Be Inspired Workshops

Have you ever seen a karate performance and had the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end? I have – at the WKF World Championships in Paris, France in 2012. My husband, Ray and I were seated in the front rows with the eager expectation of seeing an action-packed exciting day of finals. Events were rolling by all too quickly and up came the ladies synchronised kata finals: Japan versus Italy. It was jaw dropping. There were 17,000 spectators cheering a standing ovation behind us in awe of the Japanese ladies gold-medal winning performance. And we agreed – hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-raising excitement. WKF World 2012 World Championships (Paris). The Osaka-based team of Kashioka Suzuka, Morioka Miku and Kimura Yoko were world champions in 2012 (Paris, France) and narrowly missed the gold last year in Bremen (Germany). Yoko was also a member of the gold-medal winning synchronised kata team in 2010 (Belgrade, Serbia).

Little did we imagine that those same ladies would soon be in Sydney teaching the most eager karate students across NSW – jointly hosted by Evolution Martial Arts (EMA) and Ettingshausens Dojos in the Be Inspired workshop series!

The workshops lived up to their name “Be Inspired”. Karate enthusiasts from across NSW flocked to the seminar when it was announced, to have the privilege of training with one of the world’s greatest synchronised kata teams. The workshops were held in Sydney 21-22 February and 28 February – 1 March 2015.


Workshops focused on teaching the kata Kururunfa. Sessions included kihon (basic structures of the movements), kata performance and bunkai (applications). Each of the ladies wandered through the participants paying individual attention also. In spectacular fashion, the ladies performed their full world championship winning kata plus bunkai at each and every workshop!

Nagashima Yumi Sensei is the team’s coach and was extraordinary in her explanations, demonstrations and teaching of the kata Kururunfa. Yumi Sensei’s 10-year old son Nozumu trained and demonstrated for the group also.

Private Lessons

An hour with revered coach Yumi Sensei and 3 world champion ladies demonstrating for one student. Seems too good to be true.

Ten private lessons were made available to workshop attendees. The lucky few that booked in quickly and secured their spot were enormously grateful for the opportunity. They were coached, instructed and certainly inspired.


EMA and Ettingshausens had the pleasure of showing the ladies around Sydney between training sessions. It’s not a difficult job in this beautiful city.

The team went bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, dining at Bondi and shopping in Sydney. They took a ferry across the harbour, visited Luna Park, cuddled koalas at Koala Park and visited the Aquarium. They also managed to fit in a quick Ferrari ride courtesy of George Georgias. Take a look at the picture gallery for some of the epic shots we took. I guess I can put joining the Evolution Martial Arts Monday night Boxing class in the Sightseeing category. Our visitors abandoned their karate belts for a moment and laced on boxing gloves to join Sugar Rays Boxing class. Special mention goes to Nozomu’s impressive efforts!

Competition Winner

By attending the workshop or by ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ our Facebook competition poster entrants obtained a ticket to win a signed karate uniform – one of the girl’s own uniforms complete with the Japan national team badge! Congratulations to Robbie Zarb from Ettingshausens – a very deserving winner of this fabulous prize. The draw was done at the conclusion of the final workshop and Yumi Sensei pulled the winner out of a hat.

Thank you

Thank you to Ettingshausens who co-hosted the event. Evolution Martial Arts also extends a big thank you to Tsuneari Yahiro for assistance in organising the group from Japan, hosting the visitors and translating at the event. Thank you also to Asuka Townsend and Seira Yahiro for translating and assisting, James Carrett for photography, George Georgias for your shiny fast red cars and all the others that assisted in every way including Deb Tester, Ray Morcomb Senior & Eric Gibson. Thank you particularly to the karate enthusiasts that supported the ladies on their visit by attending their terrific workshop.

The Future

Team EMA wish only the best for the future of these ladies who are considered Karate Royalty. We hope they will return to Sydney to visit their newfound friends and teach us all again. What a success this workshop series was. I thank the ladies team and their coach for all they have done for us. We are Inspired. 

Words by Tanya Morcomb, Team EMA
Pictures by EMA, Michael Ettingshausen and James Carrett