August news

Important dates

Date Time Event
Sat Oct 1 10am Senior grading
Sat Oct 1 5pm 5th anniversary pizza/movie/drinks celebration
Sun Oct 2 10am Junior grading
Nov/Dec?   Kudo competition in SA


The next grading is only two months away! Will you be ready?

The actual date(s) will be decided soon. I hope to test adults and children on different days, as each takes several hours, over the first weekend in October to coincide with our 5th anniversary celebration.

For the next couple of months, classes will focus on grading criteria. We have a broad syllabus, and it is not possible to practice every level’s requirements each lesson, so it is important that you practice outside of class. In order to help you prepare, I have been systematically video-taping the syllabus. Yellow belt is done and I will be working on Orange next. If you would like a video of your next grading, please bring a large capacity USB that is compatible with Apple products.

gold-mini-balloon-number-five-topper-9f55th anniversary

Sobukan turns five in September! Our dojo is now older than some of its members!

Let’s combine a grading (overdue for many) with a celebration over the first weekend in October – which happens to be a long weekend. We can test the adults on Saturday and the kids on Sunday and have a bit of a party Saturday night. How does a movie and pizza at the dojo followed drinks at Avoca Hotel sound for Saturday night?


I am planning to hold a Kudo SA tournament at the end of the year, or early next year at the latest. A lot of work goes into organisation, so volunteers are very welcome!

Before organising, I want to ensure that we have a few athletes ready. If you are interested in competition, show your dedication to training now!

I am also looking into options for children and adults to compete locally in BJJ, Karate or cross-discipline tournaments. Unfortunately, quality karate competitions for children in SA are few and far between, but I will keep looking!


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July news

Important dates

Date Time Event
July 10 1 – 5pm AMAA training day
July 16 Kudo QLD championships
Oct 1 – 3 5th anniversary of Sobukan and grading – please keep this weekend free!
Nov/Dec – TBC Kudo competition in SA?

One month has already passed since I returned from Japan, and Sobukan sessions have been a blast!

We have a new syllabus that formalises self-defence and sparring requirements, and reflects those goals. You may have noticed that classes are faster paced, with a stronger emphasis on consolidation of basic techniques, namely:

  • Punches
  • Kicks
  • Knees
  • Break-falls
  • Simple throws and sweeps

Jujutsu classes are now more dynamic, and focus on self-defence applications against habitual acts of physical violence (HAPVs) from standing and on the ground. There is even more sparring in Kumite classes.

While there are a few people that have not yet returned to classes since my trip to Japan, I have been very pleased with attendance and energy levels. Please keep it up!!


I have had a few questions about the next grading test. We have quite a few adults ready for their next grade, and our children are training hard for new belts too. It is only a couple of months until Sobukan’s 5th anniversary, so I plan to incorporate a grading into our celebrations. Start preparing now!!

5th anniversary

Sobukan turns five in September! Our dojo is now older than some of its members!

I am considering options to celebrate this milestone at the end of September or the beginning of October, and your feedback is welcome. Some ideas include:

  • Camping
  • BBQ
  • Picnic
  • Movie night and sleep over at the dojo
  • Seminar/training day(s)
  • Grading


Kudo QLD will hold a competition on Sat July 16 in the Gold Coast. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend this event. If you are keen to compete, please let me know.

I am planning to hold a Kudo SA tournament at the end of the year, or early next year at the latest. A lot of work goes into organisation, so volunteers are very welcome!

I am also looking into options for children to compete locally. Unfortunately quality karate competitions for children in SA are few and far between, but I will keep looking!

AMAA Training day

The Australian Martial Arts Association has invited me to teach at their interclub cross training day, and you are welcome too! This is a good opportunity to learn about martial arts as diverse as Kudo, BJJ, Taekwondo/Hapkido, Judo and knife defence techniques.

  • When:   Sunday 10 July, 1pm – 5pm
  • Where: Hackham East Primary School Gym
  • Cost:       $20
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Sobukan kicks off June 1

After two months training in Kudo, Hakkoryu Jujutsu, Karate and MMA in Japan, I look forward to returning soon and teaching you all I have learned!

There will be some changes at Sobukan, including:

  • A revised syllabus
  • Greater focus on building strong basics
  • A recalibration towards more effective and productive training methods
  • More sparring in Kumite classes
  • More self-defence and jujutsu technique in Karate lessons

Of course, we will still have loads of fun learning to strike, clinch, grapple, trap and lock with a great bunch of friendly people.

The first class back will be on Wednesday June 1.

Please come along and bring your family, friends and colleagues!

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You may recall that I (amongst others) have previously written about the four stages of competence and shuhari in order to better understand skill acquisition.


Four Stage of Competence

  1. Unconscious incompetence (I don’t even know what I can’t do)
  2. Conscious incompetence (I know what I can’t do)
  3. Conscious competence (I can do it when I concentrate)
  4. Unconscious competence (I can do it automatically)




Today I am borrowing heavily from an article in Koji Komuro’s excellent book on Judo grappling ‘柔道固技教本’ (Judo Katamewaza Kyohon). He discusses his three levels of mastery, what he refers to as ‘degree of learning maturity’. You will see that Komuro’s theory supports the four stages of competence generally attributed to Gordon Training International. The theory also roughly reflects the traditional Japanese shuhari stages. These theories assist both the learning and teacher in appropriate methods of acquiring skill.


  1. Can comprehend (わかる)

Grasping the theory, mechanics, distance, timing and opportunities to use a technique is the first stage of mastery. This stage centres of mental understanding rather than physical ability. Comprehension spans the first two of the four stages of competence. Use of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic aids will assist all learning styles to understand the technique. This may be achieved by using diagrams and demonstrating a technique (visual), explaining the mechanics and applications (auditory) and by feeling the move applied to the learner before the learner attempts to replicate the movement (kinaesthetic).


  1. Can do (できる)

Komuro writes of three following levels within this stage, which roughly equate to degrees of conscious competence.

  1. Can practice in static drill (uchikomi)
  2. Can practice within movement (ido geiko)
  3. Can practice in sparring (kumite/randori)


When learning a new technique, proficiency is generally developed in this order. Therefore, it is recommended to first isolate the basic movement with a compliant partner, then drill within natural movement, and eventually attempt the technique against progressive resistance.


  1. Can use (使える)

Komuro cautions that an ability to use a technique in sparring does not necessarily equate to an ability to use that technique in a fight, whether in combat sport or self defence. Using the technique in reality requires the practitioner to make the move their own, to explore it, experiment with it and develop the confidence to execute it given the smallest window of opportunity.


To paraphrase Komuro’s advice to achieve the final level of mastery:

  1. drill from a position of advantage
  2. drill from a position of disadvantage
  3. drill when the opponent is trying to escape.


Komuro concludes his article by referring to a Japanese idiom ‘一技3年’ or ‘three years per technique’. It would be convenient to allocate one year per level of mastery. However, I believe that the majority of that time is spent navigating the transition from ‘can do’ to ‘can use’.


Above image is accredited to Will Taylor, Chair, Department of Homeopathic Medicine, National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, Oregon, USA, March 2007

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Sobukan temporary closure

Please note that Sobukan will be open on Easter Saturday, but will then close until Wednesday 1 June 2016, as I will be visiting some of the best Kudo, Karate, MMA and Jujutsu dojo in Japan for two months intense training and research.

Fees will not be collectable for April and May.

In my absence, Sobukan members may contact each other via the Sobukan Martial Arts Facebook page to arrange self-training sessions. Alternatively I recommend joining judo classes over the next two months.

I apologise for any inconvenience due to the closure, and look forward to sharing new skills and training methods with you in June!


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Arnold Classic Kudo Nationals

On Sunday 20th March, Daniel, Tristan, Raghu and I fought in the Kudo Nationals at the Arnold Classic. Everyone conducted themselves extremely well and put in great performances, making me very proud.DSC_0146

There was no-one in the 230PI Master’s division, and the open division was full of 100kg + fighters, so I fought in the 240PI Adult division. While I didn’t mind fighting younger and bigger opponents, it was unfortunate that three from Sobukan were in the same division.

Tristan was first up, fighting Alex, a wrestling and Kudo champ from QLD. Tristan matched him in the striking, but was outwrestled by the champion wrestler. He put in a valiant effort to fight to a draw in the first round, and almost caught his opponent in an ankle lock before finally being caught by a knee bar in the extension round.

I fought Ian Teng next, a Melbourne based BJJ/MMA/Kudo fighter who visited us at Sobukan last year. Ian was the heaviest in the division, I was the smallest! I managed to win my fight, landing a front kick to the face, a spinning heel kick to the liver, a big leg kick, a hip throw and some strikes from knee ride.

Raghu got a bye.

Daniel then fought a muay Thai fighter, and was unfortunate to injure his shin when his opponent leg checked his very first leg kick with his knee. Daniel fought on regardless and at the end of a back and forth battle with some huge knees, punches and kicks, and a nice takedown by Daniel, he emerged the eventual winner. However, due to the shin injury, he was unable to continue and was awarded the silver medal.

Next Raghu fought Ian in the fight of his life. Raghu looked like a pro as he used agile footwork, sublime angles and leveraged his reach advantage to pepper Ian with a smorgasbord of kicks and punches, winning by a distinct margin.

Alex got a bye. Raghu and I were then scheduled to fight to meet Alex in the final. I had made a decision in advance to withdraw if I had to fight one my students. It would not be fair to them to fight their instructor and a hollow victory to beat a student. I chose my role of ‘coach’ over my role as ‘fighter’ to progress Raghu to the final.

Raghu fought hard against the champion, but despite Raghu landing some great kicks and surviving some slick submission attempts, Alex’s wrestling was too strong and Raghu had to tap to a tight arm bar with just one second remaining on the clock. Raghu was awarded the silver medal, and I the bronze.

Also from SA, Garry and Jordan Smith showed great heart in battles in their respective divisions. Garry unfortunately re-injured his knee and was unable to continue in the third round with his strong opponent. Young Jordan fought a much bigger, older opponent and made everyone proud, but his opponent Harvey was too strong.

Huge thanks to Sean W and Daniel C who worked as marshals at the event, and supported our team on the day. Also thank you to Justin for his conditioning programme and guidance to the fighters in the lead up to the competition.

Thank you to Paul Cale Shibucho, Geordie Lavers McBain and Tony Watts for putting on a great event, and to the Silvio Morelli and the promoters from Blitz for the opportunity for exposure to the greater martial arts community.

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Kudo Nationals in Melbourne this Sunday

Good luck to all the Sobukan participants fighting this weekend in Melbourne!


Adult 230* – Raghu Anbalagan

Masters 230 – Chris Gillies

Adult 240 – Tristan Walker

Adult 250 – Daniel Carlesso

Adult 290 – Daniel Scibilia

Thank you very much to Sean Walker who will be supporting us in Melbourne and to Justin Tronerud, who has helped the fighters with their fitness/conditioning. Thank you also to all members who have been very understanding while I have been focusing on preparing for this tournament.

* Physical Index: height in cm + weight in kg


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March news

It has been an ‘interesting’ couple of weeks. First the flood damaged carpets, TVs and document, and ever since the dojo has in a resultant state of chaos. If that wasn’t enough, last week the dojo was broken into. In order to access the dojo they damaged the back gate and the rear glass sliding door, hence us recently using the front door. They didn’t steal a great deal, but what they took was bewildering. In addition to money, they stole a wheelie bin, my large training bag full of training weapons, Kudo, karate and MMA gloves and shin pads etc. If anyone saw anything on the weekend of the 19th, please let me (and the police) know.

The Kudo competition is only a couple of weeks away! Our fighters on the day are Raghu, Tristan, Daniel S, Daniel C (hopefully) and myself. Sean will be there in a much needed support capacity. Good luck to us all! We will be travelling over on the morning of Thursday the 17th and returning for class on Monday 21st.

Sorry for any inconvenience, but there will be no Kumite class on Saturday 19th. Geoff will teach the jujutsu class – thanks Geoff!!

As you are aware, I am travelling to Japan from Easter Sunday 27th March to further my martial arts training. I will train at some of the best dojo around Japan with the goal of bringing back skills and training methods to share with you when I return for classes on June 1.

Unfortunately, this means that Sobukan will be closed for April and May. If you use automatic payments, please cancel them for April and May. If you forget, I will credit you future months. All annual memberships will be extended for two months.

If you don’t want to rest for two months, I encourage you to either pair up with other students at your homes or public places and practice together. Alternatively, you might consider taking judo lessons for two months – I would consider this to be a better investment of two months than some other arts. This will help with your confidence in breakfalls and throws, which will help you work towards your next belt, kumite and self defence. I recommend either training on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Goshin Judo Kan (our dojo), or with Adelaide University Judo Club, who have classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The date will depend on your level of preparation, but I plan to hold a grading shortly after my return, so please practice your kata and drills. I have video of many drills I can download onto a USB for you to help you remember while I am gone. Please see me before classes, as downloading can take some time – and they are quite large files.

Important dates

Date Time Event
March 18- 20 All day Kudo Nationals at Arnold Classic (Melbourne) – no kumite class Sat March 19
March 27 From I am travelling to Japan to improve my martial arts
June 1 5pm First class back!


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February news

Hi Sobuclan,

Unfortunately we have had to cancel the Gasshuku training camp due to insufficient numbers. There were a lot of members for whom this weekend was not ideal, so hopefully we can try again later in the year. Thank you very much to Sean for all his work arranging this camp.

Competitors at the Kudo Nationals in Melbourne in March have only 7 weeks until the tournament and should now be training at least once each day, abstaining from smoking/alcohol and eating nutritiously in accordance with weight control needs. Of course, attending each kata and kumite class is a given, but if possible, also attend Justin’s conditioning class on Mondays at 5pm. If you are putting your body on the line, get in the best shape possible.

Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Fitness is a fighter’s friend. Get fighting fit!

As you may be aware, I am travelling to Japan at the end of March to further my martial arts training. I will train at some of the best dojo around Japan with the goal of bringing back skills and training methods to share with you when I return for June 1.

Unfortunately, this means that Sobukan will be closed for April and May. Sobukan members are very important to me. In order to open the dojo in my absence, I would need to find someone with the martial art skills, teaching skills, child safety background, police clearances, mutual rapport and respect with our members and families, and importantly the time, drive and desire to commit to teaching all classes. Some of our senior members tick many of these boxes, but are not available to teach all classes. Rather than subject you to less than you deserve, I will ask you to be patient in my absence. All annual memberships will be extended for the two months.

Important dates

Date Time Event
March 18- 20 All day Kudo Nationals at Arnold Classic (Melbourne)
March 27 From I am travelling to Japan to improve my martial arts
May 30 To Returning to Australia to share my new knowledge

Kudo preparation weekly schedule

Please find a rough schedule below to assist competitors in preparing for the 2016 Kudo Nationals in March.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sprints Conditioning with Justin

Sobukan kata and kumite

Running Sobukan kata and kumite Weights and running Rest Sobukan

Jujutsu and kumite

In order to peak in March, this is what our training schedule will focus on:


  • Cardio
  • Combinations & counters
  • Sparring


  • Cardio
  • Your ‘game’
  • Weight control



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Kudo Nationals

The 2016 Kudo National tournament will be held at the Arnold Classic in Melbourne between 18 – 20 March.

See the Facebook event or register here now!


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