Author Archives: Martin

May 2018 Newsletter

The latest newsletter (May 2018 edition) is now available for download.  Hard copies are available from the dojo or on the dojo noticeboard, or you can view it online – May 2018 Newsletter (PDF 2.2MB).

Latest News:

  • SCK is in the running to win a share of $6000 in Telstra’s Connected Community Program
  • Upcoming Events (May – June 2018, plus all 2018 gradings, tournaments & camps)

SCK Students:

  • New Sports Awards For Little Champions & Karate Kids
  • “Confidence” Colouring Competition Winner… Na’Ila Khan
  • Attendance Recognition – Top Training Students in March & April
  • Committed to Excellence Awards
  • New Students
  • Student Birthday’s
  • Quotes of the Month
  • Website Upgrade
  • April Grading Results
  •  Japanese with Rika Sensei
  • Term 2 Sweat & Stretch Class

Download the newsletter now:  May 2018 Newsletter (PDF 2.2MB).

Can you help us win first prize of $5000?

Sunshine Coast Karate is one of 3 community groups in the running to win a share of $6000 in prizes.  The more votes we get the more chances we have of winning the main prize.  You can vote more than once, but limited to one vote per person per day.  Voting open Monday 7 May and ends on Sunday 3 June.

Vote instore at any of the following Telstra Stores:

  • Telstra Store Maroochydore, Opposite Coles – Shop123 / Sunshine Plaza, Horton Parade, Maroochydore, Q, 4558
  • Telstra Store Sunshine Plaza, Near Kmart – Shop 243 / Sunshine Plaza, Horton Parade, Maroochydore, Q, 4558
  • Telstra Store Noosa, Shop T1003/4 Noosa Civic Centre, 28 Eenie Creek Rd, Noosaville QLD 4566


A Time For Family & Fun – Easter Picnic & Family Training Day

This year’s Easter family picnic and training day was a great day.  After several weeks of rain, the weather was mostly fine and the rain held off.  It’s always great to see the dojo community come together for these special social events.  These events are organised by our local association as an opportunity for our members to come together outside of the dojo and enjoy the Sunshine Coast.

As the dojo membership has grown to over 200 members and training is spread across nearly 30 classes per week, a lot of our members just don’t get to even meet each other, let alone train together.  So, days like this are really important for us to celebrate the diversity of our members and it’s a great chance for us to get to spend some time with other family members and parents who may not get into the dojo themselves (yet).

The day started off with training in the park, with our young brown & black belts leading the groups for the first half of training:  Bailey, Sami, Savannah & Anthony.  Although Bailey the oldest amongst our young leaders is the only one who’s even a teenager yet.  They’re all talented martial artists who been training training for 5+ years.  Even more than showing a commitment to their own training, they continue to prove that they’re all great leaders and role models in the dojo, so it was great to see them leading the way during this special training session.

Normally in the dojo we split the classes by age in order to properly cater to everyone’s needs, but on these special training days it’s great to have everyone jump in together and share a common passion for karate.

After training it was time for a FREE sausage sizzle put on by the committee.  A special thank you in particular to Leanne & Gerard Baarslag who helped organise everything on this front.

After a bite to eat, it was time for the games:  tug-o-war, sack races, egg and spoon races, bobbing for apples and the famous egg catch game.

For us, karate is so much more than just kicking and punching, it’s a way of life.  And it’s wonderful to be able to share it like our dojo community on days like this.  There are a few opportunities throughout the year, the big ones being the Easter Family Day & the Christmas Family Day.  So if you didn’t make it this time, there will be more opportunities.  But until then, we’ll see you in the dojo.

March 2018 Newsletter

The latest newsletter (March 2018 edition) is now available for download.  Hard copies are available from the dojo or on the dojo noticeboard, or you can view it online – March 2018 Newsletter (PDF 4.3MB).

Latest News:

  • SCK is expanding
  • Easter Family Picnic & Training Day – Sunday, 25th March
  • Upcoming Events (Mar – April 2018, plus all 2018 gradings, tournaments & camps)

SCK Students:

  • Committed To Black Belt
  • Sign On Day Success
  • Attendance Recognition
    • Little Champions – Timothy Probert (17 lessons)
    • Karate Kids – William Baarslag (19 lessons)
    • Teens/Adult: Justin Otto (21 lessons)
  • Welcome New Students
  • Student Birthday’s
  • Quotes of the Month
  • Committed To Excellence
    • Tayah Thompson (Certificate – 2 years training at SCK)
    • Miguel & Faith Hardy (Bronze Medal – 3 years training at SCK) 
    • Matai Doughty (Silver Medal – 5 years training at SCK) 
    • Sami Phillips (Gold Medal – 7 years training at SCK)
  • – Website upgrade
  • Sunshine Coast Tournament – 18th March
  • Bodies By Design

Download the newsletter now:  March 2018 Newsletter (PDF 4.3MB).

March Colouring Competition – Colour & Win

Enter the March 2018 colouring competition.

This competition is open to all kids of the Sunshine Coast aged 4-13 years.  Even if you aren’t a member of Sunshine Coast Karate we look forward to meeting you when you drop in to return your artwork. GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!

Winner(s) will receive a $30 gift voucher that can be redeemed at one of the following stores:

  • Smiggle
  • Event Cinemas
  • Toys R Us
  • Sunshine Coast Karate – Club shop

Here’s how you enter:

  1. Download the entry
  2. Do your best colouring
  3. Return by to Sunshine Coast Karate Saturday 17th March 2018 for your chance to WIN

The winning entry from last months competition came from Na’Ila.

4 Days To Go… Improve Your Overall Health & Well Being at SCK

With only 4 days to go until our 2018 Sign on Day, we would like to share with you a few life changing skills that can help you take control of your life.

A few years back we had a member who was a school teacher and he turned up in the dojo for one of our day-time classes.  We knew he wasn’t on holidays, because it was the middle of the school term, so we had to ask…

“What are you doing here at the dojo in the middle of the day?  Aren’t you supposed to be at school?”

He smiled and replied simply,

“I’m taking a mental health day!”

At the time, we didn’t think much more of it, but looking back we can really see wisdom in his approach.  In fact, we’ve come to realise that we have a lot of members who use karate as part of their strategy for managing their mental health.

Whether it’s:  stress, depression, anxiety, or social isolation.  Karate is a great way to help keep you balanced and connected.  Of course the exercise element of the training gives you a natural high through the release of endorphins, you get to do something just for yourself and you get to be a part of a positive, uplifting community of people who are serious about growing themselves.  When it comes to managing your mental health, training at Sunshine Coast Karate really does tick a lot of the boxes.

Getting started can be quite tricky for some people.  New students often feel quite self-conscious and they’re worried that they’re going to make a fool of themselves.  Thankfully the reality is quite different.  Nearly everyone is so focussed on what they’re doing themselves, that they don’t really get to see what anyone else is doing.  It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.

Recently, one of our karate mums has just started training with her son in the kids class as a way to connect more with her son and also increase her own training.  Before she joined the class, her son said it was “OK, as long as you don’t embarrass me”.

Part way through the class, mum tripped and fell.  She was feeling a little embarrassed and thought she’d made a fool of herself, until she asked her son at the end of the class, “did you see me fall over?”

And the answer… “No.”

We see this kind of thing happen all the time, students just get so caught up in what they’re doing they really don’t see much of anyone else in the class.  Of course there are exceptions, because students are encouraged to train with partners and small groups at times.  But even then, most people are still heavily focussed on themselves.

And if you’re ever feeling stressed out, sometimes simple advice is often the best.

Here’s something we say to students, quite a lot, “Just breathe”.  At least that’s the first step in regaining control of the emotions and releasing stress from the body.  By slowing down the breathing and deliberately working on your mind body connection you can allow yourself to get in the moment, but it all starts with taking time to breathe.

When we see someone getting anxious or stressed out, or when we see unnecessary physical tension, this is always the place to start.  Of course, there’s a bit more to it than just breathing.  Over time you learn how to breathe correctly, and in doing so, not only do you learn how to manage your stress levels, but you also take greater control of your emotional state.

In the dojo you will also learn how to develop good posture by lifting your eyes up, opening your chest and standing tall, while at the same time staying centred and in control of yourself.  Posture is a powerful thing.

But even when when do everything else right, we can still be our own worst enemies by choosing to focus on thoughts and self talk that just breaks us down.  Again in the dojo, you will learn to change the inner dialogue and become your own cheer squad.

Every time you train in the dojo you are learning all the skills necessary to put yourself in a peak mental and emotional state.   When you take any one of these elements you can quickly make a change.  With a little practice, this can completely transform your life.

Here’s a great TED talk covers many of these same topics.  When I first saw this video a few years ago, I thought to myself, “this is exactly what we do in the dojo all the time”.

Of course, we’d love to see you at the sign on day this Saturday.

And we could say, Don’t stress out, Don’t worry, Don’t be shy.

We know, if you are going through some challenges right now, it’s not always easy to do what you know you need to and make the necessary changes or try something different.

But…. if any of this sounds familiar or it sounds like you could do with a bit of this in your life.  Even if sounds scary or confronting.  We really hope you can dig deep and take a positive step forward.

We believe in YOU.

Hopefully we’ll see you at the sign on day this Saturday.

5 Days To Go… Girls, Girls, Girls

Today we want to talk about the girls in the dojo.  Before we get too far into this blog post, I want to be upfront that I’m writing this post from a males perspective, based on 34 years of involvement in Chito-Ryu.

For a long time, most martial arts have been very male dominated.  It’s usually men that hold the highest ranking positions, men who make most of the decisions and men who set the culture for most dojos and martial arts organisations.

If you’re a woman or a girl, what I’ve said so far will probably make you want to run in the opposite direction, but hold on for just a minute, we’ve got some really good news for you.

The times are changing and Sunshine Coast Karate is leading the way.

My wife, Sandra & I co-founded the dojo and share many of the roles.  As a result I think our dojo culture is very inclusive and encourages girls and women of all ages to feel comfortable.

Although Sandra looks to me as her senior in the dojo (because I started training before her), we’re actually both the same rank, 5th Dan (5th degree black belt) & Shihan (master instructor).  Currently, Sandra is the 2nd highest ranked female worldwide in Chito-Ryu.  She’s a world champion and an exceptional martial artist.  And when I say that, I don’t mean she’s an exceptional martial artist for a woman.  She holds that status in anyone’s company, male or female.

Women’s Black Belt, Chito-Ryu, Kumite, World Champion – Sensei Sandra Phillips

As a result of Sandra’s strong influence, a large proportion of our dojo membership is female.  And this extends all the way through to the highest ranks.  In fact our most senior student who is also an assistant instructor at Sunshine Coast Karate is also female.

Sensei Helen

Sensei Helen O’Grady

With these strong female role models in the dojo, it’s not surprising that we have so many women and girls training.  It’s not uncommon for some classes to have almost no men/boys in them.

And it’s not just young girls joining in either, we have teenagers, young women and mums too.  Our oldest black belt, Debbie, didn’t even get started training until just before her 50th Birthday after watching her children training with us from the sidelines for a few years.

Last year, we were very privileged to have Minowa Sensei visit our dojo too.  Minowa Sensei is the most senior female in Chito-Ryu worldwide.  So it was a great opportunity for some of the women of our dojo to get inspired.

Minowa Sensei, with some of the SCK Ladies, November 2017. 

With the sign up day just 5 days away, I’d like to put the call out to the girls of the Sunshine Coast.  Karate is just as much for you as it is for men.  So, come along and have a go. You never know, you may just find karate to be a whole lot of fun.


February 2018 Newsletter

The latest newsletter (February 2018 edition) is now available for download.  Hard copies are available from the dojo or on the dojo noticeboard, or you can view it online – February 2018 Newsletter (PDF 3.2MB).

Latest News:

  • Record Class Sizes!!
  • Back to School Reminder
  • Sign on Day
  • Upcoming Events (Feb – Mar 2018, plus all 2018 gradings, tournaments & camps)

SCK Students:

  • Squad now Forming
  • Class Booking Reminder
  • Young Leaders Making A Difference
  • Welcome Back Sensei Helen
  • Attendance Recognition
    • Little Champions – Na’ila Khan & Maria Kahn (12 lessons)
    • Karate Kids – Sam Phillips (31 lessons)
    • Teens/Adult: Bailey Keefe (45 lessons)
  • Welcome New Students
  • Student Birthday’s
  • Quotes of the Month
  • Committed To Excellence
    • 5 Years Training – Lachlan Edwards
  • Little Champions Success
  • Beach Training Fun

Download the newsletter now: February 2018 Newsletter (PDF 3.2MB).


8 Days To Go…. Let’s Get Competitive!

Although most people never start karate wanting to get into competition, tournaments can certainly be a lot of fun and a great way to put your skills to the test and develop mental and emotional strength under pressure. With just 8 days to go until our sign on day, we want to share a little bit about the tournament experience.

At Sunshine Coast Karate, we have been privileged to help students perform competitively at state, national and international levels.  The competitions that we participate in follow the ideals that O Sensei pursued with his strong fighting spirit.  Although he often put his own skills to the test in kakedameshi (field combat) and he had the scars to prove it, as a teacher he realised that it wasn’t realistic to expect all of his students to do this and in turn became an advocate for bogu kumite (fighting with protective equipment).

In practicing and competing kumite in this way, we develop a greater sense of commitment because you have to make contact, but we do it in a safe way.  Let’s face it, in the modern world, most of us need to get up and go to school or work the next day, and if you fight like O Sensei did without all of the protective equipment, there are going to be a lot of injuries.

Every week during the tournament season we run tournament squad training for those who are keen on pursuing a tournament career.  Right now, we’re preparing for our first tournament of the year which is to be held on the Sunshine Coast, Sunday, 18th March.  Spectators are welcome to come and watch the action, and for members, entry form is out now:  Sunshine Coast Tournament entry form (Sun, 18 March 2018).

As I mentioned earlier, we don’t just participate in local tournaments, last year we took a team of members from the Sunshine Coast to compete at the Soke Cup, International Chito-Ryu Karate Championships. Although it was a relatively small team, of just 11 competitors, we came away with some great results, including:  6 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals and 2 overall tournament champions in their respective divisions.  For full details read the original blog post.

And here are a few video clips of our Sunshine Coast representatives from the 2017 International Chito-Ryu Soke Cup for you to enjoy too.

Sami Phillips (aged 12 yrs), competing for the first time internationally.  A video of her individual kata performance.  No placing this time, but still a great performance.

Sensei Martin Phillips, overall tournament champion in the men’s black belt division.  Final round kata performance, winning the gold medal.

Sensei Sandra Phillips.  Ladies Black Belt, Kumite Champion.  This is her final round match, going through the entire tournament without any points being scored on her by any other opponent in either individual or team kumite.

Jack Graham, overall tournament champion in the Jr A (19-20 yrs), black belt division.  This was Jack’s 2nd Soke Cup.

Of course as a new student, tournaments are probably the very last thing on your mind, but it’s definitely worth knowing that there are plenty of opportunities to go down this path if it becomes your passion.

We are getting very excited now as we are just over one week away from our 2018 Sign on Day.  Stay up to date as we continue our Sign on Day Countdown via our SCK Facebook Page.

We look forward to meeting you and your family soon.



9 Days To Go…. Talk About Lucky!

With 9 days to go until the Sunshine Coast Karate Sign On Day, today we wanted to take a little bit of time to show some gratitude for our teachers and those who have come before us to pave the way for us and future generations.  Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today and sharing Chito-Ryu Karate-Do with the Sunshine Coast.

Back when we first started learning karate, it seemed like there was a new Bruce Lee movie coming out every second week and that was one of the big things that got so many people started on their journey in the martial arts.  But it didn’t stop there, over the years there have been so many pop culture icons who have flown the flag for the martial arts industry.  Here are a few that I’m sure you’ve heard of…

  • Jackie Chan
  • The Karate Kid Movies with Mr Miyagi and Daniel-San
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Power Rangers
  • And of course there are countless other Hollywood movies who have featured some amazing martial arts fight scenes.

1980’s martial arts icons: Mr Miyagi & Bruce Lee. Alongside our very own karate master, Sandra Phillips Sensei.

Although the movie industry has been responsible for getting so many people into the martial arts, the reality of martial arts is very different to what’s shown in the majority of movies.  And with the martial arts industry being so unregulated, even to this day, just about anyone can open up a dojo.  We could have walked into any old dojo and started, but we’re really grateful that we stumbled across Chito-Ryu.

As a side note, about the unregulated nature of the martial arts industry, we’d like to share something from Noonan Sensei, one of our teachers – Warning – We’re not all the same.  Noonan Sensei is currently the most senior ranked Chito-Ryu teacher in Australia and one of the most senior outside of Japan.  He visited our dojo last year to share his incredible knowledge with senior students from throughout Queensland.

The thing we like most about Chito-Ryu is that it’s so deep.  We’ve been studying Chito-Ryu for a combined 60+ years (34 years & 28 years), yet in the presence of the people that we’re proud to call our teachers, we still feel like white belts.  We’re not saying that we’re hopeless, but we do realise that there is still so much more to learn.

Our original teacher of Chito-Ryu, Brian Hayes Sensei is no longer studying Chito-Ryu, but we are very grateful for the foundation that his teachings have provided.  The thing that we’re most grateful for though is that he introduced us to our current teacher, Soke Chitose, the worldwide head of the International Chito-Ryu Karate-Do Federation (ICKF).

Martin Phillips Sensei & Soke Sensei

Soke Sensei continues a long lineage passed onto him by his father, renowned Okinawan ‘Kake-Dameshi’ (Challenge Match) fighter, Dr Tsuyoshi Chitose (Snr), known to students of Chito-Ryu as O Sensei.  O Sensei became the Sixth Master of Tode, in a successive lineage that began with: the First Generation Beechin Chinen, who along with the Second Generation Beechin Matsumura, was a member of King Shokei’s Royal Guard, the Third Generation Uekata Awane was a member of King Shoiku’s Royal Guard, Fourth Generation was Beechin Hokama, and the Fifth Generation was Chitose’s teacher Sesho Aragaki. He was also under the tutelage of such luminaries as: Chotoku Kyan, and Kanryo Higaona.

O Sensei

We never had the pleasure of meeting or training with O Sensei.  We didn’t even start studying Chito-Ryu until after he had passed away, but throughout the years we have had the pleasure of training with a lot of his senior students who are now the current day masters of Chito-Ryu.

Every year, we make a point of going to Japan and other countries around the world to continue our studies of Chito-Ryu.  We have very close ties with Soke Sensei and his dojo in Kumamoto, Japan and he has introduced us to a lot of other senior Chito-Ryu instructors.

We have also been bringing world leading instructors here to the Sunshine Coast every year since around 2004.  Just last year we had a the pleasure of hosting Soke Sensei, Higuchi Sensei & Minowa Sensei (Soke Sensei’s sister).

Higuchi Sensei, Soke Sensei, Sandra Sensei & Martin Sensei

Noonan Sensei from Sydney got some great video footage of Soke Sensei and Higuchi Sensei’s visit to his dojo after they were on the Sunshine Coast last year.  This gives a great indication of the kind of training that we do at the higher levels.

Chito-Ryu Karate is a rich style, with incredible depth in the senior ranks and we are very fortunate to learn from them and in turn share with the Sunshine Coast community.

Although, our teachers won’t be physically present at the upcoming Sign on Day, you can have comfort in knowing that you will still benefit greatly from their teachings.


10 Days To Go… Karate Is Not Just For Kids

One of the best things about our job, is that we get to learn from and be inspired by people of all ages and from all walks of life.  The dojo is an incredible learning environment in which everyone can unite, work in a harmonious manner and embark on a journey which leads to a more abundant and prosperous way of living as individuals and as a community.

Today we are 10 Days away from our “2018 Sign on Day” and we are absolutely loving this countdown, as it is giving us so many opportunities to celebrate the amazing people that we get to work with everyday.

Yesterday, we introduced you to one of our young karate kids, Lachlan.  Today, we are going to introduce you to a few of our adults, see what they are up to in the dojo and what they have to say about SCK.

For those who have been following us on Facebook from sometime now, may have noticed that there are possibly more photos of kids then there are of adults.   Don’t let this scare you away.  There is an increasing number of adults joining our programs at SCK.  SCK provides early morning classes, day classes and evening classes so that you can keep a balanced lifestyle of everything that is important to you.

Parents are welcome to come along and train with their kids at SCK.  One of the best things you could ever do is to jump in line and train with your kids.  “Leading by example” is one of the most powerful means to inspire and influence your children.   You’ll no longer need to “use words” to tell your kids what they “should” be doing.  With you leading the way and demonstrating good habits in practice, you can’t help but have a positive impact on your children and all people you connect with throughout your day.

I’m sure there is someone reading this that may classify themselves as being “too old” to do martial arts.  Well, have we got news for you.  We have an over 50’s class that we run through U3A and we have students training in our regular classes who are over 50.  Age is no barrier.  We may all be built a little differently and have a few battle wounds and limitations, but one of the benefits of Chito-Ryu Karate-Do is it’s flexibility to cater to the needs of individuals.  There is no one size fits all, we must all respect our beginnings and carefully train in a way that promotes the steady improvement in all areas of our life.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” ~ C.S Lewis

The adults featured in the video below have all had a tremendous impact on us personally and the SCK community as a whole.  It is because of them and all our members, that SCK is the place that it is today.  And, we thank them for their willingness to be featured in this countdown as a means to welcome more adults to SCK.


“Believe me, this is an excellent Karate school. Those sensei are brilliant not only in Karate skills but as a people. If you want to learn Karate in a fair, feel safe, fun environment, this is the one for you. (I have started to learn at the age of 50 ++ and still loving it)  Cheers” 
~ Rika Tsuchida