President's Report for 2018-19

It is with some mixed feelings that I am penning what will be my last Club President’s report for the foreseeable future. As I had indicated at last year’s AGM, my intention has been to step down from the role as President this year so that I am able to focus more fully on my studies.

I am immensely proud of what the Club has managed to achieve over the past year, and indeed over the ten years that the Club has been running. I am stepping down at a time where we have a broad range of supported activities and disciplines, where individual members are taking up responsibility for Club functions, and where we have continued to have success in both sporting and community engagement terms.

There were a number of highlights for 2018. These included:

  • Growth in the numbers participating in all disciplines

  • The successful trial of virtual dojo training sessions, video linking members located in different cities

  • The receipt of the generously donated taiko drums from the City of Takatsuki to the Toowoomba Region, and the associated travel to Japan as part of the Toowoomba delegation by Club members

  • The formal inclusion of Olympic fencing as a supported discipline of the Club

  • The start of a sister Club in Gin Gin (Bundaberg region), training Kendo, Iaido and Jujutsu

  • Eric Tavenner’s participation at the International SMR Jodo Gasshuku, held in Brisbane in August

  • The re-establishment of Systema as a formal class rather than a study group, with Michael Conroy’s success in achieving “Instructor in Training” Status at the Toronto International Training Camp

  • Participation at the August IBF/Fight for Life event in Brisbane, where we performed a Kyudo demonstration in support of Ramon Lawrence, sensei, the National President.

  • Successful participation in the Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival (August)

  • Completion by myself and Brady Albrand of the National Coaching Scheme reaccreditation process for Jujutsu

  • Success at the University Sports Div 1 Championships, with a bronze medal for Jack Baker in the Under 73 division of the Judo competition and good showing by Kateena Martin, who was the first USQ competitor in kendo since 2014.

  • Indeed, the dedication and efforts of those who came to support the Uni Games competition as volunteers, putting effort above and beyond to ensure that the competition was a success, including Sean Thompson’s first outing to support the Games.

  • Jack Baker’s ongoing success at Club-level Judo competitions throughout this year past.

  • Participation at the inaugural Gin Gin Martial Arts weekend in November

  • Participation at both Winter and Summer QKR seminars, held on the Gold Coast.

  • Sian Carlyon’s successful tilt at Shodan in Iaido, and her winning the Haga Shield at the Australian Iaido and Jodo Championships, held in Hobart.

  • My acceptance as a member of the Dai Nippon Butokukai, General Division in Jujutsu, and my successful challenge for Nidan in Iaido

I am also immensely proud of all the personal successes of the membership and the friends who support the Club— new jobs, weddings, commencement of formal studies, fresh starts, new horizons, and the myriad of personal successes that we have enjoyed witnessing through the lens of our Club’s community. I have said it most years, but the Club exists not just for, but because of our membership and commitment to supporting each other, sharing joys and assisting when called on to help each other.

I also would like to make a special mention of losing Russell Wilson, one of the Club’s foundation members, and former Club Treasurer. Despite having not trained with us for some time, Russell’s death was certainly a blow, and he will be missed.

On a lighter note, it has been wonderful to see the return of a number of absent friends to the dojo, and I would like to see them back regularly over the coming year! And for those former (financial) members who have moved away, we are always excited to see you back in town, in the dojo, or simply catching up at seminars and other events through the year!

And so, I would like to commend the incoming Club President and the rest of the Executive team, and wish them all success for the coming year. I will be nominating for a position as the General Member on the committee, and of course continuing to teach into the disciplines I have responsibility for, so will still be a strong feature of the Club going forwards from this point. I feel proud, wistful and excited with the prospect of the year ahead. With the promise of more activity “up North”, and many opportunities for community engagement, 2019 promise to be a wonderful year. Gambatte! and may all success be enjoyed by the Club and its membership.