COVID safety measure – closure

Due to the new COVID outbreak, the SA government has announced that it is prohibiting gyms/recreation for at least 2 weeks. I apologise for any inconvenience, but safety comes first. Classes will be cancelled until further notice. Please monitor SA Health and feel free to contact me for further information/updates.

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We take safety seriously.

Safety is the very purpose of Sobukan. All members, family members and instructors should be familiar with our safety policies as we re-establish Sobukan Martial Arts dojo.

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Sobukan dojo 2.0

Sobukan will be back in 2021.

Watch this space…

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Sobukan closure

Due to the instructor being posted overseas, Sobukan has closed its doors as at 28 February 2018. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience.


It is hard to believe that Sobukan classes have now ended. This dojo has been such an enormous and important part of my life, I can barely find words to express the sense of loss and sadness I feel at closing our doors.

Twenty-five years ago, I was unable to find a dojo in SA that taught street-effective Japanese martial arts covering striking, throwing and grappling in a friendly and safe manner. Consequently, I spent the next couple of decades searching for and researching the best martial arts in each fighting range. My mission was to establish a dojo for anyone who wanted to be healthier, happier and safer. The result was Sobukan, and I could not be prouder of the dojo we created together.


When I think back of the highlights, some things immediately come to mind:

  • Interstate and overseas trips
  • Competitions
  • Training days and seminars
  • Demonstrations, particularly representing Japanese martial arts at multiple Japanese and Asian festivals
  • Gradings
  • Social occasions
  • Appearing on The Project
  • Articles in various newspapers and magazines.

However, while I enjoyed all these events, they were no more important than the day to day interactions I have had with you, the Sobuclan. Training with you has been the best part of my weekly routine for many years. Although I avoid using superlatives, the main reason I believe that Sobukan was the best dojo was because of you. We have shared sweat, tears and laughs. I have loved watching the children grow into young adults, watching everyone enhance themselves.

Thank you for all the messages of support and appreciation. You have made this very difficult decision as positive as it could be.

Sobukan principles

Parting, I would like to remind you of the Sobukan principles. These were on the membership application form you all signed. I don’t claim to be a lifestyle guru, but you can’t go wrong with these:

  • Eliminate your weakness, develop strengths
  • Never use violence to gain, only to protect
  • Strive for a balanced happy, healthy, safe life
  • Learn from everyone
  • Live by your principles
  • Respect others’ choices
  • Act intelligently, not emotionally
  • Always have a goal and divide it into daily tasks
  • Always be aware and prepared
  • Focus on your abilities, not your inabilities
  • Do your best and accept the outcome.
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Sobukan’s first black belt!!

I got my first black belt at 18 years of age after about 8 years training, but I didn’t feel like a black belt. Sure, I had pretty good technique, but I knew that I had great weaknesses and plenty to learn. I didn’t have the confidence that I felt should accompany an achievement like a ‘black belt’. In fact, it took many black belts before I finally felt comfortable wearing one.

To me, a black belt should first and foremost have a good all-round knowledge of martial arts. They should have a level of familiarity with all ranges of fighting; striking, clinching and grappling. A black belt should also have strong ethics and conduct themselves as a positive member of the community. A black belt should model the behaviours I expect from all representatives of the dojo. A black belt should be able to fight, and have the discipline, self-control and sensibility to know when to, and when not to, fight. A true martial artist should only use violence to protect, never to gain. A black belt should know that they have earned the belt, and feel worthy of wearing it.

I designed the Sobukan syllabus with this in mind. A Sobukan black belt would only be awarded to an individual who met these criteria and more. A Sobukan black belt must be able to ‘hold their own’ in striking with a karate black belt, in the clinch with a judo black belt and on the ground with a BJJ blue belt. This explains the breadth of our syllabus and the time required to progress through the ranks. It has kept our standards high, and to date, no student has been awarded with a black belt. Until tonight.

DSC_1295.JPGPacey walked in our doors six years ago, and I must say he was a most ‘unremarkable’ young man. He was quiet, and to be honest, not particularly talented. If you had told me then that Pacey would be our first black belt, I would not have believed it. However, Pacey turned out to be my favourite kind of student: open-minded, hard-working and tenacious. On top of this, he is courageous, loyal, humble and self-aware.

IMG_0629I claim little credit for his development, but I am proud to say that Pacey is now a very remarkable man. He can fight! Pacey has had some amazing fights against athletes far superior in experience and skill, yet he always takes the fight to the man. He has fought an MMA champion, and Kudo and Kyokushin black belts and has made me proud every time. In fact, Pacey’s greatest opponent is often himself. Like a terrier, he can sometimes forget balance and work himself into the ground.


Pacey has won Kudo and BJJ matches. He has trained and graded in Japan. He has taught classes and helped mentor many of you. He has been a reliable lieutenant and has always helped out when needed. Pacey has also exercised great discipline in various situations and demonstrated great character. I have been blessed to have him as a student and friend.

Pacey, I am very proud and honoured to award you Sobukan’s very first black belt. You have earned it and you deserve it. Congratulations!


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Sobukan closure – 28 February 2018

It is with utmost regret that I must inform that we will hold our last classes on Wednesday February 28. I am so very proud of the dojo we have created together, and it breaks my heart to have to close the doors. Sobukan is a special place to so many people, and I am devastated to have to make this decision. I am being posted to Brazil for the next three years. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and my family, but I will miss you all very much.

The higher belts are already planning training opportunities in my absence, and there is likely to be a North and a South Sobukan study group. Over the next couple of months I will focus on videoing the rest of the syllabus as a resource. I am immensely proud of the dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm you have all demonstrated over the past 6.5 years, and I am already looking forward to returning in 2021 with new experiences, knowledge and skills to share with you.

I want to thank you all for the blood, sweat and tears we have shared (more sweat than the other two!) since 2011. I have learned a great deal from you all. I also appreciate the maturity everyone has demonstrated after learning of the closure of our dojo. I have received so many telephone calls/SMS/emails today with words of congratulations and support. I intend to answer any questions to the group rather than give the same responses to everyone separately. I will provide more information as it comes to hand.


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Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!!

Thank you for a wonderful year and the delicious gifts. Each year, we paint a character to signify a theme for the year. For 2017 I chose ‘絆’ (kizuna), which means ‘bonds’ or ‘relationships’. I tried to achieve this by recalibrating my focus a little from quantity to quality. I put less energy into seeking new students and more into existing students. I reflect on 2017 and see not only that not only has everyone become stronger, but I feel that our dojo has become more of a community with a lot of great friendships.

We did a lot together this year, including a trip to Japan, two competitions in Melbourne, and two gradings. We demonstrated at the Japanese Cultural Day, went on a camping trip, and shared lots of drinks. We even found time to do some training!

I am yet to choose my theme for 2018, but I certainly want to continue to see leaders develop. Pacey will test for his black belt, and we will see many other new belts awarded. The next grading will be in March or April, so please start preparing now.

It sounds crazy, because our last classes were on Saturday, but I have been missing everyone already. It is going to feel strange not going to the dojo tonight, but family is the most important thing and I will relish the time to spend some time with my family here and in Victoria.

See you on 8 January!

Important dates

Date Time Event
Mon Jan 8 6pm First classes of 2018
March / April   Adults and children grading
July 2018 All day Pacey black belt grading


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December news

Kudo SA now has a second member dojo, Mt Gambier Martial Arts Academy, which is a long standing Kyokushin dojo. I know it’s a long drive, but I hope we can have regular joint training sessions. Welcome to Kudo, MGMAA!

Have you achieved your goals this year? If so, congratulations!! If not, please think about why you fell short, and what you can do to achieve a different outcome next year. Do you need more realistic goals, better planning, more discipline, a rival to compete with?


Our last classes for the year will be on Saturday December 23. We will restart on Monday January 8. Hopefully we can hold our annual ‘kakizome’ calligraphy event on the first day back.

Bonenkai party

All members and their families are invited to our bonenkai (End of Year Christmas Party).
Time: 2pm Sunday December 10
Place: Brighton Beach near the jetty
Cost: none

  • Picnic
  • Drinks
  • Family
  • Smile
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Something fun?

Important dates

Date Time Event
Sun Dec 10 2pm EOY party
Sat Dec 23 10am Last classes of 2017
Mon Jan 8 6pm First classes of 2018
Early April Adults and children grading
July 2018 All day Pacey black belt grading


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November news

October was a great month for achievements, many people were graded to the next belt level, and two Sobukan athletes represented Kudo SA at the Kudo Victorian Open.

Fundraiser winner

Congratulations to the Jeffrey family for winning a two-hour private lesson. Thank you very much to the Nelson, Okada, Jeffrey, Colher, Lake and Umehara families for their generous donations that enabled us to travel to Melbourne for the Vic Open.

Grading results

Congratulations to everyone with new belts, the dojo is looking very colourful now! Each and every grade is special, but I was particularly honoured to award junior brown belts to Jyah and Dylan and a 1kyu brown belt to Tyzak.

Brown belt is a major milestone, and I am very proud of everyone who makes it this far. I will not award a brown belt to anyone that I do not feel represents the teachings of Sobukan, in and outside the dojo.

Jyah has shown enormous commitment, practicing regularly at home and usually arriving early for class to train for up to half an hour before each lesson. His personal development and discipline has improved out-of-sight recently.

Dylan is one of Sobukan’s very first students, so I have had the pleasure of watching him grow up over the past six years. Dylan’s has reinvigorated enthusiasm towards his training, and did an excellent job at his grading. An intelligent, considerate and conscientious young man, Dylan is a model student in many ways.


Competition results

Tristan, Sam, Dan and I travelled to Melbourne last week for the Victorian Kudo Open. The level of this tournament was the best I have seen in Australia so far – Kudo is growing bigger and better!! There were some very exciting fights displaying the full range of Kudo technique; strikes, throws, takedowns, and grappling.

Dan had unfortunately injured his ribs sparring (at another club) a few days before the tournament. He showed up ready to fight, but during the warm ups was barely able to move and had to withdraw. While his inability to compete was disappointing, it enabled him to coach Tristan and Sam. I was asked to officiate all of the tournament bouts, meaning I was unable to coach our fighters, but Dan quickly filled this role.

Tristan fought first, in the 240 PI division. As Kudo is still young in Australia, some of the categories are small, and there was only one other athlete in Tristan’s division. A small division doesn’t necessarily mean an easy division! In this situation competitors fight to win the best of three bouts. Tristan won the first bout convincingly by points, but his opponent Lewis was no push-over!

Sam fought next. It was never going to be an easy fight. You may have seen his opponent in videos on the Kudo Australia FB page. Benny is a professional fighter, having competed in 36 professional Muay Thai bouts. He has outstanding striking and solid takedown defence. Despite the experience gap, Sam showed real courage, facing up to his opponent without a flinch. He even landed some nice shots, but Benny was too good for Sam this time. Sam was unable to continue after absorbing some devastating blows.

Tristan then had to face Lewis again for the gold medal. Tristan must have gained confidence after the first match. He came out hard, and threw then submitted his opponent by guillotine for the gold medal.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who assisted in the organisation of the tournament. Sam and Tristan could not have done so well without the cooperation of everyone who has helped, sparred and training with them. Anyone interested in competing next time should let me know now, so that we can start preparing!

Christmas party

How does Sunday December 10 sound for an end of year/Christmas party? Any ideas on what you would like to do?

Important dates

Date Time Event
Sat Nov 25 1pm 運動会のため、空手部休部
Sun Dec 10? Noon EOY Christmas party
Sat Dec 23 10am Last classes of 2017
Mon Jan 8 6pm First classes of 2018 (TBC)
July 2018 All day Pacey black belt grading



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October news

IMG_0011Sobukan is now 6 years old, and we have been sharing our current dojo for 5 years. Time flies when you are having fun! Thank you to everyone to all Sobukan members and families, past and present. Also, huge thanks to Goshin Judo Kan for sharing their excellent facilities with us.


For the first time in 5 years, Goshin need the dojo on one of our training nights. Let’s take this opportunity to visit the beautiful Himeji Gardens on Wednesday night at 6pm for a mixed training session – children and adults. Bring some water, wear your gi and sneakers, this will be fun!

Of course, we are open on Monday, regardless of the public holiday.

We have less people registered for this grading than usual. If you are planning to grade, don’t forget to pay the $25 grading fee and email your registration by October 1.

Current grade:
Belt size:
Any parts of your grading syllabus you are unsure of:

Important dates

Date Time Event
Mon Oct 2 6 – 9pm Open as usual on public holiday
Wed Oct 4 6 – 7pm Training at Himeji Gardens (dojo closed)
Sat Oct 14 10am Senior grading (TBC)
Sun Oct 15 10am Junior grading (TBC)
Sun Oct 22 All day Kudo Competition in Melbourne
Sun Dec 10 Noon EOY party
Sat Dec 23 10am Last classes of 2017
Mon Jan 8 6pm First classes of 2018 (TBC)
July 2018 All day Pacey black belt grading


Thank you to five very generous donations, we have raised $380!! We are a little short of our target, but it certainly helps! If you can help, please make a donation via EFT to my bank account and go in the run to win a 2 hour private lesson, with a market value of approximately $150. Please ensure that you clearly identify your name and the word ‘donation’ in the transaction! I will draw a winner after the Vic Open.


Adults: 10am Sat October 14
Juniors: 10am Sun October 15

I would wish you luck, but hard work will serve you better. Your success is in your hands. Don’t forget to register!


Kudo Event

The Kudo Victorian Open will be held at Batman Royale in Melbourne on Sunday October 22. Tristan, Daniel S, and Sam are fighting.

Over the next month, improve your 3Cs: combinations, counters, and particularly conditioning! Attend all classes and run three times a week, including sprints. Come to the dojo early and work on developing winning combinations and polishing your counters to fire automatically.

Kudo photo

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