Kodomon History

Fujimoto Sensei & Irvine Sensei 2003

Fujimoto Sensei & Irvine Sensei 2003

Kodomon Karate-Do was founded by Sensei Glenn Irvine (5th Dan) in March 1997, as a Branch Dojo of the Australian Academy of Martial Arts under Sensei Graham Keleher (7th Dan), and the International Karate-Do Shobukai Organisation of Sensei Sadaharu Fujimoto (8th Dan).

The Dojo was first established at Capalaba in a Community Hall that was destined for demolition near the site of the current Capalaba Regional Park.

In 1998, with the demolition imminent, the Dojo was moved to a Council hall, Capalaba Place, on Noeleen Street, and training was conducted there until a long-term hall could be established.

1999 saw the Dojo relocated to the Anglican Church Hall in Alexandra Hills (Windemere Road), and the Headquarters of Kodomon Karate-Do remained there until 2008.

Irvine Sensei’s journey with the Martial Arts started in 1970 when he and his father, Henry Irvine, started Kodokan Judo at the Finnish Hall in Mt Gravatt, under Sensei Dennis Honey. The year of the foundation of the World Union of Karate-Do Federations (Now WKF), and the first World Titles held by WUKO. Irvine Sensei came from a family with a strong Judo tradition. His Grandfather, Andrew Irvine, was an early pioneer of Judo in Brisbane, and his uncle, Maurice Irvine ran a Dojo on the North-side of Brisbane (Zillmere) with several of his cousins.

At this early age, Irvine Sensei met a Japanese traveller to Brisbane, Mr Murasi, who took a look at the young 8 year old’s hands, and proudly pronounced that they were good hands for Karate. And there, a flame began to burn. Now, while his hands are actually more likely to be suited to Piano playing, the comment had intrigued the boy and the young Irvine developed a passion for the Martial Arts. This was the era of David Carradine in “Kung Fu” and Bruce Lee. In fact, Irvine Sensei was born in the Year of the Dragon, just like Bruce Lee.

Visiting Sensei from Japan 1996

Visiting Sensei from Japan 1996

In his late teens, Irvine Sensei experimented with Karate, and Tae Kwon Do, and eventually joined the Australian Academy of Martial Arts at Wishart in 1985 after 4 years in the Army, and settled into his studies of the Martial Arts in earnest. Training 5 to 6 days a week, he raced through the training curriculum to earn his Black Belt in the record time of 2 years and 2 months. Having also competed at a National Level, and on the National Silver Medal winning Queensland Kumite team as a Brown Belt.

As a young Black-belt he went on training tours of Japan in the Late 80’s and Early 90’s, and assisted with the instructing at the Wishart Dojo.

In 1996, Irvine Sensei attended the inaugural “Tactics in Karate” World Seminar conducted by the WKF at Bond University on the Gold Coast, and also started a work on an all-encompassing Curriculum supporting the current AAMA Kata Program.

After becoming the Senior Instructor at the Capalaba Dojo of the AAMA in 1997 when the current instructor, George Dodera moved interstate, Irvine Sensei completed his work on the broader-spectrum curriculum in time to present it at the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the AAMA in 1998.

Sensei Irvine & Sensei Oliva - 2000

Irvine Sensei & Oliva Sensei 2000

During the 90’s Irvine Sensei trained with some of the World’s best Karate Sensei, and to this date has trained with or attended seminars with great teachers like, Spanish National Coach, Antonio Oliva; Scottish head of the WKF Referees’ Commission, Tommy Morris; British World Champion, Sir Vic Charles; Karate Historian, Patrick McCarthy; French National Coach, Francis Didier; Australia’s First World Kumite Gold Medallist, Brian Peakall; Australian AKF Referee’s Chairman, Con Kassis; Australian Karate Pioneer, Tino Ceberano; Okinawan Kobudo Expert, Jyosei Yogi; Canadian Shitoryu teacher, Akira Sato; All-Japan Champion, Shinichi Chiba; South African Karate-ka & Author, Hoosain Narker; Shotokan teacher, Hitoshi Kasuya, and World kata champion, Luca Valdesi.

In 1997, Irvine Sensei also began a study of Yoshinkan Aikido under Sensei Michiharu Mori, to round out the Self Defence elements of his curriculum in the grappling and throws technical areas. He continued this study at a driving pace with Mori Sensei for over 5 years achieving a provisional 2nd Dan in the Art, and allowing him to introduce traditional weapon elements involving Tanto (Knife), Bokken (Sword), and Jo (Short Staff).

In the early 2000’s, Irvine Sensei started a number of excursions to Japan to build his knowledge of the Kata in the IKS System.

A highlight of this period was an interview he conducted with Fujimoto Sensei in 2003 on the history and main tenants of the IKS Style.

In 2005, Irvine Sensei celebrated his 20th Anniversary of continuous Karate training which eventually led to his decision to fully establish Kodomon Karate-Do as an organisation in it’s own right.

Higaonna Sensei & Irvine Sensei 2011

Higaonna Sensei & Irvine Sensei 2011

In early 2006, he left the AAMA and became a full member of the Australian Karate Federation and the Queensland Karate Association.

2007 saw Irvine Sensei re-enter the competitive ranks in the Veteran Divisions of Competitive Kata and winning second place in the State Titles, and ultimately a place on the Queensland Team for the 2007 Nationals, exactly 20 years after last competing for the State.

Irvine Sensei also toured Japan, and for the first time, Okinawa in late 2007. On this tour, Irvine Sensei located many traditional monuments from Karate history, and found the Itosu Monument which had been moved in the 70’s and nearly lost. He also met Yogi Sensei at the Naha City Budokan, and was introduced to the Bo Kata of Matayoshi Kobudo.

In 2008, Irvine sensei opened the larger “Kodokan” Dojo at Alexandra Hills to cater for the larger student numbers at the Club. Advanced classes were still conducted at the Anglican Church Hall until 2014. This was also the year when Irvine Sensei felt the Club was mature enough to warrant Patrons, and invited both the local Federal Member, Dr Andrew Laming, and the Japanese Consul-General of Queensland, Mr Makoto Hinei to be Co-Patrons.

He went on to compete at the 2008 State Titles, winning the Kumite and taking second again in the Kata, third place in Kata and Kumite in the Australian Open, and competing in the National Titles again.

The QKA appointed Irvine Sensei as the Coaching Director for Queensland in June of 2008, and he began reinvigorating the coaching curriculum and support activities for Queensland Karate coaches over the following years.

In 2011 members from Kodomon Karate-Do attended a series of Seminars in Okinawa (Naha) with 10 of the highest ranking Traditional Okinawan Karate Masters based there. The training included, sessions with Sensei Morio Higaonna, 10th Dan of IOGKF Goju Ryu, Sensei Minoru Higa, 10th Dan of Shōrin Ryū Kyudōkan, Sensei Zenpo Shimabukuro, 10th Dan of Shorin Ryu Seibukan, and Sensei Josei Yogi, 9th Dan of Kobudō Rensei Kai. Instructors from Kodomon included, Sensei Glenn Irvine, Sempai Steve Soars and Sempai Agnieszka Irvine, as well as the State Head Coach of Queensland at the time, Sensei James O’Connor. He has since returned to Okinawa and Kyoto (DNBK) with a group of Kodomon Instructors for a training tour in 2017.

Japan Okinawa Tour 2011 - Yogi Sensei Seminar

Japan Okinawa Tour 2011 – Yogi Sensei Seminar

From 2011 Irvine Sensei started Military Combatives training with WO2 Shane Cassidy of the Australian Army, completing Modules A through F, and went on to train with Sgt Paul (JJ) Cale of the Special Forces Training Centre’s Integrated Combat Cell in his Kinetic Fighting program, completing the inaugural program with Cale in Queensland in 2014. Kodomon hosted Cale’s seminar for Kodomon senior members, the instructors of the Queensland Karate Association, and several military veterans late in that year. He has since accredited to a full instructor (O-5) of Kinetic Fighting.

In 2014 Irvine Sensei was appointed to the State Coaching panel for Queensland for a period of 3 years, and now continues in his role as State Coaching Director.

He is currently working on three bodies of work:

  • A modern adaption of the Principles of Bushido as it applies to current day Martial Artists,
  • An approach for Coaches to tactically support athletes during Kumite Matches using coded signals, and
  • Higher Quality Update Day Activities for Karate Coaches involving National Coaching Mentors and Speakers

 

In Memoriam – Sensei Shinichi Chiba 8th Dan (1941 – 2011)


Kodomon Karate-Do is a National and State Member of the Australian Karate Federation
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