Club a family affair for Sullivans
WHEN Brian Sullivan first pulled on his karate gi nearly two decades ago, he never imagined that he would one day operate a flourishing club.
The father of three did not want to take up the sport at all.
“My son Michael wanted to start when he was about four or five and pestered me about it for a good year before I caved,” Mr Sullivan said.
“He hammered me about it constantly, but I couldn’t see the point in getting dressed up in what I thought at the time were pyjama pants.
“I put it off as long as I could, but I also wanted to do something with him, so eventually relented.”
While son Michael, and daughters Rebecca and Hannah, took to the sport immedi- ately, for Mr Sullivan it was more of a slow burn.
“I found initially that it certainly helped with my flexibility and general health and wellbeing, but what kept me going was that it was an activity I could do with my children,” he said.
“Then at some point along the track I decided even if they weren’t doing it, I still would.”
Sullivan began teaching after obtaining his black belt 15 years ago and in 2009 opened his own club, West Coast Karate, in Bateman.
Eldest daughter Rebecca and Michael, both State and national champions in the sport, act as the main instructors, while youngest daughter Hannah is also a dedicated practitioner.
A member of the Australian Karate Federation, for the last three years West Coast Karate has run one of the three main tournaments in WA; and the only one south of the river.
With more than 50 regular members at its Bateman gym, the club has just opened a second location in Willetton, where it hopes to cater for up to 100 additional students.
“We’ve actually been at capacity in Bateman for two or three years already, so have been considering opening a second club for some time,” Mr Sullivan said.
“The Willetton gym is in a permanent facility that we don’t share with anybody and is fitted out purely for karate, so we’re pretty excited to get started.”