By Ron Lane
At the recently contested 14th World Shotokan Karate Federation World Championships, held in Tokyo, the Australian team gave their best ever performance. To say that the results were unbelievable would have to be the sporting understatement of the year. Despite representing their country in a sport that gets little or no recognition, these results should not go unrecognised, for as stated they were Australians competing in a tournament in which a total of forty nations were represented.
As expected, Japan topped the medal count with 38 medals, 18 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze and then to everyone’s surprise Australia finished second. Their total was 21 medals, 10 gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze; these covered all aspects of competition kata (techniques performed in sequence) and kumite (sparring). For a team of 22 competitors (QLD, WA, VIC), these are indeed good results. Of those 15 were from Noosa.
Two factors make these results very pleasing; one being of particular interest to sport lovers in the Noosa community. The first was that four years ago at the World Titles Australia won no medals. Two years later they collected just a few but this year it has been, “The Incredible 22”. An outstanding performance.
Of the 10-gold won by the Aussie team, 9 were won by members of the Sunshine Coast Martial Arts Shotokan Karate and Fitness Institute Gibson Rd, Noosa. Under Head Sensei (Chief Instructor) Bryan Dukas 6th Dan, the results of this club are something in which our community should take pride.
In the medal tally, 3 gold were won in team events; 2 Kata, 1 Kumite. Then individual events saw Zoe Samazan age 10, win 2 gold, kata and kumite and her sister Leala age 12 took gold in her age group kata, and in cadet Women’s kata Keely Menere (Australian Team Captain) won gold. In the veterans men and womens division Robert Gibson kumite and Nicole Thornton karta, won silver.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the tournament for Bryan and his instructors, were the remarks made by World Chief Instructor Hitoshi Kasuya 9th Dan. He complemented the club, not only on the overall high standard of competition, but above all, “the politeness, good manners and respect shown by team members towards officials, coaches and contestants.’’
“To us this remark has definitely been perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the entire tournament. Personal conduct away from the competition mat is to us of the utmost importance,” Dukas said.
Prior to the championship’s members spent a week training at three different dojos, training under a different instructor at each one. Also, a three-day International Seminar was held and during this time two team members Robert Gibson and Josh Thornton were graded to the rank of 2nd Dan; also, during the seminar Sense Dukas received the honor of being invited to take one class as an instructor.
In competition, at age 42, Dukas was successful in winning a gold medal, (veterans’ kata,) and two bronze (kumite and men’s open kata.) “For Australia it has been a great tournament for it has shown massive improvement (in the sport) throughout the country,” Dukas said. “Well done to all instructors.”
As a result of his teaching, (and performance in competition) Dukas has received invitations to visit China, Mexico and Nigeria and conduct seminars. Welcome home and well done to all, instructors’ competitors and parents.