Gympie Karate Academy has enjoyed an exciting 2012.
Gympie Karate Academy has enjoyed an exciting 2012. Contributed

Gympie karate club grows both in strength and number

IT'S been an exciting year for Gympie Karate Academy and it won't be long until the new year is in full swing for the growing club.

Spokeswoman Shirralee Mackenzie-Day said with newcomers signing up in 2012, the club has enjoyed a record number of members for the year.

She said all gradings for the year were well attended with those who took part in the sessions passing their test and moving up into higher grades.

She said the past year offered a lot of learning opportunities for members; including seminars held in Gympie, Maryborough and Bundaberg.

"Our first competition was held in Pomona and as usual (was) friendly, welcoming and very well run," Mackenzie-Day said.

"Members from Gympie brought home 28 medals, some being their first competition."

She said the club missed Sensei Noel Turner during the first week of May while the black-belt travelled to Anaheim with Sensei Bulkhis Fields for the 45th Annual Tournament of Japan Karate Do-Ryobu-kai.

"Unbeknown to us Sensei Turner was taking his 7th Dan exam, which delighted us all when we heard he had passed," Mackenzie-Day said.

The Gympie club again held its own tournament in the pavilion, where it hosted over 100 members from several clubs.

"Gympie again excelled taking home many trophies, some (members) with more than one," Mackenzie-Day said.

"We had one more exciting competition in Coolum, the first to be run by Sensei Micheal Allen.

"This proved to be a great and well organised competition with 20 of our members once again bringing home an array of trophies."

Mackenzie-Day said while there were several highlights of the year, the stand out was when Sensei Yamazaki agreed to come from America to train at the academy for a week of hard but enjoyable training.

"We all learnt much from this exceptional man who has practised karate all his life."

"We are very privileged to have Sensei Yamazaki training us each year, but to have Noel Turner training us every week is our good fortune."

Success for the club kept rolling when local member Dylan Enstrom attained his first Dan black belt.

He achieved the milestone after performing exams in front of a panel of judges headed by Sensei Yamazaki.