moments during tthis 4 day event and we would love to share it with the JKA world in the form of some photographs.

JKA New Zealand looks forward to this yearly event once again in 2016.


Sensei Karl organised a training seminar and Dan grading on 19th & 20th Dec 2014 in Wanganui.
JKA Wanganui and JKA Wellington members trained together and made this as the first JKA southern region event since re-joining JKA.

JKA Wanganui was represented by Sensei Natasha McKee and her students & JKA Wellington was represented by Matthew Sue along with his club members.


Congratulations & well done for sucessfully passing SHO DAN this year !

Graeme Underwood – Sho Dan
Roberto Gutib - Sho Dan
Alisha Sethi - Sho Dan
Matthew Sue– Sho Dan
Gino Sue - Sho Dan
Ricky Sue - Sho Dan


From the left : Sensei Karl Naoroji, Danie Van der linde, Takuma Kobayashi,
Christopher Papas, Michael Smith


Congratulations & well done for sucessfully passing SHO DAN !

Takuma Kobayashi – Sho Dan
Michael Hayden– Sho Dan
Lucas Rocha– Sho Dan
Eesan alasubramanium– Sho Dan

2013 JKA Autumn Gasshaku just concluded in Tokyo, Japan
10th - 13th Oct

Sensei Karl attended the Autumn Camp held at the JKA So honbu from 10th to 13th Oct 2013. The other representative from New Zealand was Sensei Zel from JKA Auckland.

This was a 4 day training camp with emphasis on Kihon Techniques and how to instruct katas Jion, Empi and Hangetsu. There were also a dedicated Seminar on how to instruct Kihon Kumite.

Along side training, JKA HQ conducted Dan Examinations and license qulifications for Instructors, Examinars & Judge.

Sensei Karl Naoroji was presented "Special Rights for Ni DAN Examinations". This allows Sensei Karl to conduct Sho Dan & Ni Dan examinations independently in New Zealand.

Camp concluded with the usual JKA Party celebration on the evening of 12th Oct. This camp was attended by over 300 Sensei's from various JKA Organisations accross the globe.

Noriaki Nakazawa, Neil Reaney & Haruka Naka joined Sensei Zel & Sensei Karl for the evening trainings at Naka Sensei's private dojos.

2013 Training and grading at Wanganui
19th - 20th July

Sensei Karl was invited to Wanganui by Sensei Natasha McKee to conduct a two day training seminar at the Wanganui City
College Gymnasium.

Training was split into two 1 hour sessions on both days.

Day 1 :
Basic Kihon techniques followed by Gohan Kumite (five step sparring).
Basic Katas ( Hein Shodan, Hein Nidan, Hein Sandan ). All katas were taught along with Bunkai ( explanation of techniques).

Day 2 :
Basic Kihon techniques followed by Ippon Kumite ( one step sparring )
Followed by Katas ( Hein Yondan, Hein Godan, Tekki Shodan, Tekki Nidan )

The standard of the Wanganui students was very good according to Sensei Karl. It was heartning for Sensei Karl to see the willingness
of the members to learn and adopt to the changes very fast.

Training was followed by students sitting for the JKA accredited Kyu gradings.

Well done to Natasha McKee and the JKA Wanganui dojo !

2013 Training and grading at the Matamata dojo
6th April

Grading and training with Sensei Karl.


2013 JKANZ Welcomes Sensei Nemoto
1st - 4th March

Japan Karate Association of New Zealand just concluded a fantastic 4 day training camp with JKA headquarters instructor Sensei Nemoto.

This camp was held at Howick college main gym with Karatekas from various JKA clubs from all over New Zealand in attendance.

Training was split between the junior and senior belts so both groups benefited immensely. Nemoto sensei took us through a total of six seminars each for duration of three hours.

Emphasis was on basic Kihon techniques combined with Kata & Jiu Kumite.

Sensei Nemoto happens to be the current All Japan Kumite Champion and a full time headquarters instructor so you can imagine the training was simply fantastic !


2012 JKANZ Dan Gradings in Auckland

This year we saw some of our member’s successfully passing Dan (Black belt) gradation.

Congratulations & well done !

Afreen Naoroji – Ni Dan
Kevin Reid – Sho Dan
Viraaf Mehta – Sho Dan
Wayne Moffit – Sho Dan
Aafreen Mehta – Sho Dan
Elle McDowell – Sho Dan


"JKA Matamata" a new addition to JKANZ group

It is a pleasure to announce that the Japan Karate Association of New Zealand increases its strength by adding yet another club "JKA Matamata" to its existing membership.

JKANZ welcomes JKA Matamata and all new members who are now officially granted full membership.

This new club will be run by Sensei Danie van der Linde (1st Dan JKA black belt holder) under the direct supervision of Sensei Karl Naoroji.

Welcome Danie and all JKA Matamata members !


2011 Sensei Karl Naoroji passes "Special Examination Rights" at the JKA International Training Camp (Autumn), Sohonbu Tokyo Japan
6th Oct - 10th Oct 2011


Sensei Karl Naoroji is the first and the only New Zealander from JKA to pass the
"Special Examination Rights" this October at the International training camp just concluded at the Japan Karate Association Sohonbu dojo (head quarters) in Tokyo, Japan.

With this "special examination rights" granted to Sensei Karl by the JKA WF, he is the only official JKA instructor who can conduct a JKA Dan examination (Black Belt exam) in New Zealand.

This examination was conducted by Shusheki Shihan (Chief Instructor of JKA WF) Masaaki Ueki and a panel of other senior masters such as Tanaka, Osaka & Oishi.

This is a very proud moment for Sensei Karl and New Zealand.

Shihan Takaatsu Nishimura & Sensei Walter Stark also passed "special examination rights" from Australia.

This year the international training camp was attended by over 150 Japanese & 80 odd foreign Instructors from all accross the JKA world.

Sensei Zel Unkovich from JKA Auckland and Neil Reaney from JKA Pakuranga also attended the camp.

In total there was 4 days of training broken in to 7 Seminars which included Kihon & Ippon Kumite.

Senior black belt katas such as Souchin, Nijushiho, Gojushiho-dai & Bassai-sho were taught in detail with special emphasis on salient points and bunkai.

It was once again a fantastic feeling to be at the part of this truly international event.


Sensei Tatsuya Naka, JKA HQ Instructor visits Auckland, New Zealand
15th Sept - 18th Sept 2011

This was Sensei Naka's third visit to New Zealand.

The 4 day camp was a grand success with karatekas young and old, juniors to the very senior belts participated from various JKA and other karate clubs around New Zealand & Australia.

There were over 120 participants all coming together to culminate and upgrade their karate skills under the watchful eyes of Sensei Naka. The feeling was simply wonderful.

It is without doubt that Naka Sensei's presence this year and over the past couple of years have brought about a great deal of enthusiasm and strength in character for all us New Zealand karate members.

The New Zealand national squad members who just returned from Thailand having participated in the 12th World Karate Championships have a great deal to thank Sensei Naka for helping us build towards this event.

This year Sensei Naka was presented a special plaque by Shihan Dennis May of Karate New Zealand at a private party acknowledging his outstanding contribution to New Zealand Karate-Do.

We look forward to sensei's training next year !


2011 JKA Pakuranga Karate presence at the 12th Funakoshi World Karate Championships in Pattaya, Bangkok -
18th to 21st Aug

The 12th Funakoshi Gichin Cup World karate Championships was hosted by the Japan Karate Association this year in the touristic city of Pattaya, Bangkok from 18th to 21st August 2011.

The best Karatekas from more than 54 member countries participated in this fabulous 4 day event and we as New Zealanders were proud to be a part off.

The Kiwi presence was ever evident with 18 strong karatekas from all over New Zealand, coaches, senior referees and support staff made up the contingent.

Noriaki Nakazawa, Iain Thomson, Jenny Naoroji, Afreen Naoroji, Amrita Narayan, Kevin Reid along with Sensei Karl Naoroji represented JKA Pakuranga at the champs.

Our club members have surely done us proud not only to be selected to represent New Zealand but also to prove their worth at a surely international stage to fight along side some of the elite karate exponents across the globe.

Sensei Karl Naoroji successfully graded to Go Dan (Fifth degree Black Belt) in Pattaya just prior to the Championship. 

The grading was conducted by JKA Chief Instructor Shihan Masaki Ueki along side other senior Shihan kai  members  M. Tanaka, Y. Osaka, T. Oishi , T. Imura (all Japan) , M. Mori, T. Mikami (from USA) and  Hedeo Ochi (Germany).


2011 JKANZ National Karate Champs New Zealand
31st July

This year saw over a hundred karatekas participating in an all day event hosted by the Japan karate Association New Zealand at the Clouston Hall in St. Cuthberts College Epsom on 31st July 2011..

Karateka's from all JKA and various other Shotokan clubs in New Zealand participated in both Kata & Kumite events for Boys, Girls, Men's and Women's categories.

Noriaki Nakazawa from JKA Pakuranga won both the Men's Kata & Kumite titles for the second year running.

The Women's Kumite title was secured by Arisa Iwasaki of SKIF dojo & the Womens Kata was won by Briar Fleming of JKA Auckland.

This tournament was a perfect dress rehersal for the JKA members who were selected to travel to Pattaya, Bangkok for the World Karate Championships later on in September.

RESULTS SUMMARY..............click here.


Sensei Yuko Hirayama, JKA HQ Instructor visits Auckland, New Zealand
13th June - 19th June 2011

Training with Sensei Hirayama was simply fantastic as she showed a wealth of experience and knowledge in her teaching.

The New Zealand national squad members selected to participate in the 12th Funakoshi Gichin World Karate Championships benefitted immensely from Sensei's training.

This training programme was very well attended by all JKANZ members and other Shotokan clubs around Auckland. We had a total of almost 160 participants involved over a period of 7 days.

Sensei Hirayama seen here in a slightly jovial mood with the women and girl members of JKANZ.

2011 Sensei Shimizu Ryosuke, JKA HQ Instructor visits Auckland

Sensei Shimizu was an great inspiration to the JKANZ members during his brief visit to Auckland.

He impressed the entire lot with his strong flamboyant style and left behind a lasting impression not only with the senior New Zealand squad members but also the very young.

The kumite drills / combinations he made us practice were simple, yet extremely effective when it came to implementing them in daily kumite techniques.

He is by far one of the very top exponents of kumite from the JKA Honbu.

We are sure to see him soon in Pattaya, Thailand at the World championships as a part of the elite Japanese team.

Executive Director & General Manager of Technical division of JKA HQ, Sensei Yoshiharu Osaka visits Auckland, New Zealand
2nd Nov - 4th Nov 2010

Sensei Osaka, 8th Dan from the JKA head quarters is considered "An outstanding example of technique, quality, continuity, tempo and skill".

He studied karate from the "Takushoku university" and completed the JKA’s special instructor training course in 1972. Ever since has been a full time Instructor at the JKA head quarters.

Sensei Osaka's mastery of kata and techinical skill is legendary. From 1978 Sensei Osaka held a record of winning the JKA Kata Championships never loosing upto 1983.

He also won the JKA Kumite Championships in 1976.

His visit to New Zealand was a grand success.


2010 JKA International Joint Training Camp (Autumn), Sohonbu Tokyo Japan
7th Oct - 10th Oct

The October gasshaku generally attracts less overseas participants compared to April but surprisingly the support was as good if not better. There were in total close to 250 participants present both from overseas as well as Japan.

Sensei Ueki Masaaki is now "Shusheki Shihan" (Chief Instructor) of the JKA and at a flash ceremony received his 9th dan from Master Sugiura Motokuni.

Tokyo weather this time was hot and very humid with temperatures in the high twenties.

New Zealand was well represented at the camp by Sensei Karl Naoroji, Sensei Zel Unkovich along with their respective students Noriaki Nakazawa, Neil Reaney and Bianca Stewart.

Brief Schedule of training :-
Day 1 : 1st seminar - Kihon & Heian Katas / 2nd seminar-Kata Tekki Shodan; Jion; Kanku dai
Day 2 : 3rd seminar - Kata Tekki Nidan & Hangetsu / 4th seminar- Kata Tekki Sandan & Gankaku
Day 3 : 5th seminar - Judges Practical Training / 6th seminar - Kumite training Judges, Instructors & Examiners qualification exams / Dan examinations.
Day 4 : 7th seminar - Kumite Training

Camp concluded Sunday afternoon with the closing ceremony and the announcement of Qualification Examinations results.

Results Oct from New Zealand :-
Noriaki Nakazawa - Instructor C (re-validated) ; Examiner D (re-validated) ; Judge C
Neil Reaney - Instructor D (April 2010) ; Judge D


2010 JKA HQ Instructor Sensei Tatsuya Naka visit Auckland- Report
9th Sep - 12th Sep

This was Sensei Naka's second visit to New Zealand this September.

Japan Karate Association New Zealand was once again proud to host this dynamic and charismatic instructor from the JKA head quarters to be a part of a 4 day training seminar and Dan grading programme.

The Venue was Clouston Hall, St Cuthbert's in Epsom with seminars conducted by Naka Sensei for Juniors followed by Senior training.

Members from various Shotokan clubs from all over New Zealand were present in large numbers to train along side Sensei Naka.

Kihon & Kumite techniques were practiced uniquely with special emphasis on block / counter attack combinations.

Heian Kata finer points re-established & senior kata Gojushio Sho & Chinte taught with complete breakdown of individual movements along with Bunkai (explanation).

On the last day of the seminar Naka Sensei conducted the Dan examinations in the afternoon where members appeared for Sho dan & Ni Dan examinations from various JKANZ clubs.

***2010 Special Milestone / Congratulations to Pakuranga Seniors***

Noriaki Nakazawa
International Qualification Examination : C Kyu Instructor ; C Kyu Judge
Neil Reaney
International Qualification Examination : D Kyu Instructor ; D Kyu Judge
Jenny Naoroji
Passed "Ni Dan" (2nd Dan Black belt)

Iain Thomson
Passed "Ni Dan" (2nd Dan Black belt)
Stephen Shaw
Passed "Ni Dan" (2nd Dan Black belt)
Declan Salmon
Passed "Sho Dan" (1st Dan Black belt)


JKANZ National Karate Champs New Zealand
22nd Aug 2010

The weekend of 22nd August 2010 saw karatekas from all across Auckland converge upon St. Cuthbert's college "Clouston hall" to participate in the
"JKANZ National Karate Champs".

Sensei Dennis May from International Goju Ryu Karate was one of the invited guests.

It was a fantastic event with over 150 participants from New Zealand and Australia taking part in Kata & Kumite events for Boys, Girls, Men's and Women's categories.

Some of the Shotokan clubs present at the event were JKA Auckland, JKA Pakuranga, JKA Kenshinkan (St. thomas), Devonport Shotokan, Budo Shotokan, JKS North Shore, SKIF, West City, JKA Browns Bay, Red Scorpion & JKA Australia.

Noriaki Nakazawa from JKA Pakuranga won both the Men's Kata & Kumite titles. The Women's titles were secured by Tracy Goddard of SKIF.

There was also a lot of young talent on display in the Boy's & Girl's categories which is a great sign for the future of shotokan Karate in New Zealand.

RESULTS SUMMARY..............click here.


2010 JKA International Joint Training Camp (Spring), Sohonbu Tokyo Japan
15th Apr - 18th Apr 2010

The spring camp in Tokyo attracted over 300 participants from all across the globe. The weather in Tokyo was rather cold and it snowed in Tokyo which is rare for this time of the year.

The opening ceremony was special, with the formal announcement of Masaaki Ueki Senseis appointment as the "Shusheki Shihan" (Chief Instructor) of the JKA.

Masahiko Tanaka Sensei and Yoshiharu Osaka Sensei were appointed as the Deputy Chief Instructors.

New Zealand, was represented by Sensei Zel Unkovich and Sensei Karl Naoroji along with their respective students Briar Fleming and Neil Reaney.

Qualification Examinations attempted and passed from New Zealand :-
Sensei Karl Naoroji - Instructor B ; Examiner C ; Judge B (previous year)
Sensei Zel Unkovich - Instructor C ; Examiner C ; Judge C
Neil Reaney - Instructor D
Briar Fleming - Instructor D

With Sensei Ueki now in the helm, there was a lot of emphasis put in perfecting basics and practicing katas.

Brief Schedule of katas taught :-
Day 1 : 1st seminar - Kihon & Kumite / 2nd seminar - Bassai-dai & Kanku-dai
Day 2 : 3rd seminar - Bassai-sho & Kanku-sho / 4th seminar - Meikyo & Chinte
Day 3 : 5th seminar - Kata Training for Examinee / 6th seminar - Kumite
Day 4 : 7th seminar - Gojushiho-dai & Nijushiho

Looking forward to the next Camp in Oct 2010.

2009 JKA Instructor, Sensei Tatsuya Naka, 6th Dan Black belt visits New Zealand
26th Nov - 29th Nov

Japan Karate Association headquarters in Tokyo have appointed Sensei Tatsuya Naka, 6th Dan to travel to Auckland, New Zealand in official capacity to conduct
a 4 day karate seminar starting Thursday, 26th Nov to Sunday 29th Nov 2009.

Sensei Naka is not only a dynamic JKA personality but also a well known International celebrity having played a leading role as Taikan, in Shunichi Nagasaki’s karate movie show “Kuro-Obi”.

JKA Pakuranga Karate Club & JKA Auckland World Federation is co-hosting this event and the invitation is open to all JKA and other Shotokan clubs.

Please come along and share this magnificent training experience with Naka Sensei.


JKA Pakuranga Karate Club and JKA Auckland World Federation recently played host to the renowned Sensei Tatsuya Naka, for a 4 day seminar (26-29 November). This prestigious individual is a 6th Dan black belt and a well respected instructor at the Japan Karate Association’s headquarters, Tokyo. A dynamic Karate personality, Sensei Tatsuya Naka has gained notable success in national and world tournaments and recently gained international recognition through his starring role in the motion picture “Kuro-Obi” (Black-Belt).

Training started in earnest on Thursday evening with Sensei Naka emphasising on hip rotation, with the hip finishing in three different positions whilst punching & blocking. The precision of his body movements almost made his translator oblivious, as he carefully explained the way to execute techniques with maximum power.  Various katas,  Heian (basic) and Sentei (advanced ), were then studied during the sessions. Sensei’s attention to detail and careful explanations impressed everybody present. During the seminar he skilfully demonstrated various grappling, throwing techniques; effortlessly bringing men much larger than himself crashing to their knees with minimal effort. This particular aspect of the training was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Saturday evening saw a break from training when Sensei Zel  Unkovich (JKA Auckland WF) hosted a dinner party to celebrate Sensei Naka’s visit. The buffet provided by Sensei Zel and his family would not have been out of place at a five star restaurant; everyone enjoyed a fantastic evening at his home with heaps to drink, lots of photographs & friendly banter. Sensei Naka appeared to enjoy himself immensely, illustrating that as well as top karate master, he also enjoys a good party. Although his English was by no means perfect, to his credit, Sensei was seen chatting and cracking jokes with all present.

The next day’s training session started with a fascinating explanation of how the correct transfer of energy can add power to techniques. Participants firstly attempted to lift each other in a relaxed state before repeating the same exercise whilst concentrating their energy in their ‘hara’ (centre of our body, stomach). It was incredibly difficult to lift the person when the energy was concentrated in the correct area of the body. Afterwards Sensei Naka took the very basic kata, Heian Shodan, and transformed it into an advanced training form. This involved turning with the back leg, adding ‘suri ashi’, and pulling the front foot back before punching.  All the Heian katas were then practised but in reverse, which proved to be quite challenging.

The combination of Sensei Naka’s speed, power and precision was awe-inspiring. When you consider his vast knowledge and outstanding of the teaching ability it becomes clear as to why many people present said, it was the best seminar they had ever attended.  I think it can safely be said that the seminar was thoroughly enjoyed by all and that Sensei Naka’s return will be eagerly awaited.


2009 JKA Autumn Joint Training Camp
8th Oct to 11th Oct

This year’s autumn joint training camp in Tokyo was attended by a four member team from New Zealand, Sensei Karl Naoroji from JKA Pakuranga, Sensei Zel Unkovich and his two students Nick & Jp from JKA Auckland World Federation.

The camp duration was for 4 days at the JKA Honbu Dojo. All training sessions were over seen by senior masters Ueki, Tanaka, Osaka who were ably complimented by other honbu instructors.

The morning session, day 1 comprised of Basic kihon, jiyu kihon and jiyu kumite followed in the afternoon by Kata. Four of the Sentei Kata Bassai Dai, Jion, Kanku Dai and Enpi were taught covering the fundamentals & bunkai.

On Day 2, Katas Goju shi ho sho, Goju shi ho Dai, Unsu and Gankaku were taught in fine detail.

Day 3 morning session, participants were subjected to practical training for centre judge and corner judge. Explanations were given for those who had difficulties or queries on various issues.
Afternoon session was Kumite with emphasis on reaction training and counter strategy.

JKA HQ hosted a party that evening for all overseas and local Japanese participants.

On Day 4, Kata Souchin, Meikyo and Tekki San Dan were taught.

There was also dan grading ; written & practical examinations for Referees, examiners & instructors qualification conducted simultaneously on the fourth floor.

That afternoon was a momentous occasion for New Zealand karate.

Sensei Zel Unkovich passed "D class" for Instructor, Examiner & Judges qualification.

Sensei Karl Naoroji passed the Judges "B Class" & Instructor "C Class" qualification exam.

Sensei Zel also was successful in passing "Yon Dan", fantastic !

According to many this years gasshuku was by far one of the best attended.

We all come away with fond memories and look forward to returning in April for yet another unique experience.

2009 JKA Seminar with Osaka Sensei in Auckland
27th March

The weekend of 27th & 28th of June saw JKA Pakuranga Karate members experience one of the most fascinating karate seminar conducted by the world renowned karate master Shihan Yoshiharu Osaka in Auckland.

Shihan Osaka is the current Executive Director and the General Manager of Technical Division of JKA headquarters, Tokyo, Japan. He is 8th Dan, highly respected and considered one of the most enigmatic karate celebrities in the world today.

This seminar was organized by JKA WF New Zealand and was attended by over 150 members all practicing Shotokan karate from all over New Zealand.

According to Sensei Karl the experience was simply amazing !

2009 JKA Nationals in Auckland by Declan Salmon
7th March

The air crackled with excitement as competitors and spectators alike from all over New Zealand arrived at the Alan Brewster Fitness Centre, Auckland for this year's JKANZ Karate Nationals.

Looking around I saw my club members gathered together beginning to warm-up their exhausted and sore muscles caused by the previous 3 days training. While I walked over to join them I scouted the area for the brown belt men competitors, thinking of their strengths and weaknesses and hoping that on this day I’d be able to come up better against them.

The familiar nervousness crept through my body as I began to stretch, and increased in intensity as the junior belt events started.

Breathing deeply I watch all the events my dojo's members were participating in, supporting and cheering them as loudly as I could, as I saw them win their events.

As the day progressed, I begun my practice trying to get each move of my kata as crisp and powerful as possible, hoping to be better than my opponents.

“Declan Salmon” rungs through the announcer's microphone and I saw my self and others nervously stride to the mats. My match was the first in the men’s kata. “Heian Go-dan” was the call. I let out a sigh of relief as it was the kata I was most confident with. The nervousness retreated as I began with a powerful “uchi-uke” and the kata seemed to go well from there on. I waited for the flags, a nauseating feeling ran through my body, until finally the whistle is blew, flags all red and I won my match. I let out a sigh of relief and a little smile.

Now pretty relaxed I start thinking about Kumite. The announcer called for the brown belt men’s kumite event and I walk over smiling. My match was second so I got the chance to work out the weak points of my opponents. It was my turn, I inserted my mouth guard looking serious and prepared myself to fight as hard as I could. Not as nervous as I was earlier, I took time to think and execute techniques with as much power I could muster, keeping my stances real low.The flags where in my favor and I was delighted. I was now in the finals for both kata & kumite.

The afternoon session saw the march in and opening ceremonies which according to me were great fun and at the same time made you feel real proud representing one’s club. The feeling of comradeship is at its brink marching along with members of one’s club and other karate-kas from all across New Zealand.

Pakuranga dojo members had all done well in the eliminations just like me, most were in the finals. After the introductions, various speeches and the singing of the national anthem it was time for the finals.

We lined up for the kata finals and I was called up for “Bassai Dai”. The kata flowed smoothly and I finished without any mistakes. I felt silently confident and the flags from the judges backed my feeling.  I was declared winner, “GOLD” in the Brown Belt Men’s category at the NZ Nationals in Kata!

I now had only kumite to worry about and I was gunning for the double!

Breathing deeply I tried to regain my focus, whilst the other finals were in progress. Finally, it was my turn; I gritted my mouth guard tightly into place and slipped my gloves on. Ready to fight I stepped on to the mat eye to eye with my opponent. The match passed on like a blur, this time I didn't feel as good as I did the preliminaries. The whistle blew; the flags raised and unfortunately I realized that the gold had slipped away. I was disappointed. I felt I could have done better!

Sadly for me, due to the normal rigors of life I had to work that evening so I had to leave before I could stand proudly on the podium and collect my medals.

But the feeling of achievement was still great; I had won a gold and a silver medal, and lots of praises from my Sensei.

What really made me happy was the fact that most of my club members excelled and won medals.  The tournament was a great success for me and our Club.

2008 Counties Manukau Sports Excellence Awards by Jenny Naoroji

In November last year I was nominated for "The Counties Manakau Junior Sportswoman of the Year" award by our club. Djordje Petkovic and Noriaki Nakazawa were also nominated for Junior Sportsman and Sportsman of the Year respectively.

As per the initial list announced on 6th Nov 2008 via press release there were 24 nominees in my category. Athletes were a mix bunch from Orienteering Club, BMX Mountain Bike Club, Gymnastics, Manukau Basketball, James Cook High School, Auckland Badminton, Swimming, Judo NZ and of course me from JKA Pakuranga Karate Club.

Thursday November 27, the Counties Manukau Sport judging panel selected the 8 finalists in all categories for its 2008 Sporting Excellence Awards Function to be held at the Telstra Clear Pacific Events Centre. It was a great feeling to be one among the 8 finalists up on stage for the announcement of the winner. Holly Takurua from the Sunset Coast Waiuku BMX Club was declared eventual winner in my category. The Junior Sportsman's was Mohammed Ali from De La Salle College for boxing. Sportsman of the year was Simon Child from the Southern Districts Hockey Club and the sportswomen of the year was without doubt Valerie Vili of the Macleans College / Pakuranga Athletic Club for her outstanding performance at the Beijing Olympics.

This was an exciting night which recognised many talented and highly deserving finalists from the Counties Manukau region. I must say it was an amazing experience for me, complete with a three course meal and drinks which I enjoyed throughly with Djordje and my parents who were invited guests.

2008 Congratulations to the Assistant Instructors of JKA PKCI

Results of the recently held JKA National Referees and Instructors exams held in Turangi during the Labour Weekend Gasshaku.

Noriaki Nakazawa
Level "B" Referee Theory & Practical Exam.
Level "B" Instructor Theory & Practical Exam.

Ruth Blair
Level "C" Referee Theory & Practical Exam.
Level "C" Instructor Theory & Practical Exam.

Neil Reaney
Level "C" Referee Theory & Practical Exam.
Level "C" Instructor Theory & Practical Exam.

2008 Counties Manakau Sport 2008 Volunteer Recognition Awards

In September this year, Ruth Blair was nominated by the JKA Pakuranga Karate Club for the Counties Manukau Sport volunteer recognition award for 2008.

The Awards Breakfast was sponsored by Counties Manukau Sport, at the Cosmopolitan Club in Papatoetoe. Its purpose was to recognise the important contribution by the hundreds of volunteers in our community who give up their free time to coach, raise funds and generally support the young sportsmen and women at sports clubs in South Auckland.

Without their efforts many of these groups would struggle to function. Ruth enjoyed a pleasant nice early morning breakfast chatting with others coaches, parents, helpers from other club, then received a certificate in recognition of her efforts at our karate club.


2008 My experience at the JKA Karate Nationals in Wanganui by Natalie

It was Friday the 15th of August, I awoke to the most annoying ring-tone my phone possesses, however it serves its purpose as the perfect wake up call.  It was an hour earlier than I usually wake up, so naturally I was half asleep whilst I prepared for an adventurous weekend away.

Before I was aware, I was hopping into Nori Sempai’s lucky mauve colored car, and on my way to Wanganui.  The trip was long but the scenery, as usual, showed just how beautiful New Zealand is, plus the trip was made even better by peanut brownies that Nick’s mom had thoughtfully made for us (thanks Nick’s mom they were delicious!).  We finally arrived at the motel, unpacked and relaxed for the rest of the day, going to bed early so we were up ready for Saturday.

Saturday morning, and there it was that same daunting tune, telling me to get out of bed and turn it off (which I did, of course) but it wasn’t as bad a feeling as it usually is as I wanted to be up early anxious to compete.  That morning was exciting, especially for Afreen, as it was her birthday.  I had got her a box of “Favorite’s” chocolates the night before when I was buying Saturday breakfast.  I felt kind of bad giving them to her that morning, as I realized that everyone else had got her a similar present and that chocolate is a pretty cheap idea for a gift (sorry Afreen I was on a tight budget).

We got to the competition and I realized that my anxiety had morphed into nervousness, like a werewolf had just seen the full moon in the centre of my stomach.  Its funny how you never realize how nervous you are until you physically see the situation that’s making you nervous!
50 faces staring at you, emotionless, watching every movement you make, secretly criticizing every mistake the effect is totally nerve-racking.

Nicholas was the first to participate and I wasn’t really paying much attention as I was still trying to calm my nerves. Then it was my turn and kata was first on the agenda.

I got “heian sandan” for my first round, I felt confident with the kata.  The first few moves, but then it occurred to me, I wasn’t putting enough power, the word ‘doomed’ was zooming through my head like a Ferrari on a race track.  The kata ended and I could feel my heart beating furiously inside my chest. The worst is when some unearthly, all powerful being, decides to purposefully slow down time and no matter how many competitions you’ve been to, it never feels any different. It’s the feeling you get when someone is choosing your fate and you still can’t tell until you see the two flags in front of you.

Looking at the two flags in front of me I could see, I had a 50/50 chance of winning. Then came the all too familiar short burst of the whistle after which a single flag appears in the centre of your vision and tells you if you’ve won or lost, I slowly let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding, whilst simultaneously relaxing every muscle in my body, I didn’t know I was tensing, but the flag had said it all, I had won and was going through to the finals!

My kumite was a bit of a blur, I never really get the hang of having all those set moves.  I’d probably do a lot better if I’m allowed to do free kumite, especially considering I didn’t even get past the first round.

After all the initial excitement had worn down, the day seemed to flash by only leaving detailed memories of the highlights. I blame that unearthly, almighty being again, playing around with time, like he/she has the remote to a video recording.

At the end of the day all of us, Ian, Neil Sempai, Nori Sempai, Jenny, Djordje, Matthew, Afreen, Declan, Nicholas and me had at least a medal each.  Of course some of us namely Nori Sempai, Djordje and Afreen decided to wipe the floor, getting every gold possible. This made Afreen’s birthday even more memorable.  Nori Sempai managed 4 gold’s, unbelievable!   Matty, who got 2 silvers, couldn’t help the fact that he was in the same category as Afreen, otherwise he would probably have achieved the same feat.  We also had a few movie worthy moments, Djordje getting a point in the very last second of his fight,  Nori Sempai performing a lightning fast side-kick with a 360 degree spin, landing perfectly balanced, but most of all we all had a great time.

Saturday evening was a real live comedy; humor was flying around us, like a fairy flies around mushrooms. Jenny had ordered a very spicy dish in the Chinese restaurant we were dinning and was handing out some extremely fiery chilies. My ears still haven’t gone back to normal after eating that.  Djordje and Nicholas daringly/idiotically decided to rub the chilly on their faces, ending up with what seemed to be a very uncomfortable tingly sensation.

We were all thoroughly entertained and amused at their expense that evening.  Later Afreen’s unexpected birthday cake arrived, we started singing every song we could think of and you could probably imagine how loud we got!

Sunday was one day I woke up to the sound of silence.  Cell phone was motionless, as silent as a grave.  On the trip back home Nicholas had decided that he needed to stop and retrieve something from the boot every 5 min.  We also stopped along the way close to Tamaranui where the sides of the roads were completely blanketed with snow.  We got off the car and had a snowball fight.  This was the very first time I ever saw snow; it was definitely the highlight of my day.

Before I knew it I was back where I started in my own comfortable bed, memories of the days swirling past around my head in a dreamlike state. Beautiful…….!

So until my next big venture, I bid you all a fond farewell, sayonara, aster-la-vista …….etc. 


2008 Kicking it to the Aussies by Jenny Naoroji

I awoke early on Easter Monday morning to hear the empty echoes of only my household at work. We were all up and running by 3: 45 am and left home with a boot full of bags at about 4: 30am. I was excited for the journey ahead (even if I’d never say so if I was asked). This was my first time traveling out of the country and even the thought of it seemed to excite the butterflies in my stomach.

For me everything went way too quickly. Well, kind of. We waited in the check in line for what seemed like a life- time then zoomed through all the other formalities such as the immigration and security. Then, before I knew it we were on the plane. It was a highlight for me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself as we took off in the early morning into the unknown…. I felt like I was in the movies.

The first training is always the hardest right? You bet! The scorching heat killed me. Just sitting in seiza with Shihan arranging and rearranging the order we sat in got me sweating. That tells you something about the training doesn’t it? Emphasizing on only kihon I felt I had something to prove to all those Aussies. After they had outnumbered us in our own country last year and took most of the medal placings I felt it was our turn to make an impression.

Hopefully I did just that. Tournament day came and I was scared. Dad, sensei Karl to everyone else was screaming instructions into my ears and as I tried to act cool, calm and collected I was secretly storing every word I could grasp away inside my head. ‘Don’t screw up!’ kept going through my head over and over again. I was a mess. The funniest thing was I didn’t need to be nervous. I didn’t even need to compete until towards the end of that day.

The tournament started at 8 o’clock sharp and I forgot all the nerves I had had that morning. I was thrilled to watch all the coloured belts compete. I watched Natalie compete who unfortunately didn’t win any placings but I was still proud of her. It was great to watch everyone compete while I sat on the side lines and pass judgment.

After lunch all of us assembled court side and cheered Ruth Sempei’s bronze winning “Jion” as she participated in the Over 40s Veteran Kata. She performed well and deserved her medal. Soon after on the same court Nori, Iain and I performed kata “Basai-dai”. We were the first team to compete for team Kata on our court. Overall we placed third in the eliminations round which put us just out of qualifying for the finals. That’s alright though; we’ll remember to practice before we leave the country next time.

Then it was my turn. I was off to an amazing start in the Kata event since I competed in the first round and won my Hein Sandan. I had never won a kata round before so I felt really elated. The worst part of the tournament followed then, I lost my “Empi”. I couldn’t believe it when I made a mistake. Disappointment filled up inside me……

Free Kumite had always been something I look forward to. Especially since all the planed rules do not apply in my black belt group any more. I didn’t think it would be easy but I was determined to do well. I was still upset I had lost my kata and I was first up again. This time the fight was over in about 30 seconds and I had won. Yay!

I was in a ‘zone of my own’ and had no idea what I was doing fight after fight so I was thankful that my body was responding subconsciously to those long hours of training in the dojo. Before I knew it I was in the finals. I was surprised that the Aussies weren’t cheering as loudly as before but I was glad nonetheless.
When I won I found people congratulating me and telling me how well I had done. I wanted to ask them “who me?” I was still amazed. I won gold.

Whilst I was doing my kata on court B there was the 12 and 13 year old boys’ black belt division happening, on court A. Djordje was in this. He came through to win bronze in the Kata. Iain and Nori had their individual fights on Saturday, the next day of competition. They both did very well in kata until they faced each other in the round finals. Iain was the unlucky one in this case. In the individual Black Belt Kumite event Iain knocked out his opponent and it was the end of the road for him, unfortunately ! Nori Sempei went on to claim Silver in the finals. Iain and Nori were also part of the Auckland State Team and part of the New Zealand Test Match team.

That Saturday was all about the team for me. I participated in a state fight and in a test match. I won my fight against an older opponent from Australia. I went into the fight scared to get hit but after the left side of my face became numb I wanted to inflict pain onto her. It did not matter any more and winning felt sweeter.

My last fight in the Test match was against the women’s champion. I felt hesitant to fight but I wasn’t going to just give her the medal. I felt it didn’t matter whether or not the other girls in my team won but I had to try. So I did. I finished the tournament with a swollen jaw and a Rudolph the reindeer nose which would not stop bleeding but it was worth it. I lost my last fight, but you can’t say I didn’t achieve my goal. I’m sure some of those Aussies will remember me next time.

In all it was a great experience. I learnt a lot from the senseis from Japan and Aussie who helped me perfect my techniques and dad off course. I must not forget Nori sempei and Iain who helped me heaps with my kumite. I have many goals for the future but right now I am happy to be off to a good start.


2008 27th JKA Australia National Champs by Ruth Blair

No, the day had not yet dawned as I arrived at Auckland Airport, 4:30 am on March 24, ready to join Karl Sensei, 5 other members of the JKA Pakuranga Karate Club and the Petkovic family. We were off to Melbourne for a week of seminar and competition, hopefully with a few medals thrown in at the end, at the 27th JKA Australia National Champs.

The whole event would take place at the Dandenong Basketball Stadium, a huge complex housing 3 or 4 basketball courts, plus, interestingly, a couple of beach-volleyball indoor courts complete with sand. These, sadly for some, were not in use at the time! That afternoon was the first training session, and as expected was a "cooker" at 29 degrees, with 300 or so karateka all huffing and puffing away in one room. However the next day Melbourne lived up to its reputation of "4 seasons in 1 day" with temperatures plummeting and rain starting to bucket down. Aussies turned up for training the next day swathed in blankets!

As usual Takahashi Shihan led the training, assisted by Nishimura Sensei and a group of guest instructors from Japan, some of whom we had met last year in Taupo. The emphasis on kata, especially Nijushiho and Gojushiho Sho, was especially welcome to "yours truly". It was also really enjoyable to train with our friendly and helpful Aussie counterparts. "Hi there" to Sally, Kylie and Jill who were training with me in the "Veterans Corner", great to meet you, look forward to catching up with you again some time soon.

When it came to the comps at the end of the week, it was good to see this supportive and encouraging atmosphere continue, especially in my event which was the Over-40's Kata. I always admire older karateka, especially the women, who resist the urge as we get older to become spectators in life, and get out there, in this case, to do, of all things, a karate comp. Rhonda Williams did a beautiful rendition of "Kata of the Week" (Gojushiho Sho) to win the gold, and David Owen a powerful Jitte to place second. It was nice of Kim Parker, a member of the Aussie team, to come up to me later and congratulate me on a good performance. As I said before, for me the tournament was marked by a feeling of good-natured sportsmanship and encouragement.

Other members of the NZ team to get "gongs" were Jenny Naoroji, whose beautifully-timed gyaku zukis won her a gold in her kumite section, Noriaki Nakazawa who, despite a leg injury persevered to get silver in the Open Men's Black Belt Kumite, and Djordje Petkovic whose excellent stances and clean techniques got him to 3rd in his kata section. Iain Thomson and Natalie Jennery were unlucky in the medal stakes this time round, but gave spirited performances in their events, gaining valuable international experience in the process.

Outside of karate we also got the chance to let loose a bit. Some of us managed to catch up with friends and family in Melbourne. Then, who could forget Iain's attempt to reinterpret Melbourne's road code, as he set off on the Princes Highway, on the RIGHT-side of the road, into the face of the morning rush-hour traffic. "Braveheart" rules OK, eh Iain? Or the nightly walk down to a restaurant (no fridge or stove in the motel) past a park of seedy-looking characters; our team always on the lookout for kumite-practice opportunities! The failed attempt to poison Ruth with fermented fruit salad - Montezuma's Revenge got Iain the next day! And that van, full of luggage on our last day, I finally was able to take it for a "little spin" down a service lane that, ominously turned out to have tram tracks in it. Having got stuck in a tight corner, and in the middle of executing a particularly tight 3-point turn with a tram approaching rapidly, only my superbly-honed reaction skills prevented the team, coming back from a walk, from finding a mangled pile of metal where Ruth and the van had once been. The little ding on the door and the blue paint from another car in the Plaza carpark would then have been the least of our worries!

The Celebration Dinner, once the band finally got going, was also a good chance to unwind. The food, lots of it, was good, as was the band. Felt good to "boogie on down", a change from all that kata, although I did notice someone, trying to incorporate Nijushiho into a hip-hop routine, shame on them!

Finally it was all over, and it was back to NZ, this time arriving at 2am. Dandenong Plaza Food Court no longer has the spectacle of a troupe of gi-clad karateka traipsing through its hallowed halls every lunch-time. I was sad, for my part, to have to leave the best Butter Chicken I've ever encountered, and that was at the Mexican food stall of all places! And as the next-door neighbours munch away on all those boxes of duty-free chocolate macadamias I brought them back, they and we are looking forward to our next trip, next year, which is scheduled for Brisbane.

Here is a little secret that perhaps I shouldn't reveal: I am NEVER asleep on a plane, only pretending... !

2007 Northern Region Karate Championships, Auckland by Natalie

Yay! No grading exams this term so I'm thinking no pressure, time to relax a bit and work on technique before the fear of grading returns yet again - but this wasn't to be with Sensei Karl announcing 'We will be having a tournament and I would like you all to participate - no pressure,' he said. Yeah right!

Well never having experienced a tournament before the fear of the unknown was as great as the fear of a complete mental block on the day, come time to do Kata.

Once the registration forms were signed there was no turning back and what followed was amazing team spirit as fellow dojo members who had done this before gave words of encouragement, support and last minute hints on perfecting technique.

So now there's a shift in my thinking, in that it's all about the experience and participation - there is no stress or pressure here!

Tournament day and as I walked into the Manurewa Recreation Centre Hall I took a sharp breath in and found myself holding it there as the tension and anxiety of what I had signed myself up for hit me like the well executed zuki I observed from the senior black belts later in the tournament. When I remembered to breathe, I was grateful to once again find myself breathing in the air of team spirit. Even though we would stand alone out there, we were all in this together giving great strength and encouragement.so let the tournament begin!

No better way to start than with the free spirit of childhood, with the boys from Glendowie and all the kids competing, many for the first time, doing themselves proud, as well as all the parents and participants. We all smiled at some stage bar the judges who had the well practiced eye, steely look, not to mention flick of the wrist, of many years' collective wisdom and experience.

The tournament runs in two age groups and I felt slightly better having seen other adults like myself experiencing this for the first time and then soon it was my time and within minutes it was over. I sat relieved and exhilarated and could then totally enjoy watching as the tournament progressed through the ranks. The opportunity to observe is not only thrilling but also a great opportunity to learn with many examples of the spirit within coming forth in performance, form and 'kee-i'.

Senior kata and kumite brings a heightened sense of excitement to the tournament as the level of competition rises to match the experience of the competitors. I watched in total awe and with great respect for both the skill and courage of the seniors and was also somewhat relieved to see that they too experience the nervousness of competition.

Congratulations must go to all the competitors as this day was not only about getting a win but about participation and the spirit and tradition of karate. (However I shall take writer's privilege and say that the highlights for me were the young ones from Glendowie and some outstanding performances of some of the seniors from Pakuranga dojo, taking the win!)

For those of us who were first timers I am sure that the fear of tournament will be lessened next time through having this experience and that we will all be better prepared to uphold the traditions of karate through improved discipline, ritual and preparation.

We would not have these wonderful opportunities in which to grow, learn and develop within our karate without the dedication of Sensei Karl, all the judges, organisers, volunteers and parents who made this outstanding day happen.

5TH Australian Karate Championships & Seminar

Japan Karate Association New Zealand held its 5th Australian Karate Championships and Seminar in Taupo, New Zealand.  Over 300 karateka's from all across New Zealand and Australia participated in a three day karate seminar followed by an international tournament.

Amongst the special dignitaries invited from head quarters Japan were Shihan Tanaka, Shihan Takahashi, Shihan Matsui, Sensei Shinogi, Sensei Ina and Sensei Aragaki (the current women's world kata champion).

At the seminar, Sensei Karl Naoroji successfully passed the Yon Dan Grading (Fourth Dan Black Belt) which was conducted by an elite panel of examiners from Tokyo HQ.

Pakuranga members performed exceptionally well with Noriaki Nakazawa winning both the Kata and Kumite Gold Medals  in the Men's Open Black Belt categories.

Djordge Petkovic stepped in Nori's footsteps to win first place in both kata and kumite in the Boy's Black Belt categories and was also awarded a trophy for Most Improved Junior.

Ian Thomson, Michael Belsham and Ruth Blair won placing in their respective categories and Jenny Naoroji was awarded the Spirit Trophy.

The other members who participated in the championships and seminar were Afreen Naoroji, Mark Waters, Zane Morton, Wayne Moffitt, Nicholas Belsham, and Lazar Petkovic.


Anniversay Weekend Training Camp By Ruth Blair

Auckland Anniversary Weekend dawned, and while many Aucklanders slept in, dreaming of a day at the beach, watching the regatta from the BBQ, our Dan grades- Karl Sensei, Nori, Neil, Jenny and myself were off to Turangi for two days of training. With gradings approaching in March, extra training from Mark Willis was a welcome proposition. We also got a chance to catch up with other brown and black-belt students from Wellington, Turangi, and surrounding areas.

The first session was on Saturday afternoon, and concentrated mainly on basics (kihon) and a little free-fighting (jiyu kumite). 600 assorted kicks later, it was off to the hot pools five minutes down the road to rest the weary legs and then to the local "Chinese Chomp" for a fantastic beef satay.

Back at Club Habitat we then enjoyed the company of a crowd of fire-fighters who had converged on Turangi for their national champs, and then managed to get a few hours sleep before the next morning's session, which focused on kata, especially Goju Shiho Sho.

Midday, we departed for Auckland, having just having made another new friend, "the local AA rep" for Turangi, Jenny having accidently locked us out of our car.

On the way home through Taupo, even the 5000+ crowd watching the off-shore powerboat champs was not enough to deter Ruth from the cut-price lunch and Pina Colada at Cobb & Co. Eventually we got home, with the knowledge that our karate standard had gone up a couple of notches. Thanks to Mark Sensei for his time and efforts, and Karl Sensei for the driving.

Labour Weekend Training Camp By Ruth Blair

October 22, and 11 of us - students, parents and Karl Sensei - piled into a minibus for the trek to the 'gasshuku' or training camp, at Turangi. This is usually for black belt students, but this year for the first time some lower-grade students as well were allowed to give it a go. Under the expert guidance of Nishimura Shihan (7 th dan), this year's training schedule was: Saturday and Sunday 2 training sessions each: 7-9.30am and 1-5pm (approximately). In between was brunch (buffet style, the works) and dinner, equally huge.

After enduring training camps in the past where gasshuku meant sleeping in dusty bunks with all-night hayfever, and once even experiencing running out of food by day 2, I was pleasantly surprised by the comfy motel units (with beds!), the heaps of nice food, and the fact there was plenty to do in between training if you had any energy left - the pool tables and big screen TV in the restaurant complex to occupy the young (and not-so-young) among us. As well, shops and the supermarket were just 100m down the road. On the third and final day of gasshuku there was no training, instead, the usual tournament took place, so people could relax a bit before the trip back to Auckland . Next gasshuku will be an all-grades camp, in early March 2007 with Takahashi Shihan (8th dan) teaching, but this time in Taupo. (And even Ruth is looking forward to it this time!)

New Dojo at Churchill Park School (Glendowie) By Ruth Blair

Our new branch - the Glendowie Dojo - opened October 9 and now has eight keen members aged between 6 and 9. At present it's beginners only, but soon we plan to open it to our Pakuranga members on a reciprocal training basis. Assisted by Ruth -1st dan - (that's me) and Jenny Naoroji - 1st kyu - Karl Sensei teaches there Mondays 6-7 pm and Saturday mornings 11-12. The dojo is unusually big and roomy, and being right in the middle of Churchill Park has plenty of safe, off-road parking, not to mention very pleasant surroundings. All ages are welcome and any parents who wish to train with their children are welcome too.