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SENSEI CAROLINE MANLY

Sensei Caroline Manly is the founder and chief instructor of Karate For Kids, which she opened in 1990. She is a firm believer in the principles of Goju-Ryu karate, an ancient and traditional style of karate. She holds a 3rd Dan blackbelt in Goju-Ryu and began training in 1983.

Continue reading below to find out more about Sensei Caroline, her Karate For Kids school, and her teachings in her profile interview below!

“What is your Martial Arts background?”

I started training at the newly opened Turramurra Goju Ryu dojo in 1983 under the direction of Sensei Len Resnekov. The school was called Karate Do International until 1985 when we joined the international Goju Ryu organisation, IOGKF which was headed by Sensei Morio Higaonna, a leading figure in karate and a man greatly admired by students of many different styles of Martial Arts. For a person unused to such an activity I found my first year in karate training quite taxing and confronting. Sensei Len was (and still is) an inspiring instructor and a man, inside the dojo, of great humility. He pushed us hard and never expected his students to do anything he wouldn’t do. Even at 6th Dan Sensei Len would teach the lower graded students which is unheard of in some karate schools. He believed in the basic technique and we would spend many lessons perfecting the basic technique until we got it just right. I remember one particular class when, for nearly two hours, we went over and over a reverse punch. I felt my arms had stretched so much that my knuckles were dragging along the floor!

After my first couple of karate lessons I was hooked and made the decision to stick with it until I reached my black belt. It was a commitment I never regretted. I travelled around Sydney and tried a number of other karate schools but I soon realised that the traditional style of Goju Ryu suited me best and the instruction Sensei Len provided was second to none.

Although I participated in annual competitions for many years, and always did well, I didn’t see the relevance to my training or my development as a student of karate. Some people feel the need to prove themselves against an opponent but I always think of Sensei Higaonna who told me one day during an international training camp that “the greatest competition is with oneself”.

“What have you done outside of the Martial Arts?”

Where do I start? I’m old so I have lots of experience outside Martial Arts! I worked for Fujitsu in administration, the ABC TV in production, a Tee Shirt company as a designer and creator, a Travel Agency as a writer. I spent many of my Christmas Holidays as Santa’s Elf (sorry, no photos available) and I did a short stint in a large glass box making Lego models.

“What can you tell us about yourself?”

I’ve been running Karate for Kids since 1989. The first 2 years were particularly difficult as I had had a serious car accident in 1987 and was still working on developing greater back strength. My classes were very small but with a lot of hard work and a lot of “how to teach” research, my dojo grew and I improved as a teacher. I took teaching seriously and I used to participate in many weekend training sessions run by other karate schools to see what they had to offer and what I could learn from them.

I regularly get karate class enquiries from kids in other countries and in 2002 I travelled to Scotland to participate in a 4 day Kid’s Karate training camp run by SGKA (Scottish Goju Ryu Karate Association). It was a wonderful experience and took me back to my birthplace. I took my mother with me on her final trip to Scotland and I think she enjoyed the training camp more than I did! She was a spectator for the entire thing and thought it was hysterically funny that I had a translator – Scottish people speak English but the accent can be a bit difficult to understand. To think I used to have the same accent as the Scottish kids I was teaching. I’ve had enquiries from India, Ireland, Scotland, Hawaii and Fiji. Karate for Kids should have gone international.

“What memories to you have from your own training?”

I could tell you lots and lots of stories from my training days and I have to say, every session was memorable.