I started with Shotokan Karate, which was the only style offered in the
little country town in Italy where I am originally from. I fell in love with it
and haven’t stopped practising Martial Arts ever since. When I moved to
Australia to do my PhD, I naturally joined the Martial Arts program at
Macquarie University Sport & Aquatic Centre without hesitation.
Which styles of martial arts do
you currently practise?
The first martial art I started was Shotokan Karate when I was still in
Italy. I practised it for over 5 years. When I first arrived in Australia, I started
training in Goju-Kai Karate under Sensei David Harrison and I also started Tae
Kwon Do under Master Ron Claassens and I literally fell in love with it. Master
Ron is a great instructor and human being and I have now been training and
teaching with him at Macquarie for the past seven years. From last August, I
have become an Instructor at the Sport & Aquatic Centre and started
teaching Shotokan Karate with the Mini MacWarrior Children’s Martial Arts
How often do you train?
I train in Tae Kwon Do three to four times a week. When my academic
duties allow, I also practice jujitsu an additional two times a week. On top of
Martial Arts, I do endurance, strength, flexibility and agility training at the
gym for about two hours every day.
What gradings do you currently
I have a Black Belt (1st dan) in Shotokan Karate and a Black
Belt (2nd dan) in Tae Kwon Do. I am however a true believer that the
belt just serves the purpose of keeping up my pants, regardless of its colour! What
I really value is the skill that comes with constant practice and persistent
dedication. If you want a black belt just go and get one from the shops. They
go for about $10.00 each these days!
What is the most useful skill
you have developed?
It is hard to find just one. Overall, I developed an above average
level of fitness, but I find that the most valuable set of skills I learnt from
Martial Arts are respect, discipline, control, determination and an outstanding
work-ethic and dedication towards achieving the goals I set myself.
Have you ever been in a
situation where you have had to call upon your “ninja” skills? No. It might be hard to believe but the more you know Martial Arts
the more you know when it’s time to avoid a confrontation. My best self-defence
technique is ‘not to be there!’ People who know me always say they can’t
remember a single time when I’ve lost my ‘cool’.
What would you say to someone
interested in Martial Arts?
Practicing Martial Arts is great, regardless of what you expect from
it. Firstly, it is a fantastic way of keeping yourself fit while learning a
skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Secondly, practising Martial
Arts is fun and social. I have met so many people who admit they do it because
there is a good atmosphere and you get to make lots of new friends. Martial
Arts participants generally ‘stick with it’ and form bonds and long-lasting
friendship that carry on outside the gym. Thirdly, for me, Martial Arts started
as a hobby, grew into a passion and eventually became part of my life.
Martial Arts has made me a better person and I have developed
transferrable skills that are useful in everyday life. You learn self-control, respect,
discipline and that very unique feeling that ‘giving up’ might be for others,
but definitely not for you.
What have you enjoyed most
about the Martial Arts program at the Sport & Aquatic Centre?
The best aspect of the program is its variety.
Once you become a Martial Arts member, you have unlimited access to all the
disciplines the Centre offers including Tae Kwon Do, jujitsu, Thai Kickboxing
and Boxing. This is very valuable because everybody can find a Martial Art that
suits them and their timetable. At the same time, the program provides the
possibility – for those who are most keen – to try different disciplines and
make the best of them.