The History of Kudo Australia
Back in 2012, I was instructing not only Close Quarter Fighting but also combative sports at the 2nd Commando Regiment’s Sydney-based Integrated Combat Centre (ICC). As I watched my grapplers progress through their Brazilian jiu-jitsu grades, I saw a need to also acknowledge my all-round fighters and strikers in a more formal way. They deserved some form of international recognition of their skills and experience —but what? I thought about affiliating the ICC with a Kyokushin group, but knowing that none of my strikers were interested in learning kata, that option appeared problematic. I also considered Seidokaikan (K1) karate, with which I was involved in the 1990s, but that organisation seemed to have fallen away a great deal. I then recalled an article that I had read in the ’80s about a style called Daido Juku karate, which was all about mixed fighting.
I contacted the world HQ in Japan to ask where I could learn, train and grade in Australia, with the goal of one day sending my strikers to gradings — little did I know that this initial correspondence would change my direction and focus in the martial arts to such an extent. The response I received from Japan was initially very positive, as there turned out to be a small dojo operating in Sydney, not too far from where I was living at the time. I was told there was a Japanese instructor with ‘some foreigners’ training there, and I became quite excited at the opportunity to train in what I’d now learned had become a new Japanese martial art in its own right: Kudo Daido Juku.
The dojo was located within a university gym and after taking some time finding it, I was surprised to see only three people preparing to hit the mats. I introduced myself and got changed, ready to train. After a few short moments of moving around and throwing some techniques, the instructor, a small Japanese man who held the rank of Brown-belt, questioned me about my background…and soon after, I found myself teaching the group! I was a little disappointed in the situation, but happy to help. I was even more disappointed, however, when at the end of the class they told me that it would be their last night, as the training hall had been condemned and they had no alternative venue. I wasn’t ready to stop my investigation into Kudo, so I organised training at a friend’s nearby dojo. Within a short time, the Japanese class leader asked me if I would be interested in becoming the Australian Branch Chief. Now I had some thinking I do.
I decided I would, as I had really enjoyed the little Kudo I had done and I very much liked its rule set for competition. So, the next step was to take a grading exam — in Japan before Kudo founder Azuma Jukucho. Soon I was on a plane to the Kudo summer camp to be tested in something I didn’t know much about. Luckily, Kudo is completely about fighting ability across all ranges, and with seven Black-belts and a background in MMA, I was well versed in demonstrating all of the elements of striking, grappling and groundfighting, and integrating them all together.
After a couple of hours of drills and skills application, my final test was to fight a group of Black-belts — in a rule set that was new to me, and wearing Kudo’s full-face headgear, with which I was even less familiar. Fortunately I managed to win more fights than I lost, and suddenly I was a Kudo Black-belt and the Australian Shibucho (Branch Chief).
Today, Kudo has spread all over Australia and there are domestic Branch Chiefs helping me grow the art. We now have a total of six Kudo Black-belts in Australia, all with a vast amount of previous martial arts experience. Aussie Kudoka have competed in Japan, Russia, India and Columbia, as well as international competition in Australia. Kudo has grown rapidly in five years and continues to grow.
This website is another example of Kudo Australia moving forward. Its aim is to inform Australian Kudo members and the wider Australian martial arts community about all things pertaining to Kudo Daido Juku, both in Australia and around the world. It is also one of the few English language publications of Kudo, with the majority of information being written in Japanese and Russian, so it is likely to help many people around the world to understand Kudo Daido Juku.
I would like to thank Jukucho Azuma Takashi and his family for ongoing support and guidance. I would like to thank all the leaders and members of Kudo Australia and the world community of Kudo for all of their great support. I also thank my family for supporting my inability to stop moving — to my children Lachlan, Ava and Michael, I love you with all my heart. And to all, please enjoy this website and the Kudo magazine and your journey in the budo of Kudo.