GIPPSLAND martial artists put the Shin Bu Kai discipline in the spotlight at the National All Styles Victorian Championships earlier this month with 10 fighters qualifying for the national championship.
Morwell and Newborough dojo sempais Jason Hunter and Christian Hughes led by example at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre by winning one individual event each, and squared off against one another in the veterans black belt continuous sparring final.
The all Shin Bu Kai final between the step-brothers was won by Hunter, while Hughes took out the veterans black belt point sparring.
Following the example of their teachers, eight Shin Bu Kai students fought their way to minor placings to qualify for the national titles to be held on 1 and 2 December, in what was the young club’s first appearance at the championships.
As an invitation-only tournament, competitors had to qualify via preliminary events throughout the year.
Hughes said the results were outstanding given the Newborough branch has been active for a mere three years, and Morwell just eight months.
“Not that I underrate the students but because it was such a competitive event I didn’t expect them to perform as well as they did so we were rapt,” Hughes said.
“They were ecstatic, all of them.”
Second dan black belt Hunter said while he was pleased with his own performance, it was the efforts of the juniors that brought him the most pride.
“Nothing pleases me more than seeing kids do well, that’s why I do karate,” he said.
“I have my own personal fitness and passion for karate but my real passion is seeing kids do well.”
The all styles competition featured more than 250 competitors employing 35 different disciplines, and adapting to the opposition was one of the key challenges for the 25-strong Shin Bu Kai team, according to Hughes.
“The interesting thing about it is that there is so many different karate styles involved; we fight guys from kung fu and all sorts of other styles that are completely different fighting arts,” he said.
“You’ve only got a minute and a half to figure out how they fight and how you’re going to fight and hopefully have a win at the end of it.
“As far as karate tournaments go it’s one of the best around just because of that reason; it’s not just a tae kwon do or karate tournament, it’s all different styles.”
With about three decades of martial arts experience each, Hughes and Hunter decided to band together to form the backbone of Shin Bu Kai, a traditional Japanese style of karate, in Gippsland after Hughes’ return from New South Wales and Hunter’s switch back from another discipline.
With about 20 students at each of their dojos, and a further 10 at their Mirboo North branch, the duo are looking to expand in the future, possibly with another location in Churchill.
Shin Bu Kai Karate has dojos in Morwell, Newborough and Mirboo North; for training days and times phone Christian Hughes on 0402 352 286 or Jason Hunter on 0429 918 191.
National All Styles Victorian Championships results
Christian Hughes: First in veterans black belt points sparring; second in veterans black belt continuous sparring; Jason Hunter: First in veterans black belt continuous sparring; third in veterans black belt points sparring; Brendan Langenakker: Second in male 15-17 years advanced points sparring; Dean McAlister: Third in male novice points sparring; third in male novice kata; Sarah Prestige: Second in female 14-15 years novice points sparring; third in female novice 14-15 years kata; Alex Lloyd: Second in female continuous sparring 15-17 years open; Merve Serbest: Third in female novice points sparring 15-17 years; Luke Tree: Third in male 12-13 years kata; Morgan Dalgliesh: Second in male novice points sparring 12-13 years; Jarrod Gibson: Second in male novice points sparring 10-11 years.