LOCAL KARATE CLUB TURNS 40
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.
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.