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Shuseki Shihan Natalie Young and Hanshi Bill Young started Kaigan-Kan Karate-Do specialising in Traditional Japanese Shotokan Karate 35 years ago. They set up in Coffs Harbour when they first started the business and have been in the Hunter Valley for the last 14 years.

Since then, thousands of karate students of every age and skill level have been through Kaigan-Kan Karate-Do.

“We’ve got some age-specific classes and open karate classes which I find are good for families that want to train together.

“We do have some serious ones that are into it for the competition side of it which is great.

“I’ve got one little girl, Layla, who is the youngest we’ve ever graded to black belt. She has been with me since she was three and she’s a very dedicated little girl. I said to her mum one year, ‘Don’t be pushing her too hard to come every day if she’s tired or something’, and she said ‘No no it’s not me it’s her, she gets home from school and is ready to go!’

“She’s the dedicated one and her mum just comes with her.

“Technically I’m the only paid instructor and the rest are volunteers. On Wednesdays I can end up with eight there, so I have to ask them to come on different days!”

Natalie and Bill have been practising karate since they were 18 years old. Bill moved to Coffs Harbour after practising for seven years in Gloucester. He started teaching in Coffs and it was there that he graded his first black belts and met his beautiful wife Natalie.

Natalie was awarded the rank of Yon Dan in 2013 and went on to compete in the ISKA US Open winning three world titles. Both Natalie and Bill have been to Japan, studied various styles of karate and been awarded many accolades.

So, it’s no surprise some of their students competed at the ISKA World Cup that was held in Sydney at the end of October.

The event saw 1,334 competitors gather from 11 different countries.

Natalie said they had four referees go, she was judging, plus three children and one adult who were competing.

“It’s good to see them so serious.

“Because we are traditional Shotokan karate we don’t just do fighting, we’re not a fighting-based martial art. I do have two students who are competing in fighting but others are just doing kata which are patterns and weaponry and Friday night is synchronised kata.

“That means there’s three of them together and they have to do the same kata together and they get judged on timing and how well they do it together.

“I have one of my senior guys competing as well.”

Singleton karate students Sensei Rob Wall, Junior Sensei Jack Edwards, Junior Sensei Layla Howard, and Senpai Seth Newton all competed in October at the ISKA World Cup in Sydney.

Most of the categories had about 20 competitors and all of the students finished in the top ten in each of the events they competed in.

Rob finished 1st in Traditional Forms and 2nd in Traditional Weapons; Jack competed in eight individual events finishing 1st in Sumo, 4th in Traditional Forms, Light Kicking and the highest kick challenge, 5th in Traditional Weapons and Clash Sparring and 9th in Point Sparring and Sword Combat; Layla came 8th in Traditional Forms and 9th in Traditional Weapons; and Seth came 1st in Traditional Forms, 2nd in Sword Combat, 3rd in Point Sparring and 4th in Clash Sparring.

Seth, Jack and Layla competed together in the Synchronised Team Kata as well and finished 2nd.

More details on Kaigan-Kan Karate-Do at

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