‘Karate is a very frustrating path’: Nishimura Shihan visits Bermagui

Experienced and high-ranking karate instructors from around Australia and Japan recently visited Bermagui for a training weekend. 

From Friday to Sunday, members of the Japan Karate Association Australia (JKAA) practiced with members of the town’s dojo along with Nishimura Shihan, 7th Dan. 

There is no stopping Nishimura when it comes to martial arts; he has been practicing karate for 60 years and is the international director of the Japan Karate Association Asia Oceanic region.

He even recalls a time three decades ago when he was performing karate katas in hospital while recovering from an operation. 

“[Karate] is a bit like self-torture,” he laughed. 

“I like going through the hardships, I reach the maximum every time then I try 10 times more.

“When I’ve done 10 times then I try another five times more. I think that has become my nature.” 

Nishimura, who is based in Melbourne, said one major lesson karate has taught him is persistence.

“Karate is a very frustrating path, you will never perfect it,” he said. 

“But we strive for perfection which you can never achieve, therefore you have to keep trying and trying.”

He said the most important piece of advice he could give to those learning karate was simply that they had to enjoy it, otherwise they would not continue it. 

“To find enjoyment you need some purpose to start karate,” Nishimura said.

“It could be anything; I want to be healthy, I want to be stronger, I want to learn self defence. Many of us simply enjoy sweating, and that is a good reason too. 

“Everyone has a different reason to start karate, but when you start it is very much affected by who you have as your instructor.”

The weekend’s event has been running annually for 30 years and this year attracted karate practitioners from as far away as Queensland, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as Azumi Hasei, branch Shihan of JKA Chigasaki in Japan. 

“It gives our students an opportunity to train with more instructors,” instructor at Bermagui JKA Dojo Chris McKechnie said. 

“Families can find it difficult to get away from Bermagui because it can be expensive.” 

Technical director of NSW JKAA Gerald Boyle said as “violence and assaults” were on the increase the ability to defend yourself provided by learning karate was very important, to which technical director of WA JKAA Ian Cook agreed. 

“It gives you the confidence of freedom, freedom to go where you want without being scared,” Mr Cook said.

Greg Symons, technical director of Queensland JKAA, said karate provided an equal learning environment. 

“Everyone is equal in the dojo, not matter what job you have in society,” he said. 

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