The cultural heritage and humble Journey
Of: Garry O'Connor - Hanshi Kudan - Principal Instructor Oceania.

The present Principal Instructor - examiner for The Okinawa Ryu Karate Do Shuri Te Seibukan Kokusai Renmei Oceania.

1962: He formally began his traditional martial arts study under the tutelage of OSensei Takahashi Soke (founder) (1900-1994) a most profound, and respected master of traditional Okinawan Shuri Te Karate Do, Jo Jutsu, Jiu Jitsu as well as Ryukyu Tuite Jitsu.

1969: O'Connor Sensei graded to Shodan under OSensei Takahashi Soke - Japan.

Takahashi Sensei returned to his much-loved homeland of Okinawa - Japan; extending an invitation to Garry O'Connor Sensei to further his Karate Do studies under his guidance. Although it would be a few years, later that O'Connor Sensei would resume his traditional martial arts training under OSensei Takahashi's influence, he would continue to pursue his traditional martial art studies.

During this time in which he was absent from Takahashi Sensei, where he commenced his study of Traditional Chidokan Karate Do; founded in Japan in 1954 by the late Tekeshi Sasaki Sensei. Here he underwent instruction from Barney Wheki Sensei, (1944-2010) an inspirational and an indomitable Sensei, who ran the Hamilton Chidokan Dojo in New Zealand. During this period, O'Connor - Sensei would also attend advance classes at the hombu dojo and attend the spirited winter Gasshuku's.

O'Connor - Sensei with the full support of his original teacher; OSensei Takahashi Soke of Japan, had a sincere desire to return to his traditional martial arts ancestry, reconnecting with the original principals founded in Okinawa Ryu Karate Do Shuri Te.  Furthermore, within this period of his traditional martial arts study he commenced his Jiu Jitsu study.

Garry O'Connor Hanshi

Jiu Jitsu Heritage: O'Connor Sensei enrolled in traditional Jiu Jitsu instruction, under the tutelage of OSensei Laurie Oliver, who was the past master of the South Pacific Jiu Jitsu Society.

After several years of study O'Connor - Sensei attained the Yudansha level of Nidan - 2nd Dan in the traditional art of Kawaishi Jiu Jitsu; so named after OSensei Mikonosuke Kawaishi Soke Japan.

All registrations and affiliations were directly with The International Jujitsu Federation, N.J.J.B Holland, N.S.J.J.K.F Japan, and the Nippon Seibukan, which at the time was under the leadership of Masafumi Suzuki Sensei.

Laurie Oliver Sensei - Shichidan; was a senior representative of Vernon C.F. Bell - Sensei (1922-2004) who was the founder of The British Karate Do Federation (B.K.F) in England.

1978: O'Connor - Sensei was requisite to undertake a traditional Yudansha examination with the B.K.F and the Seibukan All Martial Arts Association of Japan. This grading examination was authorised and supported by the following masters of budo; Vernon C.F. Bell Sensei, OSensei Laurie Oliver of the SPJJS, OSensei Takahashi Soke and endorsed by Masafumi Suzuki Sensei of the Nippon Seibukan Japan.

With the personal endorsement of his life long teacher, "OSensei Takahashi," Garry O'Connor Sensei established the first Shibu (branch Dojo) of Okinawan Ryu Karate Do Shuri Te in Hamilton New Zealand. All registrations were held with Takahashi Soke in Japan at Hombu Dojo.

1980: This was the year O'Connor Sensei received his Nidan in Kawaishi Jiu Jitsu.

1980: O'Connor Sensei and his family relocated to Australia, where he introduced the traditional school of Okinawa Ryu Karate Do Shuri Te into Adelaide - South Australia.

1984: The Adelaide Dojo hosted OSensei Takahashi Soke for a two-week visit; this was his first visit to Australia. O'Connor Sensei was graded to San Dan by OSensei Takahashi Soke.

Two of Sensei's Senior Karate Ka (Deshi - Students) from the original dojo in New Zealand Dennis Vuglar, and Karl Farley also attended training at the Adelaide Dojo. After several years, Dennis and Karl returned to live in New Zealand.

Hanshi Garry O'Connor image

1985: O'Connor - Sensei travelled to Italy where he trained under OSensei Takahashi Soke and Ichirou Ito Sensei - Hachidan 8th Dan. (Who was the senior Sensei of Takahashi Soke) and it was during this visit that O'Connor Sensei began his study of Jo Jutsu under Ito Shihan.

On O'Connor Sensei's return from Italy, he would entrust the Adelaide Dojo into the personal care of John Tsacos Sempai.

In late 1985 O'Connor - Sensei relocated with his family and established the traditional Canberra Dojo of Okinawa Ryu Karate Do Shuri Te Seibukan. In the following years, this traditional dojo would have a strong number of dedicated senior karate ka attending the rigorous training classes.

It was well known that Sensei would ride his motor cycle from the Canberra Dojo to the Adelaide Dojo South Australia, providing traditional instruction to the South Australian Karate ka. This journey would encompass a total of 2,400km. John Tsacos Sempai and the Adelaide Karate ka also attended training at the Canberra Dojo Gasshuku's.

1988:  O'Connor - Sensei would be transferred through his employment to  The Gold Coast - Queensland, establishing Okinawa Ryu Karate Do Shuri Te Seibukan, initially at the Nerang Police Youth Club and later at the Monaco Street Police Youth Club.

These traditional classes were well acknowledged and respected for their intensity and spirited atmosphere. There was only a handful of devoted senior karate ka that trained under Sensei in Queensland. Sempai Dwayne Blunsdon was one who trained extensively with Garry O'Connor - Sensei and remains in contact with Hanshi today. Weekend training camps were held in the rain forests of the Border Ranges, where the focus was on rigorous spirited out door training, the higher grades that attended these rainforest-training camps, would certainly never forget this once in a lifetime experience.

1988: O'Connor Sensei trains with OSensei Takahashi and Ito Shihan at Honbu Dojo Japan where he sat the Yondan 4th Dan grading examination. (Godan Yudansha system)

1989: The Canberra Dojo was entrusted into the care of Petar Johnson a dedicated Sempai.

During these years, there were an exchange of visits by the Canberra and the Queensland Karate Ka. Several years later Matthew Pang a most inspiring and respected Sensei, was officially appointed as the Canberra Dojo Cho. Today the Canberra Dojo continues the traditional lineage and cultural heritage under the instruction of Istok Tanevski Sensei; the appointed the Dojo Cho, (branch - Instructor) by Garry O'Connor Hanshi..

1990: This was the year the traditional association of Okinawa Ryu Karate Do (Ryukyu Shuri Te) under the tutelage of OSensei Takahashi Soke, and Ito Ichirou Shihan, came under pressure from the Dai Nippon Butoku-kai and FAJKO, to change from the original Godan grading system, to the present day Judan System.

* Therefore today our traditional Karate Do association adheres to the Judan Grading system for all Yudansha ka as in Japan and Okinawa.

1993: Was the year in which he received the traditional Shihan Menkyo Kaiden; (license) and Hanko - seal, attaining the Yudansha level of Shichidan - 7th Dan, His first grading in the Judan Grading system.

1994: We sadly witnessed the passing of a most profound and extraordinary Karate Do Master OSensei Takahashi Soke. (1900-1994) Leaving behind his devoted students to continue his traditional philosophies, and etiquettes of budo. He will always be respectfully remembered by the traditional legacy, which he handed down, and today is the corner foundation stone, of Okinawa Ryu Karate Do Shuri Te Seibukan.

1995: Mathew Pang graded to Shodan by: O'Connor Sensei at the Canberra Dojo. Matthew now being the first Yudansha Ka to be graded in Australia.

1998: Garry O'Connor Sensei; once again returned to Italy, where he trained under the tutelage of Ichirou Ito Shihan - Hachidan - 8th Dan (1947-2006) expanding and furthering his traditional studies.

2002: O'Connor Sensei was awarded his Hachidan - 8th Dan Certification, given that the traditional grade of 7th Dan had to be held, for "no less than nine to ten years," prior to the nomination for Hachidan - 8th Dan.

Old Honbu Dojo Japan image

Old Honbu Dojo Japan

Note: Out of deep respect to Ichirou Ito - Shihan Hachidan (1947 - 2006) Garry O'Connor - Sensei never wore his 8th Dan.

2005: O'Connor Sensei relocated to the alpine region of Victoria, establishing a traditional martial arts school of instruction in this beautiful and tranquil region of Australia. He maintains regular contact with all of his deshi (students), especially the Yudansha kai of all Dojos.

2006: Ichirou Ito Shihan-Hachidan passed away, due to a long-suffering struggle with his health. His friendly way of teaching others and his devotion to detail will always be remembered.1947-2006.

2008: Istok Tanevski graded to Shodan at The Canberra Dojo by: O'Connor Sensei.

2008 and 2009: O'Connor Sensei travelled to New Zealand, where he officially appointed Ian Sargent Sensei as The Head Instructor of the New Zealand association (Dojo Cho) and his true senior representative. O'Connor-Sensei travels regularly to New Zealand; conducting advance Instruction at the NZ Shibu where all members and affiliated members are most welcome to attend the free advanced classes in traditional Ryukyu Shuri Te Karate Do.

Hanshi Garry O'Connor image

Garry O'Connor Hanshi

2011: He was awarded his Hanshi Certification; and the traditional registration; of Kudan - 9th Dan in Ryu Kyu Shuri Te, and the presentation of the traditional 赤帯 Aka - Red Obi, after extensive research of records, and after the death of Ichirou Ito - Shihan in 2006.

2011: Istok Tanevski Sensei graded to Nidan at Honbu Dojo and appointed the Canberra Dojo Cho by O'Connor Sensei.

2011: Ian Sargent Sensei - the New Zealand Dojo Cho graded to Nidan by: O'Connor Sensei.

2013: O'Connor Sensei appointed as an Executive Council member of The Koshinkan Karate & Kobudo Association, being a senior 9th Dan representative; of Hoshiyama Hanshi.

2015: O'Connor Sensei was awarded his Judan - 10th Dan Certification, by the Okinawa Shorin Ryu Association. This traditional Menjo was signed by the following: Kazuo Hoshiyama, Hanshi 10th Dan Koshinkan Kojo Ryu / Shorin Ryu Karate Do Okinawa. Walter Dailey Hanshi 10th Dan Zenshu-Ha Shorinji - Ryu Karate Do Kai Okinawa. Larry Hall Hanshi 10th Dan Zenshu-Ha Shorinji-Ryu Kyan Te.Okinawa. Tim Rogers Hanshi 9th Dan Okinawa Shorinji - Ryu Tode Zentokukai Okinawa.

O'Connor Sensei has been recognised internationally as the legitimate traditional successor of OSensei Takahashi Soke, (1900-1994) of Okinawa Ryu Karate Do Shuri Te. His personal budo journey encompasses five decades of traditional martial arts study. Garry O'Connor Hanshi - Kudan; is the next generation of traditional teacher's from this time honoured cultural heritage. He does not entertain or participate, in martial art politics of any form, as he sincerely believes this destroys the very spiritual essence of why we study traditional martial arts. Training in traditional martial arts is about having a passion for the Japanese and Okinawan cultures and teachings, and the lasting friendships formed.

He shares an inspiring teaching curriculum, and has shared his humble budo journey of 52 years freely with others.

During this lifetime of study he has been teaching his students for 40 years, dedicating his lifetime to the preservation of our traditional art; teaching with sincere humility, friendship and having the upmost respect for all forms of traditional martial arts.

Note: Bugei – 武芸, is probably the best literal translation for the term “martial arts.” Budo – 武道 can be translated as the martial way, or path. Bujutsu – 武術 cannot be literally translated, but basically means, “Martial science”. The reason for this explanation here is that someone has misread and miss understood what was shared here.

The documented history above is only a brief description of the budo Journey of O'Connor Sensei.

Information provided by the Honbu Dojo of Takahashi-ha no Ryūkyū - Shuri-te Karate-do

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