LO­CAL KARATE CLUB TURNS 40

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

SPORT

TSKF Childers may be about to mark 40 years of karate in the area, but there isn’t any time for cel­e­bra­tions just yet.

“We’re in the mid­dle of get­ting the team ready for the Aus­tralasian ti­tles, so we’ll need to look at how we’ll recog­nise the mile­stone later,” lead in­struc­tor John Russo said.

That fo­cus on the fu­ture serves as the most telling ev­i­dence as to how the dis­ci­pline has sur­vived 40 years in the re­gional area.

That isn’t dis­re­spect to Childers, but is the re­al­ity of sport, par­tic­u­larly in re­gional ar­eas. Years of hard work can be un­done by in­ac­tiv­ity or an un­will­ing­ness for some­one to step up into or­gan­i­sa­tional or ad­min­is­tra­tive roles.

TSKF Childers doesn’t have that trou­ble at the mo­ment but it has only been through years of hard work they could make it hap­pen.

“You have to marvel at the club still go­ing 40 years later,” Russo said.

“It’s been a lot of hard work to keep it go­ing for that whole time.” Russo has been lead in­struc­tor for 32 years, and serves as chair­man for Tra­di­tional Sho­tokan Karate-do Fed­er­a­tion (TSKF) of Australia.

What Russo teaches to­day is com­pletely for­eign to that of what he taught 30 years ago, with an ide­o­log­i­cal shift from strength to dis­ci­pline as times changed.

“Back then it was like a strength mar­tial art, but now it’s been re­fined to tech­nique,” Russo said.

“I think (the big­gest changes) have been those re­fine­ments.

“There aren’t too many sports where dis­ci­pline is re­garded highly. Dis­ci­pline and re­spect are held very highly.

“Peo­ple like to teach kids those skills and we de­mand it from stu­dents.”

Karate had its lo­cal start at Ap­ple Tree Creek in 1975, be­fore mov­ing to the Ma­sonic Hall about 1977.

Num­bers dwin­dled over time but the sport was restarted in its cur­rent form in 1982.

From there par­tic­i­pa­tion has blos­somed, with the past three years reach­ing an “ex­cep­tional” level of 50-60 mem­bers.

“I think it’s the chil­dren’s pro­grams that is bring­ing peo­ple in,” Russo said.

“We’ve had great re­sults in the devel­op­ment of chil­dren, and not just in sport.”

In terms of the com­ing Aus­tralasian ti­tles, Russo said he had high hopes that sev­eral lo­cal mem­bers will fin­ish highly.

PHO­TOS: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

MILE­STONE: TSKF Childers this year will cel­e­brate 40 years of karate in the area.

SUC­CESS: In­struc­tor John Russo says chil­dren’s pro­grams are bring­ing peo­ple to karate.

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