Vale Tamio Tsuji Sensei

 

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Tamio Tsuji Sensei, the “father” of  karate in Queensland came to Brisbane at the request of John Halpin Sensei and others.

John and other’s trained at the Brisbane Karate Club. It was on the waterfront in the city under the Story Bridge and when Japanese ships came to port, they would ask if anyone practiced karate and invite them to train. That is how John Halpin met Tamio Tsuji.

A Japanese Naval Training Ship arrived in port and Tamio Tsuji was a trainee on this ship. The relationship grew with John Halpin and two others from the club sponsoring Tsuji Sensei who settled in Brisbane with his wife Fumio and eventually took over the Brisbane Karate Club.

Tamio Tsuji Sensei’s dojo, which became Tsuji Dojo, was the starting point of many Karate Clubs in Queensland. His main students were John Halpin Sensei, Graham Kelliher Sensei and Dan Ellaby. These three students represented Australia in the first World Karate Championships in Japan in 1970. Tamio Tsuji was the team coach and Dan Ellaby, who was 18 then,  progressed to the last 16.

Ryo Tsuji Sensei, then a 3rd Dan in Shotokan Karate-do, came out from Japan in 1973 to aid his brother Tamio in running Tsuji Dojo. Ryo also settled in Australia.

John Halpin Sensei & Graham Kelliher Sensei both started their own karate organisations and Dan Ellaby dominated Karate tournaments in the 70′s being a multiple Queensland and Australian Champion. Tsuji Dojo was the major force in tournament karate in Australia in the early 70′s with many tournament wins. Paul McCarthy from Tsuji Dojo was the 1st Australian Champion in 1972, Dan Ellaby was Australian Champion in 1974 & 1976. Many other members also placed in the state and national tournaments. It those days, there was only an open division and no kata competition, much different from today.

Tamio Tsuji  with Don Cameron MP was also instrumental in helping found FAKO, the Federation of Australian Karate do Organisations in 1970 and was the first Australian Coach. FAKO has since evolved into the AKF, the Australian Karate Federation.

Jon Rawlings, the Chief instructor of Kenseikan Karate was  John Halpin Sensei’s student. Tamio Tsuji Sensei taught John Halpin. Sakai Sensei, the Kenseikan Karate do Advisor, trained Tamio Tsuji.