Shingokan Karate History

Geoff Rohde commenced training with Seishikan Karate Mt Gambier back in 1986 under his then Sensei, Phil Bates. He was graded to Shodan (1st Dan Blackbelt) on the 20th of January 1991. Second Dan (Nidan) was achieved on January 15th 1993. On August 30th, 1996, he was graded by the Japanese in Adeleide to 3rd Dan blackbelt (Sandan). His 4th Dan was presented in 2000, again certified in Japan. Geoff graded to 5th Dan in 2008 at Kurushiki near Okayama in Japan, under a panel of Japanese instructors headed by Hanshi Sensei Shinji Fushimi.

In 2013 Geoff graded to Shingokan 6th Dan in Mitsuishi Japan( Muramoto’s dojo) and in the same year, succesfully completed a Dan Transfer to Japanese Karate Federation of GoJu Kai to 5th Dan level (the highest allowed under the dan transfer rules)   Later that year , Geoff was awarded the title of Renshi by Fushimi sensei and this was later published in the Karate Shinbun magazine in Japan. This makes Geoff the only GoJu instructor in Mt Gambier to have attained that level, there being only one other in South Australia.

Seishikan Karate Mt Gambier eventually became a three way business partnership between Phil Bates, the late and very sucessful Michael Curypko, with Geoff and Julie Rohde. After the tragic death of Michael (Mick), Geoff and Julie were invited to become half owners of the business. Geoff and Julie were by this stage teaching all of the Junior Karate in Mt Gambier for the organisation.

Some years later, after Geoff and Julie’s divorce, Geoff was invited to to purchase the Seishikan Karate Mt Gambier business, which he did, teaching both Junior and Senior classes with some assistance from other Senior Seishikan members.

Following political and unresolvable issues within the club, Geoff left Seishikan and renamed his club GoJu Ryu Karate Mt Gambier Pty Ltd.

Geoff, through his son David, a 1st Dan black belt, had the opportunity to train with Sensei Shinji Fushimi in Japan at his Okayama dojo in mid 2006. They then enthusiastically embarked on a sister school relationship. Sensei Shinji, now an 8th Dan graded Master with the GoJu Kai of All Japan Karate Federation (JKF), and a student of Kisakai Sensei, who in turn was student of the GoJu style founder, Chogun Migayi from Okinawa. Sensei Shinji appears in the GoJu Kai manual selected to demonstrate the Kata for the text, as he was a most successful JKF GoJu Kai Kata Champion.

Geoff and his students intend to make regular trips to Japan for training and will look forward to reciprocal trips from Sensei Fushimi and his students to Australia.

Mt Gambier is now the home of Shingokan Karate, the Australian Headquarters being located at 27 Percy Street Mt Gambier. The dojo operates from a huge building which has two – one hundred square metre fighting mats, exercise bikes for warm up, several kick bags, leg stretching machine, weights gym and a wide range of additional training aids.

Some instruction is also provided in the use of both Bo (long stick) and Jo (short stick). Parents and students have access to a heated observation room with DVD and video playback to a TV ( used as a training aid ), and can also access tea and coffee making facilities from the kitchen. The club stocks a full range of karate uniforms and protective equipment.

Competition History

Geoff first competed in what was then the F.A.K.O. Senior State Titles back in 1987, gaining a 3rd place in the under 65kg division. In the same year, he gained a 1st place in the F.A.K.O. State Titles in the same division.

In 1988 he competed in the Adelaide City Championship, gaining a 2nd place in his division, and was a member of the Seishikan team that took 1st place.

Geoff was the winner of the 1989 South Australian State Titles, taking out the 60-65kg division.

1989 was great year for the South Australian Karate League Team, which comprised largely of Mt. Gambier Karate students. Geoff was a member of the team and they became premiers that year, rarely losing a contest.

Geoff had a number of top three placings from 1990 to 1992 when competing in the Under 70Kg Division of the State Titles in 1990, the Under 65Kg in 1991, and the JKF GoJu Kai Championships in 1992. As a 2nd Dan black belt in 1993 and 1994, he was runner up in the Under 75Kg Class of the Australian Karate Federation (AKF) State Titles, and gained a 3rd place in both the Under 75Kg Class and Mens Open Kumite in 1995. He also took out second place in the Veteran’s Kata.

1995 saw Geoff enter a contact tournament run by the Australian Martial Arts Association, where he gained a second place in the 70-75Kg Division. In 1996 he gained a 3rd place in the AKF State Titles, and later that year was graded to 3rd Dan in Adelaide.

Geoff was a S.A. State Team member for several years, having the opportunity to represent S.A in competitions in Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Geoff has continued to compete in both Kumite and Kata Divisions at state level, and most recently gained a 1st place in the Veteran’s Kata Division at the National All Styles S.A. Tournament, a 4th place in the Open Kata Division and a second place in the 70-75Kg Kumite held in 2007.

Geoff has continued to compete in a variety of regional and State competitions with success. He also competed in the Japanese Karate Federation of GoJu Kai National Championships in 2013 in Wakayama , Japan. In that year, Samantha Freeman, Brad Fitzgerald and Connor Prior, all represented Mt Gambier at this event.

Future Directions

GoJu Ryu Karate-Do Shingokan has continued to deliver the most traditional approach to the teaching of Goju Ryu Karate in Mt Gambier.

The teaching of strong, properly executed basic techniques, focusing on correct stances and moving technique (kihon-ido), body conditioning, Yakute (one step sparring), and self defence will always be important. Traditional fighting methods and exposure to sports training methods, particularly those promoted by the highly talented Spanish coach, Antonio Oliva, will continue to be an important component of our delivery. Direct access to one of Japan’s most capable Kata coaches will allow us to continue to be successful in our competition endeavours, but also develop us as well rounded people contributing to our community.

We strongly acknowledge the value of our Karate relationship with Japan, and the great opportunities that our sister school relationship now offers. Late in 2007 our Japanese Sensei will travel to Australia and bring with him his huge knowledge and experience of the current JKF GoJu Kai Kata. In late 2006 he had serveral of his students performing Kata and Kumite successfully at the 33rd JKF GoJu Kai All Japan Karate Tournament, including one of his Juniors taking out 1st place in both fighting and Kata Divisions. The wealth of his experience as an international Kata coach, recently returning from Kata seminars he regularly runs in Europe, will be valued by us, and our students will reap the benefits.

In 2008 we had an exchange trip to Okayama. In 2009 Shinji Fushimi and Endo Tomoyoshi travelled to Australia where they participated in our grading and junior tournament. We travel to Japan again in Sept/October 2010 and will continue to visit every year from now on.

In 2013 Matt Johnson, AKF National kumite coach along with his sensei, Bill Demertzis, joined Shingokan under Fushimi sensei. Matt runs a very successful club at Virginnia with some 200 members and Bill runs a black belts only kata class at Parafield Gardens school. We have had one trip together to Okayama and our second is planned for October 2015.


This is a very exciting time for our club as we continue to grow, expand our facilities and further consolidate our positition as  the strongest and most successful  JKF GoJu Kai affiliated martial arts karate club in South Australia.


Our club offers scholarships of one year’s duration through Mt Gambier High School, where Geoff has taught for over 30 years. Scolarships have also been given to Grant High School students. Previous winners of scholarships that have continued on to become black belts include Benjamin Rowe (1st Dan) and Annie Drahos (1st Dan) andJarred Philp who after moving to Adelaide, also gained his Shodan.