Latest News

2013 A Busy Year So Far

In July 2023 I attended the International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-do Federation (IOGKF) training camp in Naha, Okinawa. It was the first face to face event for us in Okinawa since the COVID epidemic. It was just for country Chief Instructors and senior grades and there where representatives from over 50 countries in attendence.

The event was presided over by:

IOGKF World Chief Instructor (Shuseki Shihan), Tetsuji Nakamura
IOGKF World Vice-chief Instructor (Fuku Shuseki Shihan) Ernie Molyneu and Henrik Larsen along with Sensei Jorge Monteiro and Sensei Katsuya Yamashiro

It was great training and catching up with old friends.

While there I was invited to sit my 7th degree black belt along with Sensei Rajesh Ravji also from New Zealand. Also graded from New Zealand was Phil Dovaston and John Healy, both who graded to 6th degree black belt.

Sensei Rajesh, Sensei Phil, Sensei John and myself make up the kambukai (technical committee) for the International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-do Federation New Zealand (IOGKFNZ)

IOGKFNZ have had the IOGKF World Chief Instructor, Sensei Nakamura, in Wellington for a training weekend in March which saw members from all over New Zealand and Australia attend.

In September we had Sensei Torben Svendsen, 7th degree black belt from IOGKF Denmark hold a training weekend in Wellington. Once again well supported by IOGKFNZ members from around New Zealand

What a Year it Has Been

The second part of 2019 was very busy with trips to Okinawa for the 40th anniversary of the founding of the International Okinawa Gojuryu Karatedo Federation (IOGKF). Two trips to Canberra, one to attend the annual Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame and one to train with Sensei Terauchi at the Australian Okinawan Goju Ryu Karatedo Federation (AOGKF) National Gasshuku and 7th annual AOGKF tournament.

The training in Okinawa was from 29 July to the 4 August 2019 and due to the large number who attended the training was held in two separate venues. The event finished with the World Masters Demonstration where top karate masters from around the world put on an excellent event.

Click on this link for photos and a report on the event by  Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura, Chief Instructor of IOGKF.

Little did we know that in 2020 that we would not be training face to face due to COVID 19 but catching up on ZOOM.

Keep well and safe

Kind regards


Busy 2018 and Good start to 2019

2018 was a busy year.

I went to Tasmania (my first time there) to attend the Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame (AMAHOF) dinner and to be presented with my AMAHOF black belt.

A great and humbling experience being recognised by your peers.

Then in October I traveled to Naha, Okinawa, for the International Okinawa Goju Ryu Karatedo Chief Instructors training camp.

My training Partner

It was, as always, a great experience training with fellow karateka under the watchful eye of Higaonna Sensei.

Unfortunately when I returned to New Zealand I became ill. I had picked up a virus.  I am not sure if it was before my trip to Okinawa, while there or when I got back. I was on antibiotics for 3 months and able to do very little training.

Sadly while I was sick I had to say farewell to a friend, Lee Kwok, who passed away. I met Lee through karate when he was a brown belt.  Unfortunately he broke his neck in a car accident in 1977. His break was very high so he was unable to continue his martial art journey.

Lee was an inspiration as he never seemed to be down. His motto was “Enjoy the Small Things”.

2019 has started well with being able to get back into the gym, playing table tennis and back teaching at the dojo three times a week.

The club is looking strong and a few of us are going to Okinawa at the end of July to attend the 2019 World Gishiki & IOGKF 40th Anniversary celebrations.

The event will be headed by Master Morio Higaonna – IOGKF Supreme Master and Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura – IOGKF World Chief Instructor.

It is anticipated that there could be over two thousand participants with accommodation already getting hard to find.

We are continuing to hold our Women’s Self Defence on the last Wednesday of the month and I have been approached to hold some more wheelchair self-defence classes.

Here’s to a good 2019

Regards and best wishes John

Wow where has the last 18 months gone?

What a busy year 2017 was!

In August I had the honour of being inducted into the Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame and the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.

The late Bill Hart Sensei (judoka) had started my nomination before he sadly passed away and Peter Shaw, 6th Dan Tae Kwon Do continued the nomination process.

It is very humbling to be acknowledged by one’s peers.

                    Above: Photo of the 2017 inductees

October saw we travel to Okinawa for the International Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate-Do Federation (IOGKF) Chief Instructors Gasshuku (training event) in Naha.

It was attended by Chief Instructors and invited 5th degree black belts from over the 50 affiliated countries worldwide. The Gasshuku lasted 4 days and consisted of intensive technical training under Master Morio Higaonna – 10th IOGKF Degree Black Belt and Supreme Master

The majority of the training took place at the recently opened Karate Kaikan.

Karate Kaikan consists of three main buildings:

1. the Karate Dojo, housing four competition courts with seating for 380 spectators, training and seminar rooms,
2. the Karate Archives, an exhibition hall containing an entertaining “paid reference room” with interactive displays on karate, a shop selling karate-related goods, and food and drinks area, and
3. the Shurei Hall, a special dojo crowned with a red tiled roof symbolizing Okinawan tradition, for use on special occasions such as high-ranking black belt promotion tests and public performances.

My own dojo, the Dunedin Institute of Traditional Karate, is going well with other 24 members training regularly.  We are continuing with the Black Belt training on Wednesday nights which enables us to focus on senior technical aspects.

The last Wednesday of the month we offer womens self defence which is well attended.

Most Saturday mornings I am volunteer at Budo Culture For Disabled  .  It is really great seeing the growth of the members.

2018 has started with a rush and seems to be gaining momentum.  One of this years goals is to video myself doing each kata to assist others in wheelchair with their kata.  Watch this space.

A bit late , but all the best for 2018

          Above: Lee Hart and myself doing a demonstration

Keep well and Train Hard

Kindest regards,




Good End to 2016 and Start of 2017

Well, finally finding time to update my web page.

2016, What a year it was.

In April I got the clearance to get back into training, being two years (April 2014) since getting two vertebrae fused together (L4 and L5).  I have slowly been increasing training, just wasn’t allowed to twist or bend forward too vigorously. This wasn’t a big issue doing karate as I very rarely have my wheelchair brakes on.  Whereas when I play table tennis I have one wheel locked so the twist was too vigorous and so had to put table tennis on hold for nearly two years.

I celebrated my 60th birthday in July then two days later traveled to Naha, Okinawa for the 7th World Budosai. I travelled with Adele Sinclair, Lee Hart and Brendon Rae from my karate club and Chris Rae from the Queenstown karate club.

What a great event this was.  The Budosai started on 25th July and finished on the 31st July. Over 1200 karateka attended representing clubs from all parts of the world.

When we first arrived we did visited and trained at Higaonna Sensei’s dojo.  This is always something special.  We also called into the Shureido shop to pick up gi’s etc.  and visited Shuri castle, Fukushu-en gardens and the nearby Chojun Miyagi memorial.

The training event was held in the impressive Okinawa Budokan.

While at the Budosai, Lee and Chris passed their grading to 2nd dan and Brendon to shodan.  It was also an honour to present myself for 6th dan under the watchful eyes of Higaonna Sensei and Bakkies Sensei.

2016 ended with me teaching at the annual Karyuka Karate club in Melbourne. Sensei Natsuko Mineghishi, a Japanese female Shotokan Karate-ka and a renowned soprano, had invited me to be their guest instructor when we had met in 2016. She is an excellent karate-ka,teacher and singer and has trained numerous times with the head of IOGKF karate.


The year started with our National training camp in Auckland, training under Nakamura Sensei.  As usual the training under Nakamura Sensei was excellent.


Good End to 2015

The end of 2015 was much better than earlier in the year. I was invited to be one of the guest instructors at the Australian Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Federation’s Gasshuku held 30 October to 1 November in Canberra, Australia.

It was a great honour to be invited and again train under the IOGKF World Chief Instructor Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura.

Alongside Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura other instructors were:
Sensei Joe Roses – 7th Dan – Australia
Sensei Joseph Tait – 5th Dan – Japan
Sensei Kevin Nash – 5th Dan – Australia
Sensei Brent Pawlik – 4th Dan – Okinawa/Australia
Sensei Gary Adams – 4th Dan – Scotland
Sensei David Lambert – 3rd Dan – Australia

It was really good catching up with everyone and especially seeing Sensei Gary from Scotland. Last time I saw Sensei Garry was in Stirling, Scotland in 2014 at the European Gasshuku.

Training under Sensei Nakamura was as always excellent and inspiring.

This was the first test on how well my back was recovering after the April surgery. Good news was that there was no ill effects so I have started back into my training.

Body Recovering

What a year 2015 it has been.

February attended a great karate camp in Australia and trained under the IOGKF Chief Instructor Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura.

Before leaving for the Camp I had taken our dog, Mika, a keeshond, to the vets. She had been off her food and it looked like a tooth was causing her problems. On my return from the camp her health was getting worse and we learnt that she had tumors on her liver and one kidney. It was with great sadness that we had to say goodbye to our girl on the 13 February. Mika had given us nearly 12 years of happiness and love.

I then learnt that I had a collapsed disc between L4 and L5 and that I would have to stop table tennis. I was working towards qualifying for the 2016 Paralympics.
I got my back operated on in April and the operation was a success but NO training for at least three months.

Then 3rd June our house got flooded. nearly 10cm of water through the house.

Things started to change for the best when I was offered a full time job with Barrier Free New Zealand Trust. I will be reporting on building plans and physical buildings with regards to compliance to Building Standards for Accessibility.

I went for my 3 month check with the back surgeon the other day and he is pleased with the progress but no twisting yet. I am not even allowed to put my chair in my chair yet.

I have started back at karate teaching and am starting to do sanchin regularly. I am also pushing as much as I can to get my fitness up.

All going well I will do regular updates on this site on my progress. I am heading to Canberra end of October and my goal is to be as fit as possible by then.

Wheelchair Self Defence Course, Perth Western Australia, 1st and 2nd June 2013

I have just returned from Perth Western Australia where I facilitated a wheelchair self defence course.

Karen Harvey from Spinal Injuries Chatter in Perth was looking at arranging a self defence course but could not find anyone in Perth qualified to teach it.  Enquiries led Karen to Deb Mitchell from Connecting People Coordinator at the NZ Spinal Trust who had organised a similar course in 2012.

That course was taken by Eddie Yee an instructor with the Todd Group and myself.

Debz put Karen on to me and subsequently I went to Perth and took two courses, the first on Saturday 1st June and the second on Sunday 2nd June.

The courses were just for persons in wheelchairs and saw 6 people attend the Saturday course and 8 on the Sunday. Some in power wheelchairs.

On the Friday before the course I got together with Karen, her son Corey (who has trained in ju-jitsu and Brett Ukich, a local first degree black belt and personal trainer. Corey and Brett were going to assist me in taking the course.

The course followed the Wheelchair Self Defence manual written by Geoff ‘Tank’ Todd, with myself adding in karate kata applications that I have modified to work from a wheelchair.  Each participant received a copy of the manual.

The course covered :

  • Wheelchair mobility and evasion techniques
  • Ramming
  • Cover guard
  • Striking
  • Improvised weapons
  • Escapes from various grabs
  • Weapon threats
  • Home and car security

Corey, Brett and Terry (Karen’s brother) assisted at the course by being attackers.

Terry was really good getting into the participants faces with life like aggression.

Comments received via Facebook were:

Symon Still “A great day thanks Karen, Corey, Terry (academy awards for you), Michael and John. Really useful stuff I’ll rehearse and practice for if the time ever comes to use it. Really relevant thanks for your organisation Karen”.

Douglas Milne “Yes it was a very relaxed training environment with lots of encouragement from our attackers…..thanks Corey and Terrence awesome work. and of course Karen”

Molly MacBlackas “Great! I hope you have a successful second day!”

Chelsey Phillips: “The wheelchair Self Defence Course today has been fantastic! Thanks to Karen Harvey, Brett, Terry and Cody for holding a fantasic & very important day. And especially thank you Karen for bringing the amazing Mr John Marrable 5th degree black belt (from NZ), to show us some empowering techniques to use in our own defence”.

For further information on wheelchair self defence or to arrange a course contact me on

Phone +6434561021 (home) +64212313887 (mobile) or email