I started training in 1983 as an 8 year old. My parents initially wanted me to learn self defence, discipline and fitness. Within a few years I started competing in kata competitions and represented Queensland several times during my childhood and teenage years. Competing gave me a lot of satisfaction and helped to build my confidence.
After high school I had a break from training to pursue my career but later returned to the dojo to continue training on a regular basis. Having a physically demanding job and a lower back injury, karate training helps me maintain the physical strength and flexibility to avoid injuries. Shihan Keleher has been a great influence in my life and is not only a Karate teacher and coach but a mentor who has been there even when faced with life’s biggest challenges. Karate training with no doubt strengthens the mind, body and spirit and encourages a healthy life.
At the beginning of 2011, my wife and I decided to try and give martial arts a go as a way to stay active. For nearly three months we visited many martial arts schools around Brisbane, until we finally came across AAMA. At the time, it was the quality of the AAMA students that impressed us. We joined without a second thought and I am glad we did!
To us, AAMA Karate quickly became a lot more than just punches and kicks. We started learning more and more about ourselves; AAMA Karate had become a journey of self-discovery. Shihan Graham Keleher’s ability to connect with his students is amazing. His method has taught us how to learn, practice, think and behave Karate. More than that, Shihan Graham Keleher uses Karate to teach us life skills.
We feel a lot more positive and confident about ourselves and that has made a tremendous difference in our lives, both at home and at work. We have learnt to appreciate both the martial aspect of Karate (dedication, discipline, respect and tradition) and the art aspect of it (the purpose, intensity and precision of the techniques).
I am not on my way to a 2nd Dan black belt… I am on my way to a better me! Ah, and earning a black belt in martial arts would be nice too!
I could not leave this message without sharing the most valuable lesson I have learnt so far: Do not awful-ise! Want to find out more about it? Well, then you better start your own AAMA Karate-Do journey…
Our daughter Sarah was a student at AAMA Karate from the age of 6 until she departed to work and live in England at the age of 25. As parents we were proud of her achievements in Karate: her competition success and the achievement of a 3rd Dan Black Belt. More importantly however, we were delighted to witness how AAMA Karate influenced Sarah’s development as a courteous, self-confident, fit and focussed teenager and young woman who achieved her academic, personal and professional goals. The self-discipline instilled through karate training has been a key contributor to her successes in the game of life.
I was fortunate to make the decision to take up Karate at AAMA after seeing the benefits to my daughter after she had trained for 6 years. I came to karate with little previous sporting experience, poor coordination and a lack of fitness. In spite of these impediments, Shihan Keleher and the instructors at AAMA were able to guide me to the achievement of my Black Belt. At AAMA I learned that I could accomplish much more than I thought. Now my fitness levels have improved and I understand what Sarah meant when she said she was going to training to ‘get her head straight’. Karate is one of the best ways I have discovered for clearing my head, relieving stress, and getting a better perspective on life.
My husband and I have always had in the back of our minds that when our children were old enough we would enrol them in karate. We had an awareness of the karate philosophy – the discipline, respect and physical components – and for this and the practicality and potential longevity of karate as a “sport for life”, karate was attractive to us. Within a few weeks of enrolling, Finn and Kate started the first activity of the red stripe program, designed to extend the karate philosophy into home life.
A week after the children started their lessons, I also decided to join. I had been searching for a way of staying active that was constantly challenging AND enjoyable but that also accommodated my ongoing rehabilitation after major surgery. It was encouraging to see students at the dojo from a very wide age group. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I look forward to going to every class and the timing of training sessions suit family life. Importantly though, I can see this as a physical and mental activity I will be able to participate in for a long time to come, with the added benefit of being able to train with my children as they progress.