The martial arts industry is more like a martial arts society where people meet and share a mutual passion. What a great way for humans to get together and form friendships and help each other. I remember when I started BJJ (5.5 years ago), Australia’s International Cage Fighting icon, Elvis Sinosic, said to me, ‘welcome to the family’. That I have not forgotten and I now regard all my students and other close martial arts colleagues as family. The Father of Karate in Australia, Hanshi Tino Ceberano, always addresses me as his little brother.
I look at our karate kids and often think about them as individuals and I make an effort to greet and speak to them as often as possible; that’s the way I would’ve liked to have been treated when I was young but we were brought up differently in the martial arts when I first started 37 years ago. Sitting at a restaurant with some of the students recently, I was really admiring the view and thinking; ‘all these people here together tonight is a result of my passion and dedication’.
Exploring the other arts such as Kickboxing, BJJ, MMA, has further expanded the family. Even people who I have worked in the Police Force and have not seen for many years or even met, the martial arts has finally brought us together. I have trained many police over the years and some of them have even made Superintendents; it’s like a family within a family, some still training with me. It’s an unusual and wonderful feeling meeting up with a number of police officers, on the weekend at Richard Norton’s seminar, wearing gi’s and speaking a language making others shy away from the conversation; that’s just police culture, I guess.
There's a big family get together at the end of the year (Xmas Dinner and Presentation Night). I hope to see everyone in the one room on one night. We always hear the saying, ‘never forget family’. How true is that in the martial arts!