Natsuko Mineghishi (5th Dan, NCAS Bronz Coach, 2012 SKIF World Champion in Kata and Yakusoku Kumite, 2018 SKIF National Kata Champion)
Swann Wynn Htet (3rd Dan)
Timothy Colgan (2nd Dan, NCAS Bronz Coach, SKIF National Kata Champion 2018)
Chiyuki Watada (1st Dan Shotokan and Shitoryu, 2014-9 AKF National Kata Champion )
- Message from the founder -
True strength does not scare people away. Strength is often revealed by warmth and confidence.
I believe Karate training assists people in gaining this kind of strength.
I believe the most practical self defense is to not engage in fighting. This does not mean running away or being submissive, but having the courage and skills to overcome difficulties without emotional or physical outbursts.
Karate training teaches its pupils to respect others as well as themselves. When people are treated with respect, they are most likely to return that respect. You see yourself through others. We mimic each other during training. We observe each other. We search for guarded and non-guarded spaces in one another.
Who you are during training, is most likely who you are outside of training. How you behave when being pushed around by life, how you manage when you face challenges...
Through physical training in Karate, we aim to become a master of mind. We practice fighting techniques but fighting is one communication method. When we know ourselves better, we can communicate well with others.
When you go overseas, your impression of the country is often dependent on the people you meet more than scenery or buildings. Tasty food becomes horrible when you receive bad service. This is a principle upon which our misery and happiness are dependent. The art of communication is one of the key factors of happiness, this is one of the things we strive to master in Karate.
Beautiful Karate movements are effortless and glorious.
Being yourself is the best way to become the best you can be.
I fell in love with Karate long time ago.
I hope you will find it fascinating, too.
- Karate journey of the founder -
Natsuko Mineghishi (b.1972) began Karate while she was studying for her BSc(Engineering) at UWA, in the University Karate Club (UKC) with Sensei Kyoshin Kayo in 1993. Sensei Kayo is from Osaka and he teaches Shobukan style. Natsuko had always liked all the old samurai movies and she wanted to begin something similar but she never thought women could join a dojo until she came to Australia. So she had only a vague curiosity towards martial arts. Her room mate recommended she join UKC saying, "I think you will enjoy it; the Sensei is Japanese and you are flexible. I quit because I am not supple enough to kick properly. It was too painful. If you start, you can have my Karate uniform." That is how she began! When Natsuko started Karate, she was not a sporty person, she had always been bad at physical activities. When she started taking Karate lessons, her motivation was simply to lose some weight and get little fitter. By all means, she adored all the martial arts movies but she could never have imagined herself going very far with Karate. If she trained once a week, it was a great deal of effort back then. But she really liked the movements and structural studies of Karate.
When Natsuko began her studies in Classical Singing, she resigned from Karate for a while. She feared the risks of injury and bruises which may affect her singing studies. She tried different exercises such as squash, gym or aerobics but none really worked for her. She got rather depressed without Karate and eventually got back to the Dojo. The risks of bruises were far better choices than depression which demolishes the desire to sing itself! That is when she began to seriously desire to be a black belt. She was a green belt so she had a long way to go. In 1997, Natsuko moved to Melbourne to study music at University of Melbourne. There was no Shobukan style in Victoria so she needed to find a new style. It was difficult to change style when you were already comfortable with one so her pilgrimage lasted for 12 months to find what she wanted. During this period, she tried many Dojos of different styles. In 1998, she finally settled with the World Shotokan Karate with Sensei John Haitidis in Coburg. Going back to white belt again, she began to train regularly. by the time she became a 1 kyu brown belt, she trained at least 8 hours a week, sometimes 12 hours with Sensei.
Natsuko then moved back to Japan for 10 months and joined Shotokan Karate International. She was so impressed by Sensei Kanazawa's personal charisma. His impression was big enough for her to even change her country of dwelling! She joined the trainings at the SKI head quarter. In 2002, after 8 years of Karate practice, she finally obtained her long wished black belt in front of Sensei Kanazawa. She then moved to the Netherlands to further study Classical music at the Amsterdam Conservatorium. She joined SKI-Holland and trained with Sensei Biagio Ridolfo for three years there. She also attended many competitions and seminars held within Europe. In 2004, at the European Championship in Ukraine, she came 4th in the Women Individual Kata category.
After completion of her musical studies in the Netherlands, Natsuko moved back to Melbourne in 2006. She asked Sensei Kanazawa if she could compete in the 9th SKI World Championship in Tokyo as a Holland competitor. The selection for the international team in generally done in the the previous year therefore she was chosen in Holland. Although she had to move the country, Sensei Kanazawa approved her request and she competed as a Dutch athlete in November 2006. As a result, she came 5th of the world in the Women Individual Kata category.
She continued to compete in Australia. As a late starter, it took her many years to understand the key factors to win competitions. In 2012, she finally realised her dream of becoming a world champion and won dual golds in the Sydney SKIF world championship.
Natsuko has attended many seminars or gasshuku (camps). To list a few, she participated trainings with Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa in Japan (almost every year since 1991), France (1992), Holland (2004), Belgium (2003), Australia (2001, 2006) Shihan Masaru Miura - Holland (2003, 2005), Italy (2003), Japan (2006) Sensei Akira Nagai - Germany (2004), Sensei Biagio Ridolfo - Holland and Belgium (many occasions since 2002), Sensei Stephane Castrique - Belgium and Holland (many occasions since 2002). She has also been introduced to Sensei Morio Higaonna from Sensei Kanazawa to gain further knowledge in Karate. She has been regularly visiting Okinawa to discover the roots of Karate since 2009.
Natsuko also takes her Karyukai members to train in Japan every year since she opened her dojo.
Natsuko also joins other martial arts training whenever she is traveling overseas/interstates. She believes that Karate keeps her mentally healthy and helps to maintain youthful appearance. More importantly, Karate takes an important role to be in touch with her own culture wherever she is. She made countless numbers of friends through Karate who share the same belief,
"Endeavor to grow as a better person through the practice of Karate-Do."
For further information of Natsuko as a singer, please go to www.sopranonatsuko.com