About 50 karate devotees revelled in an early Sunday morning training session on the beach at Woodgate. They took to it like ducks to a pond.
Under the guidance of four 7th Dan black belt instructors, the group commenced its 6am kata or training routine on the sands of Woodgate Beach gradually progressing into the ocean.
John Russo, a founding member of the Childers JKA (now TSKF) in 1975, holds the position of Childers TSKF Club President and Instructor as well as being the National Chair of the TSKF.
Russo said the camp at Woodgate is held over two days and attracts participants from throughout Queensland.
“The beach training has been a feature of our camps which are held basically to kick start the new season. The group simply love the change in scenery and the more natural surroundings are hugely popular.”
Watching the training session it is obvious the discipline and respect each participant holds for their instructors and their sport. Any mistake in technique can see the errant student immediately drop and complete ten pushups as recognition of their mistake.
Russo is at the head of the group as they progress into the small waves that are rolling in from Hervey Bay. He walks among the students calling the required movements.
They respond with enthusiasm oblivious to the added weight their wet ghia’s or suits add to the training routine.
“There are four 7th Dan instructors from throughout the state – basically the brains trust of TSKF Karate in Queensland – and all were present at the weekend camp.
“The sessions were held in the Woodgate Hall on Saturday and we had around 50 participants which is maximum capacity for the hall.
“The group is training towards the Australasian Championships to be held in New Zealand in late March and we have around 13 participants from Childers TSKF attending those titles.” said Russo.
John Russo, founding member
John Russo is obviously central to the success of karate in the Bundaberg Region if not throughout the state and nationally.
“We have around 60 members in our club in an age range from 5 years to 75 years. It is very family focussed and the parents particularly endorse the discipline and respect demanded of karate participants.
“The club trains twice weekly – Monday and Thursday evenings – at the Childers Cultural Centre. Childers TSKF has enjoy strong membership since its inception but that hasn’t always been the case,” said Russo.
“We did drop to around six members but we persevered and through plain hard work, great committee members and our passion for the sport we have now one of – if not the strongest – clubs nationally.
“The support of my wife Debbie, who is also the National TSKF Secretary, has been invaluable in the ongoing success of our Club in Childers.”
As for the club’s prospects at the forthcoming New Zealand competition Russo is confident he has competitors with the ability to make teams for the World Cup to be held later in the year.
“The last World Cup in South Africa in 2016 saw two gold medal come back to Childers which was a fantastic effort on an international stage.
“We have a formula with our club and I certainly have no intention of changing it anytime soon.
“We are turning out students who love the sport but more importantly are developing life skills from their involvement with our club.”