Black Belt Martial Arts has a long tradition of success in the competition arena and the latest BBMA champions are bent on continuing that tradition.
Earlier this year at the NSW State Championships the BBMA Team walked away with a total of 5 gold medals, 2 silver and 3 bronze. This was followed up with 5 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze at the NSW Open.
These outstanding performances resulted in 7 BBMA students being selected to represent NSW at the Australian Karate Championships in August - Alice Carrett, Samuel Gosling, Pauline Burgess, Grace Burgess, Glenn Webber, Justin Lenkovic and Angela Jenkins.
This year, 16yr old Alice Carrett, was selected for the Australian Team for the first time. Her first international event was the US Open. Alice didn’t place, losing narrowly to a much more experienced fighter, but her performance was strong enough to impress the national coaches who then selected her for the World Youth Cup in Greece in July. In only her 2nd international event the young Lisarow teen placed 3rd in sparring and 4th in kata, leaving the national coaches in no doubt that there is a rising star in the team.
The ‘sport’ side of karate is relatively modern. Karate was of course primarily a self defence system, not a sport. It wasn’t until around the 1960’s that the techniques and tactics of karate were modified to enable practitioners to challenge each other in the sporting arena. At the time it caused a lot of controversy and drew disdain from many karate masters . Still, today there are many karate practitioners that frown on ‘sports karate’.
Alice’s Coach, Liz Mahler, a former Australian team member herself and former national coach, believes that the competition component of martial arts has a lot to offer her BBMA students.
“Most of our students start karate at BBMA for reasons like developing confidence, fitness, personal empowerment, self discipline and self control. No one ever comes to us and says ‘I want to do karate because I want to be a world champion’ but for some of our students once they have reached a certain level, the career path of the athlete becomes of interest - particularly to the youth of the school say, the 12 - 20 something year olds. And this is understandable. Many in this age group feel a need to test themselves or to look for excitement, it is a part of healthy adolescent development.
This is where sport can play a very important role in providing challenges, trials, excitement and some measured risk taking to fill that need. I really believe the competitive karate path provides for our teenagers the alternative to partying and dangerous risk taking behaviours. I know this to be true from my own personal experience as a young karate athlete over 30 yrs ago and from seeing athletes from the beginning of BBMA in 1987 to our current athletes like Alice have the same positive experiences. Through sports karate, myself, our coaches and our athletes have travelled the world, met contemporaries from many cultures and made life long friends. When other teenagers are out looking for their excitement in less than desirable ways our karate athletes are eating healthy, honing their bodies, resting, and strengthening theirs minds and character. They are also giving back. Our teen champions play an integral role in preparing the next generation of BBMA champions by coaching our Junior Champions Squad, these are our 7 -12 yr olds that are already on the tatami dreaming of being world champions.”
Anyone looking to make karate their sport could not be in a better environment than a BBMA school. The pedigree of it’s coaches is impressive. Kyoshi Liz Mahler was NSW State Champion from 1982 to 1992, 5 times Australian Champion, Australian team member from 1984 - 1992, gold and 2 bronze medals at World Championships, former NSW and National Coach. From 1990 to today, she has coached over 55 State champions, over 20 National champions, Oceania gold, silver and bronze medalists, Junior world gold, silver and bronze medalists and 5 senior international gold medalists.
Kyoshi Liz’s senior coaching team consists of Lliam Worthington; former Oceania Champion, Darren Brailey; former World Heavy Weight Champion and Troy Chapman former Australian representative. BBMA has close connections to many internationally renowned coaches and athletes and regularly hosts seminars for BBMA athletes. Just this year BBMA has hosted seminars with former World Open Karate Champion Brian Peakall
and current World Women’s Middle Weight Champion, Kristina Mah.
The BBMA Squad program consists of 8 specialized sessions per week designed for the competitive athlete from the novice to the elite. The program covers kata and sparring and also includes a specialized conditioning session.
With all this talk of ‘sports karate ‘and the ‘elite karate athlete it should be noted that BBMA’s competition squad membership makes up less than 10% of our student base. These athletes are applauded for their efforts and results but so are the other 90% of our students who attend our regular programs. At BBMA there is no one student more important than another. The other 90% of our students attend 2 - 4 lessons per week studying their art (karate, kickboxing, jui jitsu or kobudo), developing their self confidence, self esteem, self control, mental and physical health, self protection and more. In a BBMA school victories are one every day, when the bullied 6yr old boy finds the courage to speak up, when the 55yr old realizes they are in better shape now than they were when they were 20, when a teenager witnesses their mum receive her black belt and are inspired with a new respect for her determination and courage. These a real stories lived out every day at BBMA.
BBMA has classes to suit all ages, men women and children, from the beginner to the advanced black belt. Call now and ask about our Free Introductory Program 4388 4788 or visit our website www.blackbeltmartialarts.com.au