Club a fam­ily af­fair for Sul­li­vans

Cockburn Gazette - - SPORT -

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.”

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