Honesty, Loyalty, Respect – IOGKF Canberra celebrates its 35th anniversary

By: David Lambert – IOGKF International Editor

IOGKF Canberra’s headquarters under the leadership of IOGKF Australian Joint Chief Instructor, Sensei Joe Roses, is celebrating its 35th anniversary. After nearly four decades of Karate training, Sensei Roses sat down with International Editor, David Lambert to take a walk down memory lane and reflect on the accomplishments on the Dojo...

Sensei Joe Roses (Australian Joint Chief Instructor) telephoned me in September to inform me that his Karate Dojo would be celebrating its 35th birthday this year. That was all the information I needed to warrant another trip to IOGKF Canberra’s Headquarters in Southern Canberra.

As I sat with Sensei Roses in his beautiful home, which is located in the same area of Australia’s capital city. While there, we took the time to take in the beautiful view of the mountains that make up the Tuggeranong Valley. As we did many memories of the past 35 years of Sensei Joe’s club quickly came flooding back to him. As he looked through the front window, Sensei Joe even recalled coming home from work one day to find Higaonna Sensei and  my own father sitting on his front porch, Higaonna Sensei too was taken aback by the beautiful scenery that is on offer in Sensei Joe’s area of the city.

For Sensei Joe Roses, Karate has been a part of his life for even longer than 35 years his Dojo has been around. His Karate background is originally Kyokushinkai, which was under the John Jarvis martial arts Empire of the early 1970’s. In 1975, John Jarvis brought a 35 year old Higaonna Sensei to Australia and New Zealand to promote Okinawan Goju-ryu, which his organisation was converting too. This was the same year Sensei Joe established his Dojo under the position of Higaonna Sensei.

Sensei Roses inherited the club from Brad Wilson and Ken Scott, both of whom were set to move to Newcastle after Higaonna Sensei’s Canberra visit. Sensei Roses was very keen not to lose the club and let Goju-ryu die in the National Capital, and this was his motivation for standing up and taking on a club. The Dojo was based in the suburb of Lyneham at this time.

Sensei Joe Roses (left) at a demonstration not long after IOGKF International’s founding in 1979

The club remained there for many years until Sensei Roses moved the location closer to his current home. It was around this time that he relayed to me that he began training with my father at every opportunity he had. Being a mechanic by trade, Sensei Roses explained how a road test of a car often found him and hour down the road at the Lambert Dojo!

Sensei Roses’ beginnings as an instructor were very different to how most of us begin or inherit a Dojo – when he became the head instructor he was only a green belt! By the time he was officially on his own as the only instructor, he was a senior brown belt, bordering on black belt level.

The Dojo, which is now located in Tuggeranong, has literally had hundreds of people come and go over the years. One person who has remained for such a long period of time is someone who is my senior and good friend, Sensei Ari Takkenen. Sensei Ari is the other senior instructor for the Dojo and his astounding knowledge in biomechanics and his ability to create a relationship between it and Karate brings a unique side of training to the members of the Canberra Dojo. Between these two distinguished instructors and senior grades, Sensei Kevin Nash, Sensei Pat Brown and Sensei John Stegglle, IOGKF Canberra’s headquarters has a strong leadership base for their members to aspire too.

Sensei Ari Takkenen (Left) & Sensei Joe Roses, IOGKF Canberra Headquarters’ senior instructors

The Dojo has also produced many high quality students. These include many who have become full contact champions, with one student currently holding 3 Australian kickboxing titles. There is also Krista DeCastella who spent one year training at honbu Dojo in Okinawa, along with another student who joined the armed forces and has fought bravely in three wars.

Krista DeCastella and Sensei Joe Roses at a typical training session.

Sensei Roses explained to me that he thinks the reason he has so many great students is because he has adapted his Dojo into a club with a real family feel and that people can be happy to come and train with him rather than being afraid or intimidated. He also thinks the key to having a successful dojo like his own is to not only train hard, but to train smart, and that students shouldn’t go home injured and should be able to come back tomorrow and do it all over again.

The family feel is something that is definitely present in the club. It is like a big family of brothers and sisters to which Sensei Joe preaches 3 main qualities – Loyalty, Honesty and Respect. The training is strong and to me Sensei Roses’ Karate just seems to get better with his age. His mastery of Kakie in particular and his knowledge of Kata is something I know I have personally learnt a lot from. But his passionate and encouraging personality make him someone people want to be involved with.

With no regrets from Karate and no plans to retire on the horizon it seems, and I sincerely hope, Sensei Joe Roses and all the members of IOGKF Canberra will be still going strong in another 35 years time.

Some of the many members of IOGKF Canberra’s Headquarters

To contact Sensei Roses email: joe.roses@act.gov.au